Saturday, December 2, 2017

Shelly's Manne Hole [From The Archives]

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Shelly's Manne Hole opened almost 60 years ago and closed the doors at its original site on Caheunga Blvd. in Hollywood, CA a little less than 50 years ago.

In the intervening half century plus, the world of Jazz that the club's opening represented [and did it's best to maintain] has changed and, for all intents and purposes, that world will probably never come again.

Given all the good things that the twelve years of the Manne Hole's existence did for Jazz musicians and for fans of the music, an amazing story in an of itself, equally astonishing was how drummer Shelly Manne was able to keep his own quintet going and sustain his chock-a-bloc schedule in the motion picture, television and recording studios while owning and operating the club. 

Shelly's studio work is a parallel story. I doubt that anything close to the volume of recordings dates he was involved with exists for any working musician today.

Documentation of many periods of Jazz history is spotty at best.

So those Jazz fans who have an interest in revisiting the details about the Manne Hole's existence and sampling the and discography of Shelly's quite remarkable tenure in the studios and on the West Coast Jazz scene are indebted to Jack Brand and Bill Korst for researching and sharing the following information about all three in their book Shelly Manne: Sounds of The Different Drummer. 

At the time of their first posting as three, separate blog features in August, 2008, it was still possible to order copies of the book directly from Jack's "Percussion Express" website.

Unfortunately, although the website for the Jack Brand Drum Studio references the book, it does not appear as though copies are still available for direct purchase from the publisher.

While the work was in print, Jack graciously granted JazzProfiles the privilege of posting a number of its chapters on the blog including the one on the Manne Hole and the editorial staff thought it would take this opportunity to reprise the 3-part feature as a continuing part of its efforts to "put it all in one place" for purposes of the blog archive.

You can locate a seven [7] video playlist of Shelly Manne and His Men at the conclusion of this feature.

If you ever had the chance to hear him play over any length of time, you would more than likely agree with Jack Brand’s assessment that Shelly Manne was … “the most musical drummer who ever lived.

© -Jack Brand and Bill Korst, copyright protected; all rights reserved. Used with permission.

By the late fifties, many of the L.A. jazz clubs had gone out of business. The Haig, Zardi's, Billy Berg's, The Peacock - all had closed their doors. These were the clubs, along with the Lighthouse (that was still going), where what they called "West Coast jazz" had become so popular. Groups like Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker and the Shorty Rogers and the Giants had grown from local club date groups to internationally known stars. Shelly had always had owning a jazz club in mind. He simply wanted a place to play jazz in an environment that was friendly to the musicians, had a good piano, and nobody would tell you what to play or how to play it!

During 1959, Shelly had mentioned to Dave Stuart of Contemporary Records that he was seriously interested in opening a jazz club. While Shelly had talked about this for years, no one took him very seriously because they knew he was unbelievably busy in the studios. But after his successful stint at the Blackhawk, he told Stuart he was determined. After all, here was the most popular drummer in the country who occasionally played in jazz clubs across the nation, and played drums in the best known (even if it was a fictional place) jazz club ever "Mother's" on the Peter Gunn show. Now Shelly wanted to play in his own place. A manager would have to be found, someone who knew how to run the business end of the night club business. Rudy Onderwyzer, a sometime traditional jazz trombonist and manager of The Unicorn (a Los Angeles coffeehouse), was called and the gentlemen met at Ah Fong's Chinese restaurant on the Sunset Strip. By the end of the meeting, Shelly knew he had the right man for the job. Now a location had to be found; Rudy and Shelly and everyone else excited about the idea started looking. Flip was not too pleased with the prospect of having her husband gone even more hours than he already was. They spent as much time as possible enjoying their show horses and between the studio work, the concerts, and the recordings, a new venture would steal away the precious hours. Nevertheless, Shelly was on a mission and she knew him well enough that once his mind was made up, there was no looking back, and she was supportive.

Anyhow, he promised, time would be set aside for the many horse shows they enjoyed - The Indio near Palm Springs in February, Santa Barbara in the spring, Del Mar [north of San Diego] in the summer, and the Cow Palace [San Francisco] in November. They were training the horses themselves, competing with the big show barns, yet winning their share of prizes. There were the three- and five-gaited saddle-bred for Flip. and a standard-bred road horse for Shelly. Shelly recorded a lot of commercials for Jon and Faith Hubley, wonderfully innovative artists. One day Jon came up with a logo design for the Marine Stable - the "Dancing M," the letter "M” with feet on it. Flip comments, "The big barns had dozens of trunks, coolers, etc., with their logos - so Shelly got a little watering can, painted it, and we used to put it out for laughs." In between the jazz recordings and the movies and the jingles and the jazz gigs and the horse shows, Shelly Marine was going around with Rudy looking for a jazz club location!

In the meantime, Shelly signed for a spring 1960 JATP tour in Europe. This tour would feature Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Paul Smith, Gus Johnson, Jim Hall, Jimmy Giuffre, and in a move to include the so-called "West Coasts” scene, Shelly Manne and His Men. As Flip and Shelly prepared for the trip, their first trip abroad, a new tux was needed and while Shelly worked until the last minute, he barely scheduled in the fittings but never tried it on. Flip tells us the story - "On opening night in Berlin. he showered, put on his shirt and tie, then tried get into his pants. They were about a size 2! He kept trying to get into them, unwilling to face the fact that it wouldn't work. He had to play the concert as the only one in a suit. The next day we had to go find a ready-made tux. It was heavy wool, like a suit of armor, and Shelly sweated way across Europe. It was great to hear Ella every night, and she was very sweet to me - no Prima Donna act - a great lady." While in England. the Men recorded what would be called West Coast Jazz in England. Shelly couldn't stand the term, hated it more each time he heard it and it annoyed the hell out of him. It would haunt him the rest of his life.

After the European tour, an arrangement made between Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer of Riverside Records and Les Koenig of Contemporary Records that two albums one for each label - would be recorded with Thelonious Monk and Shelly as co-leaders. This strange arrangement came about when Grauer, who had been in Europe when the two musicians were there, casually asked Monk about such a project and he evidently agreed, but it was to be an ill-fated arrangement. The recording took place at the Blackhawk in San Francisco, a two-day session that was soon aborted. As the session got under way and a musical decision was necessary, Manne always referred to Monk’s opinion. Shelly was like that when working "for" someone - always eager to please. Orrin thought that Shelly was too respectful. Also, Keepnews could imagine what was going on in Monk's mind. "If I'm the top man, how come we share the billing?" The first day's session (April 28, 1960) resulted in an "acceptable version of a new as yet untitled Monk tune", and a rather rambling "Just You, Just Me." The next day, they started to work on "Round Midnight," and Shelly could see it wasn't going to work. He took Keepnews aside, told him he simply wanted out and flew back to Los Angeles, refusing to be reimbursed for the plane fare. He had been extremely saddened by the experience and the failure of the session.

Back in L.A.
, there were more sound tracks to be recorded. Films like Hell to Eternity, High Time, Pepe, Moment to Moment, The Great Impostor, and others. Andre Previn, his wife Dory, and Shelly collaborated to compose the title song for the film Tall Story, and Shelly scored the movie The Young Sinner. The Proper Time was finally released, and the young composer John Williams was orchestrating for a television series called Checkmate. "Checkmate, Inc.," was a private eye firm that had characters played by actors Sebastian Cabot, Doug McClure, and Tony George. Williams, after playing for Mancini, was now making his own name as a composer and Shelly Manne would do his drum work. The series ran for two seasons.

Singer Ruth Price had come out to Los Angeles in 1960 with Red Clyde after she had sung with Dizzy's band. Shelly and his group were working at a place called Jazz City and she was invited to sing. "Shelly hired me to work there after I sat in. After work he would drive me home and on the way we would look at coffee house-type places." By mid-summer, the location for Shelly's jazz club was found. The Men had played a club on North Cahuenga Boulevard called the International, which later became The Lamp, which then evolved into a gay bar called The Macabre. It had potential; it was located in what was then called "Mid-Movietown" on Cahuenga between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. He stopped there with Ruth to show her. She liked it and the location was now available. Rudy and Shelly agreed and a lease was signed. They decided they wanted a very funky atmosphere - it would be cheap to furnish and would look and feel like a real jazz club. Most of the furnishings came from a place called Scavenger's Paradise. They found distressed timbers of odd sizes which were as hard as a rock and they were covered with lots of varnish. The summer was spent "decorating," Rudy doing most of the work, getting the small kitchen ready for the limited menu they would offer, and planning the advertising for the place they would call Shelly's Manne-Hole. Rudy would take 35% of the profits and soon was calling himself - as one of the partners - Mr. Hole. "Shelly wanted to control his environment," recalls Onderwyzer. "In other clubs the music was a step-child, in the Manne-Hole, it was everything." On the darkened walls they hung old photographs, newspaper clippings, murals, Shelly's Contemporary album covers and in the back of the room, a lighted drum head with Shelly's picture on it. Underneath the legend read "Founder and Owner, 1960 A.D." Ruth Price thought there was too much "stuff" on the wall. The furnishings were "early Goodwill." old hanging lights and funky wooden tables and chairs. Until they were able to get a beer and wine license, they would open just as a restaurant, "a good little restaurant," as Shelly called it, with a Swiss chef. Shelly took Bob Cooper in to see the place, and after seeing the cobwebs coming off the ceiling, Coop said, "Boy, you've got a lot of work to do in here." Shelly said "What’d-ya-mean? This place has soul!”

