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Miles Davis’ version of “On Green Dolphin Street” in 1958 firmly established the song’s place among the standard repertoire of mainstream jazz. But earlier versions, and the original context of the song in a 1947 MGM movie, form a natural history of the song’s existence in the public sphere of jazz.
For instance, there’s an interesting version by trombonist Urbie Green from 1955, taken at a ballad tempo, which features his silken-toned trombone with pianist Jimmy Lyon on the seldom-heard-in-jazz instrument, the celeste.
The 1957 recording by the Poll Winners (of the Downbeat magazine’s readers’ poll in 1956) features guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelly Manne, and turned out to be almost the template version for the tune, taken at a medium tempo with a Latin feel.
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