Shelly Manne: Milestones

This 1970 video of Shelly Manne at his club Shelly’s Manne-Holer in LA is a real treat, because the band includes Hampton Hawes as well as Ray Brown and Bob Cooper, all of whom solo on Milestones.

-Michael Cuscuna

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Shelly Manne

Shelly Manne 



Impulse!, 1962

This unusual  reissue has five selections from a date featuring the great tenor Coleman Hawkins, pianist Hank Jones, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Shelly Manne. Both “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Cherokee” find the group at times playing two tempos at once (Manne sticks to doubletime throughout “Cherokee”) and showing that they had heard some of the avant-garde players.




Shelly’s Manne Hole 1608 North Cahuenga, Hollywood 

Drummer Shelly Manne was Contemporary Records’ go-to drummer. He had a long running series with the label entitled “Shelly Manne & His Men,” featuring a rotating cast of local talent. From 1960 to 1972, he ran a Hollywood jazz venue called Shelly’s Manne Hole. Pianist Bill Evans recorded an immortal live session there in 1963 while Jazz Bakery impresario and vocalist Ruth Price recorded a live album with Manne and his men, while she was still in her early twenties. 

The small manhole plaque is embedded off-center on the once-again happening sidewalk of Cahuenga Boulevard, commemorating the spot where so many great heroes once stubbed their cigarettes.


What Is This Thing Called Love - Shelly Manne and His Men

Live on Frankly Jazz, 1962

Shelly Manne

© Shelly Manne
◙ Shelly Manne and His Men Play Peter Gunn
♫ Fallout

Here’s a great song from one of my favorite records. Peter Gunn was a popular TV show in the late 50’s and early 60’s that featured a jazz club where the private eye Peter Gunn, played by Craig Stevens, would convene with his team. The music was composed by Henry Mancini and was performed by Shelly Manne who was a popular session drummer in the Los Angeles jazz scene before he led his own band. The stand out instrument on this track is the vibriharp. Being a drummer Mann understood the importance of percussion in jazz music and recruited British musician Victor Feldman to play the vibriharp and marimba for his band. Prior to recording with Shelly Manne, Feldman played drums for Woody Herman’s band. Feldman however is most famous not for his vibriphone or drums but for his piano playing. He would later play piano with many famous names of jazz including Miles Davis, George Shearing, and Cannonball Adderley.


Shelly Mann - Drums
Victor Felding - Vibriharp, Marimba
Conte Candoli - Trumpet
Herb Geller - Alto Saxophone
Russ Freeman - Piano
Monty Budwig - Bass

William Reagh     Shelly’s Manne-Hole, Cahuenga Blvd. Between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, Hollywood CA     1968

I know with a name like that, Shelly’s sounds like a gay bar, but in fact it was a jazz club run by the great drummer Shelly Manne.  Shelly’s was also the site of my first serious job.  I worked in the kitchen there when I was 15 years old, and got to hear lots of stunningly great music (and even to get high with a few tremendous musicians, but I’m not naming any names) while I was washing dishes and stacking plates.


Shelly Manne - En Passant

50,000 Jazz tracks & photos


The Jazz Scene by Norman Granz

In April 1949, Mercury Records announced that it was to release a $25 jazz album made up of six 12-inch 78-rpm records, together with thirty-two 12x12 inch photos of top jazz stars taken by Life photographer Gjon Milli. 

The Duke Ellington Sides – “Sono” and “Frustration” – arranged by Duke Ellington featuring Harry Carney (baritone saxophone), Billy Strayhorn (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Oscar Pettiford (bass) Sonny Greer (drums) – Recorded 1949

The Neal Hefti Sides – “Repetition” and “Rhumbacito” – arranged and conducted by Neal Hefti featuring Bill Harris (trombone), Charlie Parker (alto saxophone on “Repetition”), Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone), Manny Albam (baritone saxophone), Shelly Manne (drums) – Recorded “Repetition” December 1947, and “Rhumbacito” autumn 1948

The Lester Young Side – “I Want To Be Happy” – Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Nat King Cole (piano), Buddy Rich (drums) – Recorded March–April 1946

The Coleman Hawkins Side – “Picasso” – Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone) – Recorded 1948

The Ralph Burns Side – “Introspection” – arranged by Ralph Burns featuring Sonny Berman (trumpet), Bill Harris, Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone) and a large orchestra – Recorded October 1946

The George Handy Side – “The Bloos” – arranged by George Handy featuring Sonny Berman (trumpet), Bill Harris, Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone) and a full orchestra – Recorded November 1947

The Charlie Parker Side – “The Bird” – Charlie Parker (alto saxophone), Hank Jones (piano) Ray Brown (bass), Shelly Manne (drums) – Recorded 10 February, 1949

The Willie Smith Side – “Sophisticated Lady” – Willie Smith (alto saxophone), Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Red Callender (bass), Jo Jones (drums) – Recorded November 1947

The Machito Side – “Tanga” – arranged and conducted by Machito with his orchestra, including Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone) – Recorded January 1949

The Bud Powell Side – “Cherokee” – Bud Powell (piano), Ray Brown (Bass) Max Roach (drums) – Recorded February 1949

This is classic jazz played by some of the greatest musicians that was marketed in a unique and innovative way, years ahead of its time.