Every so often, I e-rummage through the iTunes Store to assemble a list of albums you should own. These albums are "hidden"—meaning that unless you stumbled upon them, you'd never know they existed. That's because the folks at Apple work hard to make it impossible to browse iTunes the way people used to linger at record stores. Unless you provide the search bar with the name of an artist, you're out of luck in terms of casually viewing entries of newly added albums. Here are five hidden gems I found at iTunes that are worth sampling:
Lalo Schifrin and Bob Brookmeyer: Samba Para Dos (1963). By the time Bob Brookmeyer recorded this one for Verve, he had appeared on Trombone Jazz Samba and Big Band Bossa Nova. But this spirited, early bossa album was his best Brazilian outing. Schifrin not only had a gift for the Rio beat but also assembled a sterling band for the session. Bob was backed by Frank Rehak (tb), Leo Wright (as,fl), Phil Woods and Jerome Richardson (as) Zoot Sims and Al Cohn (ts), Romeo Penque (reeds), Danny Bank (bar), Lalo Schifrin (p,arr,cond), Jimmy Raney (g), Ben Tucker (b), Carmelita Koehler (cello), Dave Bailey (d) and Jose Paulo (perc).
Fourmost Guitars (1956). Reader Peter Michaels alerted me that this one had recently slid into play at iTunes. The tasteful album for ABC Paramount featured three different guitar groups. Here are the tracks, the guitarists and their groups on the album (iTunes doesn't distinguish): Chuck Wayne—Easy Living, If I Love Again and You Stepped Out of a Dream (backed by Dave Schildkraut, Dave McKenna, Oscar Pettiford and Sonny Igoe). Jimmy Raney—Two Drams of Soma, Scholar's Mate, Gone With the Wind and Yesterdays (backed by John Wilson, Hall Overton, Teddy Kotick and Nick Stabulas. Dick Garcia and Joe Puma—Time Was, Li'l Basses, I'm Old Fashioned and Ain't Misbehavin' (backed by Dante Martucci and Al Levitt).
Jerry Lee Lewis: Killer Country. After Jerry Lee's marriage to his 13-year-old second cousin became public during a 1958 tour of the U.K., his career hit the skids in the U.S. Radio stations stopped playing his rock 'n' roll records. To earn a living, "The Killer" began touring Southern clubs playing and recording country music. This second career quickly resulted in hits on Billboard's country chart and won him a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. This solid compilation of 20 songs for the Smash and Mercury labels provides a broad look at Jerry Lee's rich country output during the '60s and '70s.
Dave Pell Octet Plays Rodgers & Hart (1954). If you dig the cool, contrapuntal sound of West Coast jazz, you'll love this album. Recorded in '54, it features one of the earliest examples of an octet taking on the new, linear style. (Dave Brubeck's octet preceded Dave's but it was more classical in flavor.) Comprised largely of musicians from Les Brown's band, Dave Pell's octet featured Don Fagerquist (trumpet), Ray Sims (trombone), Dave Pell (tenor sax), Ronnie Lang (baritone sax and flute), Donn Trenner (piano), Tony Rizzi (guitar), Rollie Bundock (bass) and Bill Richmond (drums).
Teddy Edwards and Howard McGhee: Wise in Time (1979). West Coasters Teddy Edwards and Howard McGhee first recorded together in 1945, when they appeared on a Wynonie Harris' R&B session for Aladdin. Recordings together with Charles Mingus soon followed, along with dates led by McGhee, Slim Gaillard and Edwards. They teamed up once more in 1961 and again in 1979 for a date that produced Young at Heart and this album. The group: McGhee (trumpet), Edwards (tenor sax), Art Hillery (piano), Leroy Vinnegar (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums).
Want more Hidden Downloads? Scroll down the right-hand column to "Hidden Downloads" for earlier volumes.