Jazz recording dates were slowing down; so were club dates for jazz players everywhere (the Manne-Hole was about to take care of that problem), but film work was keeping the 40-year-old drummer busy. Orchestral recording sessions included things with Johnny Green, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Fielding, Axel Stordahl, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Oliver Nelson, and Mancini. In August, singer Jo Stafford included Shelly and his old friend from the Street [52nd in New York], Ben Webster, on a Columbia album [Jo + Jazz; Columbia CL 1561, CS 8361]. On the last days of September, the Poll Winners were at it again. This time the album was Exploring the Scene [Contemporary M3581, S 7581]. In the next week, Shelly became part of the “Marty Paich Orchestra” and backed Helen Humes in an ambitious album for Contemporary. [Songs I Like to Sing; Contemporary M3582, S7582, OJCCD 171].

At lunchtime over at Universal, as Bob Bain recalls, it was "Hot soup at the Manne-Hole!" - and everybody would drive ten minutes on the freeway down to the club and eat lunch. Shelly's infectious personality had won him so many friends, that it was only natural that they would give the little restaurant a try. Shelly was like a kid with a new toy. He was giving it everything had; he wanted it to be a success. So did his friends, but with the great humor that abounded among the musicians, they couldn't help but put him on a bit. When the place had just opened, guitarist Jack Marshall came in, sat down and opened his guitar case, took out a table cloth d silverware. Just then a waiter from the Brown Derby, in formal red jacket, walked in with a lunch on a silver tray. Not to be outdone, Shelly “accidentally" knocked over the table. Bain recalls another hilarious incident - "Jack used have all these phony flies and spiders, and he enlisted the help of fellow-guitarist Bill Pittman - a very straightforward nice guy. Jack and I were sitting on the other side of the restaurant, away from Pittman because Shelly would have caught on to us right away. Bill very audibly called Shelly over and told him there was a fly his soup. Shelly was so upset, I told Jack we should tell him, but Jack said, 'No, no, this is too good!' Shelly was in the kitchen, rattling pans and going all over the place. Finally he came back and Bill Pittman and all of us were breaking up. He was mad at us for a week. He loved that place."

As if he wasn't busy enough, Shelly lectured local colleges, conducted seminars and clinics, and taught at the new college music building at Northridge on the Valley State campus [California State University
, Northridge]. In August, Northridge held a two-week High School Music Institute that found Henry Mancini, Stan Kenton, and Shelly donating their time. This was not an unusual thing for Shelly. He would help anyone who asked him, not only with schools, but individuals as well. Flip recalls, "One time were out in the barn and a fellow showed up that Shelly hardly knew. He said his wife was having a very difficult pregnancy and he was broke and she had to go to the hospital. Shelly knew he was a junkie, so he made the check out the hospital. The man never attempted to pay it back: I don't even remember his name. During the 20 years we lived out here, Shelly got to be the father-figure and 'Salvation Army' to Local 47.” When he knew of a young drummer in need help, he would make sure he had some equipment on which to play. While he was so busy with so many things, he always had time to care.

By November the Manne-Hole had its beer and wine license. The plan was to have the Men play the weekends, Friday through Sunday, and other local groups would fill the weeknight schedule. The musicians were more than happy to work "off-nights" playing jazz, even if it was for "light bread." "We'll always feature a vocalist with my band on weekends," promised Shelly, knowing that this would enhance the entertainment factor for the audience. Helen Humes would be the first in a series of talented singers that appeared with the Men. Opening night was planned and it was to be called "The Les Koenig Invitational Opening Party" The Men would consist of Shelly, Freeman, Kamuca, Gordon and a young bass player by the name of Chuck Berghofer. Monty Budwig would not be a regular because he had relocated to San Francisco. Berghofer recalls getting the call from Shelly. "I was sitting at home and the phone rings and it was Shelly Marine! He said 'I'm opening this new club and I need a bass player."' The 22-year-old bassist had worked with Skinnay Ennis' band and then for about a year with Bobby Troup, and for a time with Herb Ellis. Now he was getting a call from a living jazz legend. He was to meet Shelly at the club for an audition. "I was so nervous on the way to the club that I had to stop three or four times to go to the john. So I went down to rehearse in the afternoon and we got half-way through the first tune and Shelly turned and said 'Yeah, you'll do."' The pay would be $16.50 a night.

November 4th was opening night and Jack Sheldon played instead of Joe Gordon who was in jail. Bob Bain and Jack Marshall strolled among the tables playing their guitars and singing. Shelly made sure everybody who was anybody was invited. The little store-wide club was packed with a who's who of the L.A. scene. As the visitors entered the club, they made an abrupt left and there, right in front of their the small stage on the left wall, with the Men wailing away. Across the room towards the back was a service bar just big enough to serve the room. The ambience of the room was warm and inviting - a small space with a high ceiling and great acoustics. The carpeted bandstand was a little over a foot off the floor and the quintet comfortably fit in front of a velvet curtain that backed the stage. Shelly made sure that piano was the very best they could find, a great black instrument of which Shelly said, "It was built in 1888, the Year of the Blizzard, and I got it from a little old lady in Pasadena. She says it's a one owner and she never played anything faster than Moonlight Sonata on it!" It would always be in tune. This night was Berghofer's very first job with the band.

"Meanwhile, back at the ranch," the Mannes were expanding their ventures and adventures into Flip's first love, the horses. The Manne den, always full of awards for Shelly, now included a wall filled with ribbons, some of them blue, and gold and silver trophies awarded by the horse show circuit. The former Rockette told a reporter that she gets "more nervous at a horse show than I ever did on the Radio City Music Hall stage." “The Dancing M" was becoming well known in the equestrian circles of California. From the very first pleasure horses they received as a gift at their first small house to their present growing stable, they loved the animals. They had purchased an old show mare (Saddlebred) early-on, but she went lame almost immediately. The Mannes bred her three times and got three winners! Flip says, "It was most unusual and sheer luck." They were all five-gaited Saddlebreds. After Shelly decided to show, they bought “Panama Limited", a Walking Horse. He won the Reserve Amateur Championship with him at the Cow Palace. "Walking Horse people did terrible things to their animals, so when it came time to sell the horse, we sold it at a loss as a pleasure horse," recalls Flip. That's when Shelly bought "Scataway", who "taught" his drummer-owner how to drive.

