Most jazz listeners find digital downloads convenient. But how these downloads are promoted at e-stores leaves much to be desired. The drag is you simply never know when new recordings you've been looking for have been added to the bins of e-retailers. So from time to time, I go into iTunes and Amazon with a hook and net to see what I can find that's new and undiscovered or simply overlooked. Here are five that I found recently that you might want to sample. They can be found at iTunes, Amazon and other online music vendors:Lou Donaldson—The Ultimate Jazz Archive 31. Donaldson's first leadership dates for Blue Note are hidden away at iTunes on one album under the mysterious title The Ultimate Jazz Archive 31. On this download, Donaldson fronts a quartet, quintet and sextet between 1952 and 1954. The groups run through original blues and standards like Things We Did Last Summer and If I Love Again. The sound quality of this compilation is very good.
Doug Carn—Infant Eyes (1971). One of the Black Jazz label's finest recordings, Infant Eyes features keyboardist Doug Carn with Jean Carn, his wife at the time. Tracks include Jean Carn joyously singing Wayne Shorter's Infant Eyes, Bobby Hutcherson's Little B's Poem, John Coltrane's Acknowledgment and Welcome, and other jazz totems from the 1960s.
Paul Chambers—Bass on Top (1957). Chambers recorded only three leadership albums for Blue Note, and this one was a standout. The album united Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell, Chambers and Art Taylor. Chambers' punchy bass is pronounced throughout, tempered by Burrell's wandering guitar, Jones' tasteful comping and Taylor's expedient brushwork.
Zoot Sims/Bob Brookmeyer—Tonite's Music Today (1956). This session for Storyville features Sims and Bob backed by Hank Jones, Wyatt Ruther and Gus Johnson. Sims and Bob are perfectly matched here and at the top of their game. Their unified sound is gorgeous on uptempo tracks as well as on ballads.
Jack Brownlow—Suddenly It's Bruno (1998). Unfamiliar with this pianist? You're in for a treat. Brownlow, Jeff Johnson and Jason Vontver tastefully take on rich standards such as Detour Ahead, I Fall in Love Too Easily and Suddenly It's Spring. Rifftides' Doug Ramsey turned me onto Brownlow a couple of years ago. This is a beautiful album by a pianist who is under most listeners' radar.
JazzWax note: For links to the other 12 volumes in this series, scroll down the right-hand column of JazzWax to "Hidden Downloads."