Shelly Manne and His Friends – You Simply Cannot Record a Piano Better than Roy DuNann

The piano sounds uncannily lifelike right from the start, a beautiful instrument in a natural space, tonally correct from top to bottom. I can’t think of any record off the top of my head that gets a better piano sound than this one.

Listen to the tambourine on the third track on side one. Shelly Manne messes about with lots of percussion instruments on this album and all of them are recorded to perfection.

Not to leave Red Mitchell out, check out the bass; it’s deep and note-like throughout the album.

Better Than a Dream, the second track on side two, has one of the best sounding jazz pianos I have ever heard. My notes say “you cannot record a piano any better” and I stand behind that statement one hundred percent.

There is not a modern reissue on the face of the earth that can hold a candle to the sound of this record.

For any of you out there who doubt my words please take this record home and play it against the best piano jazz recordings you own. If it doesn’t beat them all we are happy to pay the domestic shipping back.

Even our amazing sounding 45 RPM pressing of The Three does not present the listener with a piano that sounds as real as the one on this record.


Side One

I Met a Girl
Just in Time
Independent (On My Own)
The Party’s Over (Ballad Version)
It’s a Perfect Relationship

Side Two

Is It a Crime?
Better Than a Dream
Long Before I Knew You
The Party’s Over (Up-Tempo Version)

AMG Review

When Shelly Manne and His Friends (a trio starring pianist André Previn) had a surprise hit with their interpretations of melodies from My Fair Lady, it started a trend toward recording jazz versions of scores from plays.

For this LP, Manne’s trio (with Previn and bassist Red Mitchell) perform nine songs from the play Bells Are Ringing. Although seven of the pieces remained obscure, “The Party’s Over” (which is heard twice) and particularly “Just in Time” caught on.

As is always the case with this group, Previn’s piano is the lead voice and his virtuosity, good taste, melodic improvising, and solid sense of swing are chiefly responsible for the music’s success.

Further Reading

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