In late November, Shelly did an album of music from West Side Story with Cal Tjader and the Clare Fisher Orchestra, and a few weeks later recorded with Johnny Mandel, backing Mel Torme in a musical tribute to Duke Ellington and Count Basie. The Manne-Hole hadn't been open two months, but by Christmas it had become the talk of the town. The Los Angeles gossip and music columns gave it plenty of press, and Shelly talked it up everywhere he went. The name of the place always invited humor and trumpeter Manny Klein couldn't help himself. He told everybody that he was going into the shell business, had rented the store next door to Shelly's club and was going to call his new store “Manny's Shell-Hole." In the club Shelly was booking a variety of groups for the Monday through Thursday calendar. Phineas Newborn, Teddy Edwards, Paul Horn, Jimmy Giuffre, Frank Rosolino, Conti Candoli, Jack Sheldon, Terry Gibbs, Dexter Gordon, Barney Kessel and others brought their own groups in. "It was a fantastic thing," remembers Bob Bain, "you could go there any night and hear great jazz." Rudy painted a ladder going up the wall to the ceiling, where a painted manhole cover had its lettering reversed. Contemporary engineer Howard Holzer made sure the sound system was perfect. The Manne Hole was serving lunches and dinners and selling beer and wine, but it was tough to make it on just that. The door charge was kept to a minimum so that anybody could afford to hear jazz, but one problem that Rudy saw right away, was that everybody was a friend of Shelly's. That got to be a problem because everybody expected to get in free. The jazz club business has always been a tough business, but it was even tougher for Rudy because of all of Shelly's friends.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated 35th President in January, the Civil War had started a hundred years before, and by the spring, the Soviet Union had a man in space, orbiting the world. Jimmy Dean sang "Big Bad John," and the serious crooners with the "funeral home vibratos" were singing "I Believe in You," from How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. The pop scene had Ricky Nelson singing his own song, "I'm a Travelin' Man," Connie Francis moaning "Where the Boys Are," and others singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Wimoweh," "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," and "Hey, Look Me Over." The Academy Award nominee and eventual winner for the best song was "Moon River
", words by Johnny Mercer, music by Henry Mancini and drums by Shelly Marine. He would play again at the Academy Awards Presentation - he almost always did if Johnny Green, or Elmer Bernstein, or Mancini conducted. Shelly would play on other films that year - West Side Story, Flower Drum Song, King of Kings (timpani), and others. David Raksin used Shelly on Too Late Blues, which was a John Cassavetes film. Raksin recalls the project: "We were recording at night at the Paramount sound stage because we couldn't get the stage that day The high brass had come in from New York and the studio had taken them out to dinner and then didn't know what the hell to do with them after that, so they brought them down to see what we were doing. We were doing a take and Shelly was playing his 'Rim Shot Heard Around the World' drum solo, then we trooped into the control room and they were all listening and saying 'Wonderful, wonderful.' Shelly was standing over there and I said, 'We will take another take,' They all said 'What's wrong with you?” and I said 'That isn't vintage Shelly.' He smiled at me as if to say: ‘I was wondering if you would be intelligent enough to recognize that.’ We trooped out to make another take and Cassavetes stayed in the booth and for some reason Benny Carter did too and one of the executives said ‘Gee, that Guy (Shelly) really seems to know what he’s doing and John Cassavetes said, “Yeah, but he’s Jewish!” and Benny Carter said ‘That isn’t all, he’s also colored!” In February [1961], the Men went on the road playing clubs back East and in the Midwest, where in Milwaukee, the Sentinel and the Journal raved about their concert.

Henry Mancini used Shelly on Breakfast at Tiffany’s (including "Moon River") and Bachelor in Paradise. Shelly played the Mahalia Jackson TV special, recorded an album for Mancini called Mr. Lucky Goes Latin [RCA Victor LPM/SP2360], even though the TV show of the same name had been canceled (Shelly did the soundtracks for that, too). Shelly once again acted on screen in an episode of Adventures in Paradise, the series that starred a lean Gardner McKay, who portrayed a lucky Adam Troy who leisurely sailed the South Pacific aboard his yacht, the Tiki. The episode was called "Wild Mangoes," and Shelly, Kamuca, and Candoli played "hip" musicians stranded on Bora Bora after being fired from an ocean liner gig (probably played too hip). Their "wives" chartered the Tiki to rescue them and they all lived happily ever after. Before the middle of 1961, Shelly had recorded albums with Sammy Davis, Jr., Joannie Summers, Mel Torme, trumpeter Howard McGhee, and the Johnny Williams Orchestra. In the spring, enough material was recorded for two albums, "live" from the Manne-Hole. A two record set featured the Men, and a one record album recorded during the same three days featured Helen Humes. Conte Candoli had replaced Joe Gordon who had died tragically in a fire. (Joe never actually played with The Men at the Manne-Hole. He was in jail when it opened, and then the chair was "taken.") The night Joe died, he was visiting the club and Rudy drove him home. The instrumental double album recorded "Live" at the Manne-Hole March 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 1961, is now available in two separate CD albums from Contemporary [C3593-94, S7593-94, OJCCD 714-715].

In the fall Shelly recorded an album of themes with Alfred Newman, a prolific Hollywood film composer, and did a session with Martin Denny's "island"- sounding group, complete with bird calls. Caesar Giovonni arranged a large orchestra and used Shelly to record Exciting Sounds, billed as The Clebanoff Strings and Percussion. The percussionists on the date were Shelly, Milt Holland, Hugh Anderson, Larry Bunker, Mike Pacheco, Johnny Ray, Johnny Cyr, and Irv Cottler. A battery of first call Hollywood percussion players. On October 4th, the Monterey Jazz Festival drew 10,000 devotees of modern jazz, and they were rewarded with the sounds of Max Roach, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Jimmy Giuffre Three, Sonny Rollins, Diz, Leroy Vinnegar's group, the Mastersounds, Brew Moore, and The Men. The press called Shelly's group the highlight of the day. On October 23rd, the "Poll Winners," Brown, Kessel, and Manne, gave an afternoon concert at The Pilgrimage in Hollywood. The Men and Ruth Price appeared on Strictly Informal, a television show on KTLA, and on October 24th, the Men recorded Checkmate [Contemporary C3599, S7599, OJCCD 1083-2], music suggested by the television show of the same name. In November Shorty Roger
s used Shelly, Emil Richards on vibes, and an all-star group to record The Fourth Dimension in Sound for the Warner Brothers label [Warner Bros. BS 1443]. The same month. Shelly did a Pacific jazz album starring Bud Shank [Barefoot Adventure [PJ/ST 35].

By now the Manne-Hole was sending out bright orange calendars to a vast mailing list across the country Pat Willard was handling the publicity for the club, and it added to the warm friendly concept and the inviting feeling of the whole operation. The band was cooking and Shelly was very happy that he had created a plce for jazz musicians to play in a time when there were fewer and fewer places to play modern jazz. He was happy with his playing, too. "I feel much freer in the Manne-Hole than I have ever felt in a club before. Working here has been one of those gigs where you literally can't wait to get there and start playing. And the band has gotten freer and more exciting, partly I think as a result of the room." Rudy, who liked traditional jazz, said, "Just by working at Shelly's I got a whole education in modern jazz." The Men, most of them now doing film and/or recording dates, were happy to be able to play in a club where the music was the only important thing. Chuck Berghofer was getting an education not only from working with Shelly, but having the opportunity to play with Russ Freeman was fantastic. He was learning new chord changes and new rhythmic concepts. "The only time Shelly ever said anything to me, was one time he just looked over and said, 'Wait for me."' Berghofer was young and energetic and the rings were high on the fingerboard and he was just slightly ahead of the drummer who had the perfect time.

Russ Freeman remembers playing with Shelly at the Manne-Hole - "Shelly was having a real good time. When Shelly was at his best, which was most of the time - nobody's is at his best all the time - he was my favorite drummer. He was the most empathetic of all drummers I had worked with." They were experiencing that very special musical bond, the same feeling they had when they recorded The Two [issued as “The Three” and “ The Two” OJCCD 172-2] seven or so years earlier. Shelly would direct the band with audibles, telling the bass player to lay out, playing duos with just drums and piano, or drums and Conte's trumpet, or sax and drums. Variations were tried and discarded or called up a month later. The band was tight, yet flexible enough to change course in mid-stream. Shelly would play the whole range of dynamics - wailing like crazy and then suddenly, instantly, he would take the volume down to a whisper. He had the ability to be roaring on the ride cymbal at a very fast tempo, then switch to brushes without losing the intensity The interplay between Freeman and Marine was something to behold. Things magically happened, it was musical telepathy "We never even talked about that - this is just where we were. We never sat down and said 'You know what you did there, or what I did there, let's try to re-create that.' That never, ever happened. It was just spontaneous. That's what was terrific about playing with Shelly, because he listened very closely to everything everybody was doing, which, of course, is the ideal thing to do in a group. That's one of the hard things in playing jazz, to not only play well and be creative, but be able to do it while listening to everybody else in the group at the same time - and incorporate it all so that it becomes one. He was terrific at that, he listened to everything, trying to be creative but not ignoring what the other guy was doing. Shelly was not as loud as some of the bebop drummers; he wasn't a basher, though there are some terrific bashers. He was very sensitive; to him the drums were a musical instrument. I used to put him on about the drums 'not being a musical instrument'." 

