Manne, Shelly

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MANNE, SHELLY (Sheldon ; 1920–1984), U.S. jazz drummer, club owner. Manne's father and two uncles were drummers so he had percussion in his blood. Although New York-born, he is most strongly associated with the "West Coast school" of post-wwii jazz and spent most of his career in Los Angeles and its environs. He got his first professional experience on transatlantic cruise ships, then played for Raymond Scott and Les Brown. But the big breakthrough for Manne came when he was hired as Stan Kenton's drummer in 1946. He enjoyed two successful stints with Kenton, proving that a swift, sure drummer could make even the Kenton behemoth swing. In between he played with Woody Herman and small groups headed by Charlie Ventura and Herman alumnus Bill Harris. After leaving Kenton for good in 1952, he relocated to the West Coast, where he was much in demand for studio work. But he continued playing live jazz whenever possible, fronting his own band, Shelly Manne and His Men. From 1960 to 1974 he was owner of and frequent performer at his own Los Angeles club, Shelly's Manne-Hole. After the club folded, he co-founded the la 4 combo, which would last until his death 10 years later. Manne was a highly intelligent player, modest but self-assured. He stated his own rules for drummers in a 1955 piece in Down Beat: "I'm not in favor of the bombastic approach to drumming. A display of technique leaves me cold if a good line, good sound, and sensitivity are ignored."


J. Ephland, "Shelly Manne," Down Beat Magazine archives, at:; "Manne, Shelly," Music Web Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, at:; P. Priestley, "Shelly Manne," in: Jazz: The Rough Guide (1995); "Shelly Manne Offers His Concept of Jazz Drums," Down Beat Magazine archives, at:

[George Robinson (2nd ed.)]