Shelly Manne Day

June 11, 1920 – September 26, 1984

The King Swings

Drummer Shelly Manne (born Sheldon Manne) was born on June 11, 1920, in New York City.

Manne came from a family of drummers (his dad and his uncles). He embraced bebop and played with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, as well as Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz.

He played a starring role in Stan Kenton’s orchestra in the 1940s and 1950s, and also in Woody Herman’s group in the 1940s.

In the early ’50s, Manne headed out to California where he continued to play jazz and got involved in the film and TV industry.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was part-owner of the nightspot Shelly’s Manne-Hole, which was an important venue for jazz in Los Angeles.

Although he is now associated with West Coast jazz, Sheldon Manne grew up in New York City, where he was encouraged to take up drums by his father and uncle, who were both percussionists.

Manne developed his style during the late ’30s, playing in the clubs along 52nd Street.

He picked up his first professional job in 1940 as a member of the “Bobby Byrne Orchestra” and, after building a solid reputation playing in the “Woody Herman Orchestra,” proceeded to record with Don Byas, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Shavers.

As bebop began to take over in the 1940s, Shelly altered his style to match, while also enjoying the freedom and challenging complexity of membership in the Orchestra of Stan Kenton late in the decade.

After moving to a horse ranch on the outskirts of Los Angeles in the early 1950s, where he would become one of the original practitioners of the West Coast sound.

He appeared on two albums with Sonny Rollins and recorded as a leader extensively through the ’50s and ’60s.

In Los Angeles during the late ’60s, Shelly Manne opened a nightclub on North Cahuenga Boulevard called “Shelly’s Manne-Hole,” featuring his band and hosting many jazz greats during its years of operation but was forced to close in 1973.

In the years before his death in 1984, Shelly Manne appeared on recordings with Harry “Sweets” Edison, Zoot Sims, John Lewis, Joe Pass, and Herb Ellis.

Shelly Manne and His Men are featured on a 1962 TV broadcast of “Jazz Scene USA.”


Conte Candoli, trumpet
Richie Kamuca, tenor sax
Russ Freeman, piano
Monte Budwig, bass
Shelly Manne, drums