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Ed Shaughnessy

Edwin T. Shaughnessy was born 29 January 1929, in Jersey City, New Jersey. A self-taught drummer, Shaughnessy came to prominence, mainly in the New York area, in the late 40s working with George Shearing, Jack Teagarden, Georgie Auld and especially Charlie Ventura.

In the 50s he became more widely known owing to engagements with bands led by Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey and he also worked with Johnny Richards. In the 60s he was with Count Basie and also worked extensively in New York studios, securing a 29 year engagement with The Tonight Show band, under Doc Severinson.

Although best known as a big band drummer, Shaughnessy’s considerable skills spilled over into small group work with Gene Ammons, Roy Eldridge, Billie Holiday, Mundell Lowe, Teo Macero, Charles Mingus, Shirley Scott, Jack Sheldon, Horace Silver and many others.

For several years Shaughnessy was a member of the house band at Birdland and other New York clubs. In the early 70s he was doing similar work in Los Angeles and is credited with discovering Diana Schuur, whom he introduced at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival.

Shaughnessy’s consummate skills have allowed him to become a sought-after teacher, an activity which he pursued through the 80s and 90s while simultaneously maintaining a busy recording and live performance schedule.

It’s only been in the past few years, when his family responsibilities have increased, that he has had to place a narrower focus on his goals. In 2009 he had knee replacement surgery at the age of 80, but remains a modern drumming legend in his own time.


Radio & Podcasts


Read "Swing" reviewed by Monk Rowe

Swing is inseparable from jazz, yet remains an elusive quality. Episode 11 takes a deep dive in what makes music swing and calls on Ed Shaughnessy, Steve Allen, Bernard Purdie and Gerald Wilson for expert input. ...

Album Review

Dinah Washington: Queen of the Juke Box "Live", 1948-1955

Read "Queen of the Juke Box "Live", 1948-1955" reviewed by Dave Nathan

Ted Ono's Baldwin Street Music has rescued Dinah Washington's live performances from New York's Birdland, Royal Roost and Basin Street. There are also a couple of cuts from the soundtrack of Harlem Variety Review. It was during this period that many of her recordings consistently appeared at the top of the R & B charts. But it wasn't until her classic “What a Difference a Day Made" that she broke through to the pop charts. The first performance on the ...

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Interview: Ed Shaughnessy (PT. 2)

Interview: Ed Shaughnessy (PT. 2)

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Few kickoffs by a drummer are as signature as Ed Shaughnessy's start to Johnny's Theme, the Paul Anka song that the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson used each night. As a kid growing up, I associated the sound of Ed's drums at the start of the theme as the official end of a child's day and the start of adult down-time. When that theme came on, the universe shifted and a child was in adult space and on borrowed time. ...


Interview: Ed Shaughnessy (PT. 1)

Interview: Ed Shaughnessy (PT. 1)

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Drummer Ed Shaughenssy has pretty much seen it all. He played with Charlie Parker and many other beboppers in the late 1940s and early '50s. He was in Charlie Ventura's band at the famed Pasadena Concert in 1949. In the '50s, he recorded with Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Chris Connor, Teddy Charles, Mundell Lowe, Teddy Charles, Gerry Mulligan and many others. In the '60s, Ed continued to record jazz but led a double life: He was ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Queen of the Juke Box...

Baldwin Street Music


Jazz In The Pocket

Chase Music Group


Color Changes

Candid Records




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