It didn't take Rudy long to realize that though the club had become an instant success, the meager admission they were charging at the door on Friday and Saturdays wasn't going to be enough. It had started out at just $1 on Friday and Saturdays with weeknights and Sundays no admission charge. While they sold pizza and cheese-sticks, beer and wine for 50 cents (if the wine had a cork it cost more!), they found that the average customer was only spending an average of $1 after they got in the door. They would have to sell hard booze to make it. Shelly was putting in every spare moment at the club to make sure everything was working right. When he wasn't there, some of the musicians would play short sets and take long breaks. He had to crack down on that, and he made sure that loud patrons were gently advised that this was a jazz performance room and that loud talking was not permitted. He was not timid about this and occasionally had to introduce himself as the owner and suggested that perhaps this was not the place for non-listening people. After working all day in the studios, he would go home for supper, lie down for a few hours, then drive back to the Manne-Hole for most of the evening. Flip was far from thrilled with the arrangement, but this was Shelly's dream come true, a gathering place for musicians to play jazz in a club where the owner understood the music.

The place was "pure serendipity" according, to Rudy. The layout of the club was small enough to be intimate, even cramped like a jazz joint should be. The jazz disc jockeys were pushing the club and would be there most nights too. Jumpin' J. Rich never could seem to get the name right - he would say "Get down to Shelly Manne's Hole." Sam, Tony, and Major were the main hired help. Sam would work the door on week-ends and got to see the celebrities. It was a who's who of the Hollywood scene. Don Rickles would come in and tell everyone that when Shelly and Rudy got together they flipped a coin and Rudy won, he got the door! Woody Herman brought his big band in to the little club on Cahuenga. So did Gerald Wilson and Don Ellis. The club was not only making jazz happen. it was causing a renaissance of jazz clubs around L.A. By the early 60s the club list was long. The Town Hill, the Zebra Lounge, Mr. Konton's, the Purple Onion, the Summit
, It Club, Paradise West, The Troubadour, and The Lighthouse were all offering jazz. But the Manne-Hole was consistent, like Shelly. Once a policy was set, Manne and Onderwyzer stayed with it. Shelly was footing the bills, making it possible to build the business. Saxophonist Gary Foster had stayed on the Coast after Stan Kenton suggested he give the scene a try, and Foster recalls that "the Manne-Hole was great for a guy with no money. They offered a bottomless cup of coffee for 60 cents."

Shelly wanted his old friend Ben Webster to play the club. Shelly asked him and mentioned that "we usually pay scale." Webster said, "I don’t play for scale!" But they worked it out and Ben played the club. Rudy recalls - "He would drink about a bottle-and-a-half of port and we would carry him to the cab. it never affected his playing. The next day he would be right as rain." Jackie Cain remembers working a jazz concert with the tenor saxophonist. "He would be backstage, sound asleep, holding his jug in a paper sack, and someone would go back and wake him up to tell him he was on, and he would come out and blow like crazy" The legendary jazz player was truly formidable in every respect.

The racial make-up of the Manne-Hole audiences depended on the featured groups. Harold Land, Teddy Edwards and Buddy Collette drew predominantly black audiences. This, of course, was not in the plans and wasn't even considered by Shelly, who only thought of the music and the musicians, and the respect it and they deserved. What kind of crowds was only important in their number, not any other consideration. The biggest problem was money and how to make sure the club was kept going. Musicians wanting to play were plentiful, money generation was the tough part.

Universal International was producing as many as sixteen hours of television programming each week and Shelly was doing most of that work. Eight a.m. calls were common and triple sessions too. The 41-year-old jazz drummer, studio musician, club owner, husband, and horseman was keeping an unbelievable schedule. If he wasn't at Universal in the daytime hours, he was at some other film studio, or recording studio, or he could be found lecturing at a college, or planning a television appearance for his group, or just promoting jazz wherever possible. Often he would do an evening studio call in between UI and the Manne-Hole. He teamed up with Jack Marshall for several recording sessions, not to mention the Mancini calls, not to mention the Michel LeGrande calls, or the Elmer Bernstein sessions, or any number of other composer's call.

In January of 1962, Ray Brown and Michel LeGrande joined Shelly for a week-long stand at the Manne-Hole. This would be the first of many appearances by the film composer-cum jazz player. While LeGrande was hardly a hard driving jazz pianist, he was a smash hit among the Hollywood
crowd and he would appear at the club many times. Thursday nights were called "Freaky Fridays" and featured groups headed by Jack Sheldon. One night Peggy Lee was sitting quietly enjoying the sounds and Sheldon carried the mike to her and she sang in her usual fantastic way. The club was so popular, yet the receipts were not completely covering all the expenses. Shelly called it a success because it wasn't taking too much of his own personal income to keep it afloat.

In the late winter and early spring of 1962, Shelly recorded with Eddie Jones, Hank Jones, and Coleman Hawkins for Impulse Records [2 3 4 Impulse A(S) 20, GRP 11492] while in New York City. The Men performed at a benefit at the Capitol Theatre in Yakima, Washington. Ruth Price traveled with the group and during a week's stand in Seattle, she recalls – “Shelly rented a station wagon and picked us up to go to the gig. I always had dogs and during this time it was 'Alfie,' a little Dachshund. One night I couldn't find the dog, so Shelly sent the guys in the band to different floors to look for the dog. I was in the lobby and all of a sudden the elevator doors open and there's the dog - by itself!" One can only wonder who was responsible for that.”

Ruth Price was learning much from working with Shelly. "One time, he took me aside on a break and said, 'When you're not making it, you're trying too hard. Relax and sing what you know how to sing. It's OK to copy yourself.”

There were lighter moments, of course, like the time she remembers Shelly coming in to the club in a new 'drip-dry' suit. He had gotten in the shower with it to see if it worked! She remembers, "Richie Kamuca and I just stood there while Conte and Shelly discussed the suit.'"

In March Shelly recorded with the Candoli brothers for Warner Brothers Records. On the 5th of April, he received a letter from Twentieth Century Fox's John Erman that Shelly "was a natural in Wild Mangoes (acting) and that he had enjoyed his visit to the Manne-Hole". Leonard Feather mentioned in his column that Andre Previn had been sitting in at the Manne-Hole in preparation for an upcoming album. In June there was a Neal Hefti album to record, and a TV appearance with the Men on Jazz Scene USA
, a show that was alternately hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr. and Bobby Troup. The movie and television work was keeping Shelly more than awake during the day. Two Weeks in Another Town, Walk On the Wildside, Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation, and Mutiny On the Bounty were some of the films he did. Mancini used Shelly on two films in 1962, Hatari and Experiment in Terror. Manne joined percussionists Milt Holland and Larry Bunker for an album called The Brilliant Soul for Pianos and Percussion, for Cesar Giovanni. By August he was in the studios recording with the great Bill Evans. The pianist wrote Shelly after the session - "Just a note to tell you that I picked up a test pressing of one side of the date we did, and I had such warm feelings listening to it and remembering the pleasure of that night with you and Monty, that I wanted to tell you about it. Gee, you sound ,wonderful." He closed the one-page letter with, “I just wanted you to know I think you're a playin' fool! "

Occasionally the Manne-Hole would experiment by bringing other types of music to its jazz audiences. Pianist Jimmy Rowles remembers he and his wife dropping down to see Shelly and there was a Flamenco act booked for intermissions. Shelly sat down front next to Jimmy and watched the thin, agile fingers with the long nails do magic with the guitar. Shelly leaned over and whispered in Jimmy's ear, "How'd you like it guy to tickle your balls?" In a while a piece plywood was placed onstage and a Flamenco dancer came out to perform. It didn't take Shelly long to whisper to Jimmy, "How'd you like that guy to kick you in the ass?" The humor of Manne extended from the subtle to the raunchy and Jimmy was often involved when the two were doing studio dates for Mancini or others. He would "steal" cigarettes and Rowles' Dunhill lighter, go to the drum set and light up. When red recording light would come on, he would ,throw the cigarettes to Jimmy just as the downbeat came down. The next time it would be the lighter. Gary Foster recalls Mancini studio sessions when some big name singer would come in - a Streisand or Andrews or somebody of that musical stature - and Shelly would crack-up the studio players by standing up and saying loudly, "Hank - in that measure - number 138, do you want me to play a 'boom-ditty-boom' or a 'do odeley boop'?" Anything to be funny and to crack the pressure of the moment. As often as not, several musicians in the studio would have difficulty (from laughing) playing when the light came on. Not Shelly; the red light meant business.

In September, the Men returned to the Blackhawk in San Francisco for a weekend stand. Shelly liked to take the group out when his schedule permitted. It gave him a time away from the hectic pace of the studio and an opportunity to meet new fans. He was very approachable, liked people, and it was a time away from the 12 hour days of studio playing and jazz club operations. But those times were limited. He had to make a living and the studio work offered him the cash to keep the Manne-Hole going. He did dates with Mahalia Jackson, Joni James, a Mel Torme radio transcription (later issued on LP and CD) with Shorty's Giants, a big band date with Rogers, and an album with Nancy Wilson.

