Shelly Manne

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Shelly Manne, circa December 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

Sheldon "Shelly" Manne (born June 11, 1920 in New York City , New York , † September 26, 1984 in Los Angeles ) was an American drummer , band leader and composer of swing and West Coast jazz .


Manne's father and uncle were drummers; in his youth he admired the great swing drummers of the time, Jo Jones and especially Dave Tough , who became his role model and mentor. As a teenager he played in clubs on 52nd Street in Manhattan . Other role models were "Big Sid" Catlett and Kenny Clarke . He recorded early on with stars like Coleman Hawkins , Charlie Shavers and Don Byas , but also with musicians from the Duke Ellington Orchestra such as Johnny Hodges , Harry Carney , Lawrence Brown and Rex Stewart .

Manne also worked early on with bebop musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie , Charlie Parker and Flip Phillips , but also with Charlie Ventura , Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz .

Manne then became known as a member of the big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton in the late 1940s and early 1950s, winning awards and subsequently helping to develop West Coast jazz . He played with Shorty Rogers , Hampton Hawes , Red Mitchell , Art Pepper , Russ Freeman , Frank Rosolino , Chet Baker , Leroy Vinnegar , Pete Jolly , Howard McGhee , Bob Gordon , André Previn , Conte Candoli , Howard Rumsey , Sonny Criss and The LA 4 . His own group Shelly Manne & His Men , which he founded in 1955, included wind players Joe Gordon , Richie Kamuca , bassist Monty Budwig and pianist Victor Feldman . He later had his own jazz club in Los Angeles ( The Manne Hole ) and was also involved in recordings with Ornette Coleman , Tom Waits and third stream experiments. He also often worked as a drummer for the studios, but also wrote film music himself, for example for the television series Daktari .

He died of a fat embolism a few weeks after a seemingly harmless riding accident.

Discography (selection)

Shelly Manne with Boyd Raeburn Big Band, 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .


  • Brand, Jack. Shelly Manne: Sounds of the Different Drummer (Percussion Express, 1997)
  • Gioia, Ted. West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945–1960 (Oxford University Press, 1992)
  • Gordon, Robert. Jazz West Coast: The Los Angeles Jazz Scene of the 1950s (Quartet Books, 1986)
  • Strain, James. "Shelly Manne" ( Web Site of the Percussive Arts Society )

Web links