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RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Shelly Manne: "The Three" & "The Two"

Read "Shelly Manne:  "The Three" & "The Two"" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

"Perhaps the key to understanding his achievement is to realize that, despite the virtues of his instrumental skills, he viewed himself, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, as a musician first and a drummer only second." class="f-right">--Ted Gioia

“When I'm playing, I think along melodic lines. For instance, I can go up as the notes go up. I may not hit them on the head, but the drums are a very sympathetic instrument and I can sometimes ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Shelly Manne: Three Classic Albums Plus

Read "Shelly Manne: Three Classic Albums Plus" reviewed by David Rickert

Shelly ManneThree Classic Albums PlusAvid Records2012During the 1950s heyday of the West Coast scene, drummer Shelly Manne hit on a formula for sucessful albums: pick a Broadway play or television score and turn some of the best songs into swinging jazz. After the success of My Fair Lady (1956) there was no turning back, and the four albums on Three Classic Albums Plus were recorded in succession over the span of two ...

RHYTHM IN EVERY GUISE

Shelly Manne & His Men At The Black Hawk

Read "Shelly Manne & His Men At The Black Hawk" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Two decades after Shelly Manne’s untimely death at the age of sixty-four, the unassuming artistry of the once popular bandleader and widely recorded sideman is largely overlooked, if not forgotten. Manne’s utilitarian drumming contains elements from stylists ranging from Dave Tough, to Papa Jo Jones, to Kenny Clarke. Befitting a musician who spent his formative years playing with ensembles of all kinds and participating in jam sessions instead of practicing rudiments and licks by himself, his drumming doesn’t clamor for ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Shelly Manne & His Men: Yesterdays

Read "Shelly Manne & His Men: Yesterdays" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Shelly Manne & His Men Yesterdays Pablo 2003

Shelly Manne, who died suddenly of a heart attack on September 26, 1984, left behind an impressive body of recorded work as a leader and sideman. Like Dave Tough, one of his formative influences, Manne was a musician first and drummer second. Evincing an unusually nuanced approach to the trap set, he had no interest in technique for its own sake, instead tailoring his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Shelly Manne & His Men: Yesterdays

Read "Yesterdays" reviewed by Russell Moon

Shelly Manne took his Men on a European tour with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic organization in the winter of 1960. Along the way, Granz recorded the quintet's February 22 (Zurich) and March 2 (Copenhagen) gigs. Manne was a Contemporary Records artist at the time; however, Fantasy Records has acquired the rights to both Granz's recordings and the Contemporary catalogue, so these dates can today be issued without record company conflict.

Fantasy has released five songs from the two ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Shelly Manne & His Friends: Li'l Abner

Read "Li'l Abner" reviewed by Derek Taylor

Breaking stride with many of his jazz contemporaries, Shelly Manne always had an ear attuned toward popular entertainment. In the 1950s, Broadway musicals, film scores and television shows were the fodder of the day--and the drummer regularly mined these sources for material. The Contemporary label was ready and willing to release the results of these jazz-commercial music hybrids. Just reference the clutch of Manne-led dates that yielded albums such as My Fair Lady, Peter Gunn and the recently reissued Checkmate. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Shelley Manne and his Friends: Modern Jazz Performances of Songs From Li'l Abner

Read "Modern Jazz Performances of Songs From Li'l Abner" reviewed by David Rickert

Sometimes mediocre albums can be more frustrating than lousy albums, simply because one can see the possibility of a great performance lurking behind the clouds. Shelley Manne certainly could have followed his best-selling jazz adaptation of My Fair Lady with a better choice than Li’l Abner, a lackluster musical with a Broadway run shorter than the playing time of the album.

The indifference with which the public greeted it should come as no surprise; Li’l Abner features ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Shelley Manne: Plays Checkmate

Read "Plays Checkmate" reviewed by David Rickert

One would hardly think that music for television would form a solid basis for improvisation, being largely incidental music meant to set scenes rather than draw in the ear. However, Johnny Williams (the same John Williams who later created memorable music for Star Wars and the Harry Potter movies) was a composer who was able to transcend the usual boundaries of the small screen to create some memorable little themes that worked quite well apart from the show.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Shelly Manne: Boss Sounds!

Read "Boss Sounds!" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Although jazzmen based on the West Coast are frequently regarded as rhythmically moribund compared to their East Coast counterparts, there’s nothing effete about Boss Sounds!, a reissue of a 1966 Atlantic release. Recorded live at his club in Hollywood, Shelly Manne sets the pace with his lively yet precise drumming. With an impressive array of rhythms executed by sticks and brushes, adroitly placed beats on the bass drum, and a keen sense of dynamics, he constantly moves the music forward ...