After the Blackhawk date, he went into the studios at Capitol for a session with his friend from the Kenton days, Laurindo Almeida. The guitarist had become as busy as Shelly in the studios, and their paths crossed often. Whenever he had a record date under his own name, he used Shelly, if he was available. By this time, the bossa nova had become the big thing and Laurindo was scheduled for a Capitol session. Almeida had been playing samba jazz, as it was called by Brazilians, as early as 1952. Other jazz players had been experimenting with the music throughout the fifties. Cannonball Adderley had put together groups for tours in South America, and Sergio Mendez had taken it to Mexico in 1958. The music originated around Rio and with the Stan Getz/Astrud Gilberto album hitting the charts, it had finally reached the ears of fans in the United States. Now Laurindo used the expert Latin-playing ability of Shelly - "Shhhelly," as the soft dialect of the Brazilian pronounced it. On the same record date, they did an interview cut of Shelly for radio promotional use, Shelly being the eloquent spokesman that he was. 

In November, Shelly recorded with the Jack Sheldon Quartet on Capitol, a session stretched out over four days. In December the Men appeared at UCLA with Marni Nixon and Ruta Lee, and before Christmas, Shelly recorded a Contemporary album called My Son, The Jazz Drummer, [Contemporary S7609] a tongue-in-cheek, play-on-words jazz version of old Jewish favorites  Though the jazz recording sessions were slowing down, an indication of the nationwide sad state jazz was in during the early 60s, live jazz was fairly good on the Coast, and the film work was keeping the players quite busy. By now the drum sections included Joe Porcaro and Emil Richards, two stellar percussion performers who joined the ranks of Milt Holland and Larry Bunker, and other legends. They would spend much of their careers sharing the percussion section with Shelly, enjoying his talents and humor. In the pop recording business, Hal Blaine was working day and night, drumming for the likes of Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, and Roy Orbison. Now the recording studio sound engineers were changing the drum sound. The producers would come in, say they wanted the drums to sound just like they did on So-and So's album, and more often than not, it was Blaine's drumming. This was really bugging the jazz drummers because it had always been important that they get a "live" sound out of their kits. Contemporary had always given Shelly the sound he wanted, but when he went into the commercial world of recording, he was finding that they would muffle his drums, or that they would ask him to play on the studio set. The individual's sound was unimportant to them. Blaine would often use a huge kit with several tom toms and cymbals. Shelly, never missing an opportunity to put somebody on, stenciled on his trap case something like - "Shelly Manne, Kit # C-9601." This era was only the beginning of a changing world for the recording drummer. In the meantime, Shelly continued his varied work with everything from a movie theme album with Alfred Newman to Billy Rose's Jumbo. The new year of 1963 would see some big changes at the Manne-Hole.

Part 2: The Manne-Hole 

"[In 1963] Shelly decided he wanted to bring in headline acts. Nobody in town was bringing in the likes of Stan Getz, Miles Davis or Oscar Peterson or other big jazz names from back east. Rudy and Shelly discussed the economic ramifications of such endeavors, and as if by magic - the store next door, to the north, was now available. The drummer/owner and his manager/partner bumped heads trying to project the cost of not only enlarging the club, but the bigger operational costs of more help, more advertising, and more expensive music. The lease was signed, the expansion was made, at a cost of over $10,000. They had figured that knocking out a wall and continuing the funky decor wouldn't cost more than three or four thousand dollars - it was not a pleasant surprise. Shelly continued to pour money into the now famous big-time jazz club. The first act was John Coltrane who was, by now, a living jazz legend. His stint with Miles in the fifties and his current musical groups had furthered the magic he performed and Shelly was excited to contract him for the new opening. The club wasn't quire completely renovated, but they prepared for opening night anyway. Rudy painted the news on the front of the club - but the artist was obviously not yet a pure Coltrane fan - it stated, "OPENING TONIGHT-JOHN COLTRAIN."

The night came and the crowds were lined up around the corner, about a block-long crowd waiting to get in. The only problem was that the saxophonist would not be there. He had wired that he had an abscessed tooth and would arrive a day late. Shelly pasted the telegram message on the door in hopes that it would ease the pain of the disappointed fans. "Trane" played the next night to a packed house and it was the first time the club had ever charged a cover for a mid-week night. The word spread throughout the jazz world that the Manne-Hole was now booking more expensive acts.

In January, English drummer Vic Lewis assembled a West Coast band to record His Master’s Voice and used Shelly as a percussionist, a job he was beginning to do more and more of. In February, Laurindo did another Bossa Nova album for Capitol using Manne and during this same time-frame - Jimmy Rowles, Max Bennett, and Shelly recorded some things for Capitol that were never issued. He recorded a Dixieland album with Clancy Hayes, an album with "Joe Graves and The Diggers," a Herb Ellis-Stuff Smith album that included Shelly's fellow-ex-Hermanite, Lou Levy on piano and Al McKibbon on bass. McKibbon had worked with such names as Nat Cole, George Shearing, Monk, Milt Jackson, and Carmen McRae. He remembered Shelly subbing for Big Sid on the Street, wearing his "sailor suit." He remembered Shelly's first idol, Jo Jones, tell some other aspiring drummer, "Play the full set of drums knucklehead!" According to Al, "Shelly had that Eastern feeling" - something that had obviously escaped the jazz critics who continued their East Coast-West Coast comments. "Shelly and I had a kindred love of horses." When working together for the first time in a while, Shelly told the bass player, "I've got to remember how to play with you." The drummer was so into the way other players played, particularly rhythm players, that he wanted to complement the feeling, to capture the true "give-and-take" of jazz. To enhance and make beautiful the act of playing improvisational music. He was that way with everything he played.

The Manne-Hole celebrated its "longevity" with a party on the thousand-and-first night of the club's existence. The mailers were sent out, inviting the staunch fans, and close friends Bob Bain and Jack Marshall, who had serenaded the fans on the original club's opening, were somehow over-looked. "Shelly agonized over that for months," remembers Flip. Nevertheless, on the 1,001 Nights Party, Jack Marshall emceed the evenings fare that included a cake rolled in containing a bikini-clad lovely stashed in a cardboard cake. Rudy said it was the first time he ever saw Shelly speechless!

In April Shelly took his group up to The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco for a six-day visit. By mid-summer, he played a New York Philharmonic two-day date with Previn and Red Mitchell. Another bossa nova album with Laurindo at Capitol, an Earl Bostic session in August and he signed for a Hawaiian jazz date at the Waikiki Shell for September 7th, that would include Al McKibbon. It would give Flip and Shelly an opportunity to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and they went to the islands by boat. By the 13th, the Men were in full force at the Manne-Hole, and Helen Merrill was the singer. She had been working with t group every weekend in August, and was no the featured regular at the club. The Manne-Hole improved its chances for success with the acquisition of its full liquor license. Bob Cooper recalled visiting the club shortly after they began to serve hard booze - "I sat down with Bob Troup and ordered a scotch and soda and Troup turned and said, 'You mean I've been sitting drinking this damn wine for three hours and they serve booze?"' Now the place could “kind of” afford more frequent visits by the big names but as Rudy quips "Unfortunately, we never had any heavy drinkers in the audiences." But there were few serious problems with the fans either. Rudy and Shelly and the staff ran a tight ship when it came to audience behavior. Now that the eastern acts knew that Shelly was seriously looking and booking, they came to him. While he realized that every group has its price he would always be up-front with his limits and almost always, an agreeable price would be met. The groups knew that he was honorable and could trust him. So many club dates ended in hassles with the money or the owner - not a the Manne-Hole.

Shelly worked the Monterey Festival in September and spent most of the remainder of '63 doing studio work by day and hosting or playing the Manne-Hole. He wasn't at the club every night, he enjoyed being home, but he would often drive down to hear the visiting groups. Occasionally, the Men played out of town. For a time the band was booked by MCA and they were always after him to go out on the road. One time the Men were asked to play Las Vegas, but when Shelly was told that the hotel would require Kamuca to go through the kitchen entrance, Richie being of Mexican descent, Shelly was shocked and refused the contract. There were strange currents moving in the social layers of American society. On November 22nd, the President of the United States was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Shelly and Flip were in St. Louis at a horse auction having lunch when they heard the news. Flip remembers that the auction people didn't want to put it on the loudspeakers, afraid it would interrupt the auction!

