Shelly Manne made a countless number of
records from the 1940s into the 1980s but is best-known as a
good-humored bandleader who never hogged the spotlight.
Originally a saxophonist, Manne switched to drums when he was 18
and started working almost immediately. He was with Joe
Marsala's band (making his recording debut in 1941), played
briefly in the big bands of Will Bradley, Raymond Scott and Les
Brown and was on drums for Coleman Hawkins's classic "The
Man I Love" session of late 1943. Manne worked on and off
with Stan Kenton during 1946-52, also touring with Jazz at the
Philharmonic (1948-49) and gigging with Woody Herman (1949).
After leaving Kenton, Manne moved to Los Angeles where he became
the most in-demand of all jazz drummers. He began recording as a
leader (his first session was cut in Chicago in 1951) on a
regular basis starting in 1953 when he first put together the
quintet Shelly Manne and His Men. Among the sidemen who were in
his band during their long string of Contemporary recordings
(1955-62) were Stu Williamson, Conte Candoli, Joe Gordan, Bob
Enevoldsen, Joe Maini, Charlie Mariano, Herb Geller.