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.
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.
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.