In December Andre Previn put together a session with Ray Brown, Herb Ellis and Shelly [4 To Go! – Columbia CL2018,CS8818, CBS-Sony-20AP1435]. Brown was now a regular on the coast after years of performing with Oscar Peterson. The famous bassist soon had as much work as he could handle and he and Shelly would share rhythm section chores on countless sessions and gigs. The Browns, Ray and his wife Cecelia, alternated between their house and the Manne's for Thanksgiving fare and became close friends, personally and musically. Christmas was spent either with Sandy and Ron DeCrescent or, sometimes, the Mannes stayed at home and invited people for dinner who had nowhere to go.

In early 1964, Shelly did two Capitol dates, a three-day session in January with pianist Junior Mance [Get Ready, Set, Jump!” – Capitol T/ST2092] and another three-day session in February with pianist/vocalist Blossom Dearie [May I Come In? – Capitol T/ST2092; CDP 7243 4 95449 2 5]].

By March he was in Tokyo for a three week concert tour with three other jazz drumming legends Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, and Max Roach. Here were four drummers (they called the tour Four Drummers) who literally were the most important innovators and pioneers in modern jazz drumming. All had taken part in the bebop era. Haynes was for years one of the most underrated drummers (by critics) in jazz. Part of the reason for this situation is that he had been in the group backing Sarah Vaughn for many years and this had gained him little attention outside of New York. His style has personified hipness and taste in the post bop eras and has, at last, received the acclaim due him. His playing has often been described as listening to popcorn pop. Surprising snare drum and bass drum "pops" are put in places other drummers rarely use. Philadelphia Joe Jones was called that to avoid confusion with Jo Jones of Basie fame, and had, since the Miles Davis Quintet - now known by Miles fans as the "First Quintet" - received the attention of thousands of jazz fans as one of the most influential drummers in the jazz of the fifties and early sixties. His brush work was beautiful and his time feel forceful and lifting. While sometimes he had a tendency to play loud, his overall playing was outstanding. Max Roach, the pioneer bebop drummer, while five years younger than Shelly, had been active on the Street while Shelly was in the service and was considered by many to be the heir-apparent of bop drummers after Kenny Clarke. The two crossed paths hundreds of times and Shelly considered him a friend. Interestingly, Max's playing has alternately been called technically superb and technically repetitious. Shelly perfectly analyzed his and Max's different concepts of soloing in an interview with radio jazz show host Sleepy Stein. "Max plays melodically from the rhythms that he plays. I play rhythms from thinking melodically" If one listens closely to the structures of each drummer's solos, this becomes immediately apparent. Roach often uses compressed, tightly structured groups of triplets and sixteenth notes, developing seemingly complex rhythm patterns by using the entire four-piece drum kit. The bass drum often keeps steady time throughout his solos during this period of his playing, enabling him to play polyrhythmic patterns by cross-sticking the tom-tom figures. Unlike technical whizzes like Buddy Rich, Shelly and Max seldom stayed on the snare drum for any length of time. The tour included trumpeter Howard McGhee, Charlie Mariano on alto, his wife Toshiko on piano, and Leroy Vinnegar on bass.

By now the foreign tours were quite popular with the musicians as well as the fans. The Japanese and the Europeans held the jazz players in high esteem and the concerts were always successful. It was refreshing for the jazz artists since the struggle to keep jazz alive in the 60s was becoming more and more difficult. In May, Shelly played the jazz festival at Arizona State University at Tempe, and upon his return to Hollywood, taped an ABC-TV Hollywood Palace that featured Caterina Valente. The program included Louie Bellson, Philly Joe and Irv Cottler and was aired on the 23rd of the month. That day Shelly was in San Francisco appearing on the bill with the Men, George Shearing, Anita O'Day and the Hampton Hawes Trio. In June the Men opened at the Club Shoji in San Diego. Or. this short trip south, the front line of the band had changed. Charlie Kennedy had replaced Kamuca and Don Sleet replaced Candoli. A month later, the group recorded - along with a big band - one of Shelly's favorite albums.

John Williams had, by now, become a most respected composer. He had always given Shelly much credit in encouraging him to write for films. The two talked about doing My Fair Lady as a jazz vehicle for the Men, within a big band, and doing the music as a true uninterrupted musical. Irene Kral was selected to sing the lead in this unique version of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, that had been adapted to the stage some eight years earlier. The male lead was none other than trumpeter Jack Sheldon, whose unique voice would later be heard in a variety of television work. His sense of humor literally smacks of "put-on" in this tour de force that segues from one tune to another - artfully and dramatically enhanced by the pure jazz writings of Williams. It is sad that the critics of the day were not always kind with this work, for the album - originally cut for Capitol and later reissued on the Talltree label - is now hard to find. It was called 
My Fair Lady, The Un-original Cast.

John Williams recalls his friendship with Shelly - "My first recollection of Shelly was when he was a very tall, lean youngster just out of the Coast Guard and I saw him and heard him playing drums with the Stan Kenton Orchestra at a theater in New York. He was instantly recognizable as a kind of star of the drum world. He came to maturity musically just at that kind of cross-over between the swing era into the bebop period. His playing at that particular moment was quite different in its approach. It had hard swing, but it also had elements that presaged and predicted the post-swing era of drumming that became so popular. He's remembered in those days as a kind of 'clean-cut kid', something very wholesome about him. His enthusiastic embrace of every kind of music and all subjects related to music and art was something that was contagious to people around him. He stuck out as a player and as a personality even early on." On his playing - "He is noteworthy for his originality, and I would say one of the aspects of his playing that was so unique, was his sense of color. So many drummers just banged away and kept time. Shelly, I remember, used to play four or five minute solos on just cymbals... different pitched cymbals long before electronic experts made pieces out of gong vibrations, Shelly was already experimenting with just the beautiful impressionistic effects that he used on cymbals in night club and recording performances. It's just one aspect of his playing that's so coloristic and so subtle... so different than the mainstream of drummers in his day.

He was constantly growing, listening to classical music and very interested in all kinds of sound sources - from African instruments to every kind of primitive thing that could be gotten from around the world that made a musical sound. He collected these things and used them. He was a leader of his colleagues, keeping his fellow musicians working - a losing proposition for him financially - he could have made much more money recording in the studios at night - but he insisted on having this what was then jazz Mecca in L.A. because his colleagues needed a place to play and Shelly seemed to be the only one around with the gumption and enthusiasm and almost, from a business point of view, 'careless joy' that it took to go through all the grief of operating a jazz club." The friendship between the two grew from working the Peter Gunn and Checkmate television series. "The My Fair Lady album was done in a kind of concerto grosso format, that is to say it featured Shelly's small group backed up by a large band. I wrote the arrangements for both Shelly's group and the large band. it was a great experience to work with Shelly and all the great jazz performers that he featured in his group and that we were able to hire for the band."

Shelly recorded Mancini's Pink Panther album, did a Latin tinged big band recording with Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra, More Four Freshmen and Five Trombones for Capitol, and a George Shearing album featuring the quintet and "Four Woodwinds" (and a very young Gary Burton on vibes). Caesar Giovonni arranged a large orchestra to record Exciting Sounds, billed as the Clebanoff Strings and Percussion. At the Manne-Hole Stan Getz made his first appearance to sellout crowds. Also featured at the Manne-Hole was Roberto Miranda, "The World's Fastest Dishwasher." Miranda, a fledgling bass player, went to work early every night, put his bass in a small store-room behind and a little above the band stand, tuned-up, then went into the kitchen and washed dishes - as fast as he could - so that he could sneak back and literally play (unheard) with the best jazz players in the world. Miranda recalls -"As soon as Shelly learned of this, he would feature me as a soloist during intermissions. He would get on the microphone and say 'Now we'd like to feature our dishwasher on solo bass.' Shelly was a fine gentleman, always supportive. One time when I cut my hand on some glass, Shelly asked Rudy -'Can he still play?"' The Men played the Blackhawk again in September and appeared on the bill with Frank Sinatra (subbing for Nat Cole), Count Basie, Vicki Carr, Tony Bennett, Dianne Carroll, and Jimmie Rodgers on December 11th at the Dedication of The Pavilion of The Music Center in Los Angeles.

