1957’s The Poll Winners was the first of five all-star trio sessions featuring the dazzling interplay of guitarist Barney Kessel, drummer Shelly Manne and bassist Ray Brown. For The Poll Winners, Kessel, Manne, and Brown did not record together simply because they all happened to have won first place on their respective instruments in the Down Beat, Playboy, and Metronome polls.
Their collaboration was due to mutual respect, and their sensitivity to one another’s musical requirements. Here, in a set composed mainly of pop and jazz standards, they represent the ultimate in their fields, constituting a rhythm section that also provides brilliant solo interludes by all three members. Collectively, Kessel, Manne, and Brown won dozens of polls over the years; this record eloquently tells you why.