The Poll Winners: Volare


Volare (Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu)


The Poll Winners (Barney Kessel, Ray Brown & Shelly Manne)


The Poll Winners Ride Again! (Contemporary OJCCD-607-2)

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Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), Shelly Manne (drums).

Recorded: Los Angeles, August 19, 1958


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

When covering pop hits of the day, 1950s jazzmen often seemed anxious to hurry past the melody, treating the song as pretext for improvisation that bore no relation to the admittedly often second-rate material. Refreshingly, Barney, Ray & Shelly—billed as the Poll Winners because of their perennial popularity—actually play 1958's #1 hit, "Volare" (Italian for "fly"). Carting out his best tongue-in-cheek impression of a Neapolitan mandolin, Kessel shines on this medium-tempo swinger supported by Ray ("Rock of Gibraltar") Brown and Shelly ("Ears of an Elephant") Manne. Delizioso!

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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