By the mid-Sixties, Shelly had signed with the makers of UniRoyal Tires to do a series of commercials using only the sounds of percussion. The creative juices flowed in this kind of challenge, and the famous "CAT'S PAW" commercials were the result. The TV viewer would see these stark black and white commercials and remember them for their originality As the car screeched to brake on a rain-slicked highway, the animated figure of a cat and its surefooted paw came suddenly into existence and "saved the day" Shelly would study the story boards and sketch out the sounds he wanted in each frame. By now he had collected a variety of percussion instruments that included the boobams and a "waterphone" he had picked up in San Francisco that looked like a hubcap on stilts with varying lengths of steel rods reaching towards the floor. He built wooden cabinets in the garage at home so he could store the scores of crude tom-toms, scapers, scratchers, rattles, and other "instruments" he found interesting.

One afternoon Shelly stopped by the Pro Drum Shop. This was Bob Yeager's pride and joy, a drum shop that served the Hollywood session drummers as well as the amateur. Here the studio percussionist could order anything he or she needed, have anything repaired, and sometimes just hang out. As often as not, the man behind the counter was Chuck Molanari, and one afternoon Shelly stopped by for a visit. The "john" was just to the side and kind of behind the counter and the famous drummer walked in to relieve himself, keeping the door slightly opened as he talked to Chuck. Over in the cymbal section was a young local who always wanted to know when the next Zildjian Cymbal shipment would be in - a real cymbal "nut." A new shipment had arrived and there he was playing on this cymbal and that one, finally playing on a new "ride" cymbal. Shelly peeked around the doorway and signaled to Chuck that he liked that sound and to save it for him if the young man didn't buy it. Later that evening, the young drummer stopped by the Manne-Hole to hear Shelly play and during an intermission asked Shelly about his new ride cymbal; he thought the sound was terrific. Shelly smiled and said, "That's the one you rejected today!"

By the beginning of 1965, Stan Kenton arrived at yet another era in his glorious musical life. He now embarked on furthering his long mission of the development of the "jazz orchestra" by assembling a 26-piece orchestra that would be called The Neophonic Orchestra. The idea had been pushed on to an interested Kenton by a team of Hollywood promoters who were nuts about jazz. The idea was to promote a series of four concerts in the first year. The music and the musicians would be snatched from the closeted jazz talents of the scores of studio players who supposedly hungered to play serious jazz. Like almost all Kenton dreams, it happened - and Shelly got the call. The list of contributing composers reads like a who's who of contemporary jazz - Rugolo, Paich, Gillespie, Riddle, Rogers, Nelson, Shearing, on and on. The first concert was set in the new Pavilion and Shelly put on his tux and played the opening concert on January 4th. The orchestra was well received, the music was a mix of the classics and jazz, "Third Stream" some called it. Kenton was in his glory. This was the Innovations all over again, only better. We can only imagine how he felt, standing in front of a dream orchestra and, once again, seeing Shelly Manne do his magic.

In February of 1965, Shelly and John Williams collaborated on another album for Capitol. It was the same format as the My Fair Lady album recorded some six months previously This album was all Gershwin, and appropriately enough called, Manne, That's Gershwin [Capitol T/ST2313]. These two albums were treasured by Shelly. After all, here was one of the most capable composers and arrangers writing for Shelly's own big band sessions, the only big band recordings under his own name. For years to come, when he mentioned his My Fair Lady album in an interview, the host almost always thought he was referring to the Previn collaboration - the "hit." Within a few short years, the two big band albums would become collector's items. In this musical format, the listener truly has the opportunity to hear the real Shelly Manne - capable of kicking the daylights out of a big band, the ability to play complex orchestrations that take the listener from a small jazz group sound and feel - to a swinging big band passage - to a symphonic orchestral passage - all the while adding to the music in his own remarkable way. Here is the Shelly Manne that the studio musicians and the composers and the contractors knew. The man who could do anything and make it better than even the composer could have thought possible. He redefined the word taste. Some say his picture should be next to the word in the dictionary.

The Manne-Hole presented Ravi Shankar on Sunday January 24th and agreed there would be no smoking and no selling of booze. The renowned sitarist from India became the 'in' musician of the period. All over the country grown men walked into their local clothier and purchased "Nehru shirts." The flower children were arriving on the scene. Transcendental meditation classes were offered in the local Unitarian church or other places where "religion" wasn't threatened.

The "door" problem at the Manne-Hole continued to perplex Shelly and Rudy. The hundreds of musician friends of Shelly's simply expected free admission. Percussionist Emil Richards recalls, "As they walked in they would say – “I’m a friend of Shelly's,' and not expect to have to pay - or Shelly would be on the door and would let everybody in free. That had to stop. so they put a kid on the door who didn't know anybody - didn't know a musician from beans - so I'm trying to get in with Mel Lewis one night and the guy said $3, or whatever the cover was, and Mel said ,'Do you know who I am?' and the kid says 'I don't know who you are, and I don’t give a shit who you are - $3.' So Mel runs around the back and I said: No, c'mon, I heard from Shelly that this was a problem.' So we go to the back anyway and here was the guy waiting there for Mel and wouldn't let him in! "

The Neophonic Orchestra played their second and third concerts on February 1st and March 1st, both at the Pavilion. On the 19th of March, a fourth concert was played, again at the Pavilion. The plan to take the orchestra to other cities had been scrubbed; it would cost too much money and be too hard to get musicians to leave town. This was the same problem Kenton experienced with the Innovations Orchestra some fourteen years earlier. There were great musicians available in Los Angeles, they were ready to play jazz, but it was difficult to get them to leave town. Shelly would see the same musicians in the studios, during the day, performing every kind of music imaginable. Not all the movies made were exactly "Academy Award" material. Shelly played on such epics as Taffy and the Jungle Hunters. And record dates could be a little strange as well. Diz Greer, a kind of poet/narrator, used Shelly while describing night life around L.A. among other things. But for the most part, the work Shelly was doing were big time, challenging projects. George Dunning D used him on The Big Valley, and Lalo Schifrin G, used him on most everything he did, including Mission Impossible. Organist Rieber Hovde used Shelly and old friend Leroy Vinnegar for his album on the Repeat label.

In May, Shelly returned to Arizona State University to participate in their jazz festival and conduct a clinic. He was always frustrated with college players not playing good time. He tried to explain that everybody in the band needed to develop good time and explained that everybody can learn to keep time. Not everybody can swing - that's from the heart, but there could be no excuse for bad time. The music cannot happen without the time happening! When he found good players at the clinics he conducted, he was elated. By the mid-sixties, many of the traveling bands were discovering that there was a wealth of work to be had by conducting clinics at the college level. It would be a few years before they would all learn how to take advantage of that. The one who blazed that trail was none other than Stanley Newcomb Kenton.

On the 31st of July, Dick and Barbara Nash hosted the annual musicians' Christmas Party at their home. The party moved from year to year and among the participants were the Bob Bains, Jack and Eve Marshall, Milt Raskin, Gene and Fran Cipriano, and Johnny and Barbara Williams. The group would sing hip Christmas carols written by Al Burt and others and the party became an annual event for many years. One year, screenwriter Jeff Alexander wrote a carol so ribald that nobody could sing the “scatology.”

By the autumn of 1965, Frank Strozier had replaced Kamuca in Shelly's group. Richie was busying himself with other work. Shelly would book a quartet gig from time to time without Conte, using sax, drums, piano and bass. In September, the Shelly Manne Quartet (Budwig, Freeman, Strozier, and Shelly) opened at the Trident in Sausalito, closing on the 19th. The next day, Shelly taped an TV episode called This Proud Land. In October, the Men traveled back north to San Francisco and performed Manne–That’s Gershwin with the Rudy Salvini Orchestra at San Francisco University. Two weeks later, on November 15th, Conte, Russ, Monty and Frank Strozier played the Fifth Anniversary of the Manne-Hole. Now, on the sign just inside the club's door was the coming attraction board. Painted on the bottom was "Daryl B. Mordecombe." And there was more to come. Shelly insisted on including groups that were great musically, but not necessarily crowd-pleasers. Jimmy Giuffre's group was a little too cerebral - Art Farmer and Jim Hall had a marvelous group, but the people didn't take to them, other than a small contingency. Rudy didn't understand Shelly's desire to include bands that didn't sell. After all, it was tough enough to make a profit as it was, but Shelly was interested in the music - and he would make sure the payroll was met. These years were much leaner for jazz recordings, even for Shelly. The number of jazz albums produced had fallen since the avant-garde bands had become the thing. A good percentage of the audience had abandoned jazz they didn't understand - and rock had captured the young.

By year's end, Shelly had worked on Von Ryan’s Express, Dr Zhivago, The Great Race with Hank Mancini, Our Man Flint, and others. Fans of The Big Valley didn't know it, but they were listening to the percussive talents of Shelly Manne - and when that fantastic brushwork is heard (even today on re-runs), on the Wild, Wild, West, it is Shelly. On the 16th of December, the Men performed at the Little Theatre at L.A. Valley College in Van Nuys.

