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Shelly Manne

Biography

Shelly Manne was the jazz drummer in Los Angeles during the 1950s and '60s. A constant innovator, he was a major part of the West Coast Cool movement but was just as good at leading Hard Bop ensembles. Unlike many other tub thumpers, Manne always aimed to make great ensemble music rather than show off on the skins. A busy sideman, he was featured on most of Henry Mancini's Big Band recordings, and was shown to good advantage on episodes of Peter Gunn. He recorded in a variety of contexts but hit pay dirt with a trio he led with Andre Previn. Their reworking of My Fair Lady sold very well and kick-started other jazzmen into doing entire scores of hit shows. The city of Los Angeles actually dedicated an inscribed manhole cover to him. Rarely have tax dollars gone to such a worthy undertaking.
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