It's next to impossible to surpass Shelly Manne's seminal live jazz recordings "At The Blackhawk," but the two volumes of "At The Manne-Hole" come remarkably close. These 1961 recordings feature Conte Candoli on trumpet, Richie Kamuca on tenor sax (the lone holdover from the Blackhawk band), Russ Freeman on piano, and Chuck Berghofer on bass at Shelly's club in Hollywood. "Volume Two" begins with "On Green Dolphin Street," which is one of the best performances in Manne's entire discography. The song begins with the drums, bass and piano all playing the perfect balance of off-tempo, staggered rhythms, only to have Candoli and Kamuca enter with their smooth, heartfelt opening statements. It cools down a bit on the next track -- this version of "What's New?" is clearly not as good as the one on Volume 2 of the Blackhawk set, but it is still enjoyable. Manne adds his own signature to "If I Were A Bell" by playing the opening notes on the bells of his cymbals (usually the piano starts this standard). "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is a smooth ballad and becomes a vehicle for a superb solo by Kamuca. The band closes out in "Blackhawk" fashion with their theme, "A Gem From Tiffany." And speaking of the "Blackhawk" sessions, the recording quality for the "Manne-Hole" volumes is similarly stupendous. I do recommend buying the "At The Blackhawk" albums first (feel free to read my reviews for volumes 2-5), but after you fall in love with them (and you will), make the "Manne-Hole" sets your next affair.