BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “On Green Dolphin Street”


Green Dolphin Street was a novel by Elizabeth Goudge that was made into a movie by MGM and released in late 1947. Here’s the original trailer. At about 1:20, you’ll hear the theme song, written by Bronislaw Kaper, with lyrics written by Ned Washington.

The movie won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated for four others, in Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Recording, and Special Effects. The theme song became a jazz standard, done countless times, including the four performances I’ve chosen.

First is a vocal version by Sarah Vaughan, done on a radio broadcast sometime in the 1950’s. I have no idea who the backing musicians are.

Miles Davis included his version on his seminal album ’58 Sessions featuring Stella By Starlight. On the recording with Miles are John Coltrane on tenor sax, “Cannonball” Adderley on alto sax, Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Barney Kessel is one of my favorite jazz guitarists, and his version included Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. This is from the album The Poll Winners.

Finally, a slightly more up-to-date version by the Chick Corea Akoustic Band, featuring John Pattitucci on bass and Dave Weckl on drums.

Once again, YouTube has many, many more versions of the song. It was hard for me to pick just four, and even there I might be overdoing it.

Anyway, it’s time to vote. Which of these is your favorite version of “On Green Dolphin Street”? And why?

After you’ve voted, how about visiting some of the other participants of the Battle of the Bands? They’d certainly appreciate it!

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
A Writer’s Life In Progress
Creative Outlet of Stratplayer
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy

I’ll announce the winner of this Battle next Monday.

12 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “On Green Dolphin Street”

  1. I also echo Chris Fries. It is Thursday and I am just now getting to the Battles I missed. There are now so many participants that I listen to a couple every day. I gave everyone about two minutes before clicking to the next one, which I don’t really like doing. That Miles Davis one is long enough all by itself that if it were paired against Sarah Vaughan it would have been a large time investment (and generally your first two thoughts are your best two thoughts). I expected to like the Vaughan version best (third time I’ve run into her this battle), but I preferred Miles Davis and his trumpet. The Poll Runners were my second choice. Vaughan came in third and I didn’t like the last one much at all. So, there you have it!


  2. I read your post before I listened to the tunes and thought; Aha, finally I’ll get to vote for Sarah, and then I heard the Miles Davis version. Sorry Sassy, but Miles completely took me away with this one.


  3. Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis are my top picks, but I think Vaughan has a slight edge over Davis. I imagine sitting in a cozy little restaurant enjoying a good meal with the subtle ambiance of a sexy female vocals drifting through the place. Vaughan gets my vote!


  4. Sarah Vaughan-I love the straightforward approach and it was sexy. I could picture myself in a cool place that no longer exists. One can have dinner, dance and watch the great Sarah belt out this song. The second one was great as well and one feels getting lost in the music. the 3rd one reminded me of pushing a grocery cart in Loblaws and the last one is too much banging on the piano for me (Always reminded me of chimps playing music…not into that kind of jazz but that is personal).


  5. Great song, and a lot of great music here — but perhaps too much. This is near 30 minutes of music if I listened to all of it. That’s a lot to ask of your blog readers. In general, I would recommend a single head-to-head pairing for your BOTB posts.

    For me, I’m going with Miles and Trane and Bill Evans. I love Sarah Vaughn (and Stephen McCarthy has her in a great BOTB post today), but I find myself voting against her twice!


  6. I’m not familiar with the film or the song. I’m not a big Miles fan. Chick’s version is good though perhaps overly extended for my taste in early morn. Barney Kessel’s version is excellent and comes as a close runner-up to Sarah Vaughan. The voice with the straight forward simple back-up is classic.

    I vote Sarah Vaughan.

    Tossing It Out


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