As 1966 arrived, Shelly was doing at least 20 or 30 film soundtracks a year, not to mention the weekly television shows. Universal Studios was keeping hundreds of musicians busy every week. Sandy DeCrescent had been the assistant to Bobby Helfer, but now, after Helfer's suicide, was establishing her own independent office as musical contractor for the studios. She not only booked Shelly for Universal, but handled calls for nearly every studio in town, big and small. She had come to expect the unexpected in Shelly's humor, but one episode was truly bizarre. There was a small room where the musicians took their "10 minutes out of the hour" break that the union contract entitled them to. Here the musicians would smoke, drink coffee, or grab a snack. The coffee urn was situated so the spigot was about crotch-high on Shelly (belly-high for most people), and the opportunity to do a "visual" was just too good to pass up for the drummer. He would position himself so that from the back it looked like he was urinating he would go through the motions of seemingly "taking it out," and then the onlookers standing in back of him would watch as he held the cup low and a stream of black coffee would fill the cup. He was doing this one day, much to her surprise, as Sandy's mother passed through the room.

Ivan Tors was producing a new television series called Daktari, a spin-off from a movie made the previous year called Clarence, The Cross-eyed Lion. This new show would feature the lion, as well as a group of other animals and actors who "lived" somewhere in the jungle and spent each waking hour fixing-up or finding lost animals. The vet was called "Daktari," the chimp was called "Judy" and Shelly Manne had been selected to write the music and conduct it for the screen. Shelly assembled the musicians he knew could do the job and among them were percussionist Emil Richards and guitarist Bob Bain. On the first day of recording, the first day of Shelly’s conducting career, the musicians planned their chance to do to Shelly what he was always doing to them. Emil passed the word through the orchestra, "Nobody play a note!" Shelly stepped up to the podium, the red light went on. he brought down the downbeat and nothing happened - nobody played. Shelly fell out. He said, "Thanks a lot, my friends, my buddies.” After a good laugh, the music began and Shelly’s compositions became the best part of the series. Every sound imaginable was used for the "jungle" effects. Drummer John Guerin remembers Shelly walking in one day with a pitchfork he had brought from his horse barn. He had the ability to know just what sound to use for the moment. Emil and Shelly sang the title song in unison, Daktari!

The Neophonic played another concert at the Pavilion on February 7th, this time featuring Shelly's band and the Don Ellis "Hindustani jazz Sextet." Writers for the concert were Frank Comstock, Bobby Troup, Bob Enevoldsen, Duane Tatro, and Dave Grusin. Ray Brown, Kessel and Shelly worked on a Jimmy Stewart movie and Shelly started working on the Mission Impossible television series. Don Specht was using him on nearly every commercial he did. "It was useless to write a drum part for Shelly, because he knew just the right thing to do, always." A small album called An Afternoon With Don Specht was recorded on Soundtrax and it displays the versatile writing skills of Specht - and the versatile playing skills of Shelly - a good example of the various styles the studio musician was asked to play. Very few recordings are evident in this period of Shelly's career, yet he was incredibly busy Most of his recording work was being done on the sound stages of the major film studios. He did record with the Men for Atlantic, a Manne-Hole session [Boss Sounds!, Atlantic LP/SD1469; Koch Jazz KOC CD-8539-2]. He did a session with Ella Fitzgerald on Verve and shared drumming duties with Grady Tate on an Oliver Nelson album recorded in New York. Grady played with the small group, Shelly with the big band.

The Men and Ruth Price traveled to Seattle for 10 days at The Penthouse, just one of many short hops the group made. The local paper noted that the Men and Ruth provided "high quality jazz." The article also included Shelly's comments about working on Daktari. "It's going to be real ethnic - drums, bells, rattles and my chanting." At home base, the Manne-Hole was really concentrating on bringing in as many big names as they could afford. Stan Getz did a knock-out business, so did Cannonball, and Shelly was thrilled to finally have Monk play the club. Rudy remembers the occasion --one night, at the end of the last set, the room wouldn't let him go - standing ovation kind of thing. Monk finally came back, sat down on the stage by himself and played 'I Love You.' It was one of the most beautiful moments in the history of the club." Thelonious had, by this time, apologized to Shelly for the aborted recording session that had happened some six years before. In October, in New York, Shelly and bassist Eddie Gomez did a trio album with Bill Evans called, A Simple Matter of Conviction [CD 837-757-2].

Two weeks later, the Poll Winners - Brown, Kessel and Manne - played the Pilgrimage Theatre in Los Angeles. The forty-six-year-old drummer was now listening to the younger players. Everybody was talking about Tony Williams' drumming and Elvin Jones was beginning to really get some recognition. Shelly stated that it was impossible not to be influenced by these great players, but that "you must do your own thing." The studio scene was beginning to change and the generic sound was getting to him. "You used to go into a studio, and the room, the microphones, the booth, the board, and the baffles were put there to service the music and the musicians. Now, sometimes, it's the absolute opposite. It looks like the musicians are there to service the microphones." He continued to be concerned, not just for himself but for the music scene in general, that the individual's sound was being taken away. "They shouldn't change the way we play or the way we tune our instruments to get our individualistic sounds. They should record the music as it lays. I know that nowadays, technology has the upper hand, particularly when they record a drum-set with ten mic's and it looks like you're doing an address on world peace. I'd rather have a drum-set recorded with two overheads, and maybe a bass drum mic. Some of the best records I’ve made were done with ribbon mic’s – the old RCA 44’s and 47’s – and not the condenser mic’s. They gace the drums the best, most natural sound, and they didn’t sound electric. It’s a warm sound. You know. It’s the air space between your ears and the instrument that makes the sound. I don’t care what the advertisements say; you can’t stuff a mic down inside a bass drum and get that same natural sound.”

Part 3

By early 1967, the list of artists that had played the Manne-Hole read like a Who's Who of jazz. The bandstand at the Manne-Hole had to be expanded for the big bands Shelly brought in. The bands of Kenton, Herman and Gerald Wilson were among them. Shelly continued to insist that the help not hustle the patrons for drinks. He would use the quintet opposite some of the headliners on weekends - imagine seeing visiting name artists and Shelly's band all in the same night. But the piano playing of Russ Freeman was about to depart from the long association with the club, the group, and Shelly. He had watched the club grow from its inception. He could recall that when the room was expanded and the bandstand moved to the back wall that - "We could never get the acoustics and the 'feel' back there like it was when it was on the side. For years we tried all kinds of stuff - hanging things behind, a canopy over - just was never able to grab that sound. The feel of the original bandstand was great. Every night was terrific playing there." He could also remember some of the players from the east putting Shelly's playing down. "They did not know what they were talking about, I guarantee you. They only heard the surface things - things that were different from the things they were used to hearing without realizing what it felt like to play with him. Playing with Shelly was a unique experience."

By the mid-sixties, jazz had changed so much that Freeman was losing interest. "It got so ridiculous that one time at the Manne-Hole a horn player would be at the front door of the club, another would be in the band room in the back, the drummer was on the stage and the piano player was hitting the keyboards with his fists. They were all playing at the same time, not listening to each other at all. People were sitting in the audience thinking this was just terrific. I thought wait a minute! This is too bizarre for me. I just didn't like the direction jazz was taking." Between that and the opportunity to make money in the show business end of music, Russ left the band. He took a job playing for Mitzi Gaynor's night club act that paid him ,'more money than I ever thought existed in the world." He worked with Gaynor for the next three years, then moved on to the Rowan and  Martin's Laugh-In show.The Men and the Airmen of Note recorded a live performance (with Shelly as guest artist) at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Howard Roberts used Shelly on an album for Capitol, and Nancy Wilson recorded with arrangements by Billy May and Oliver Nelson and drumming by Shelly Manne. The new Men - Candoli, Strozier, bassist Monty Budwig and pianist Mike Wofford, cut an album for Atlantic called Jazz Gunn [Atlantic LP/SD 1487]. Wofford was about to prove himself a most capable and sensitive keyboardist. Back from San Francisco, Monty replaced Chuck Berghofer, who had broken into the recording studio scene, making "These Boots Are Made For Walkin"' by Nancy Sinatra, among other hits. In March, 1967, Shelly played the Academy Awards Show under the baton of Johnny Green and a week later was in the studios working on a commercial for Shell Oil. He did the album, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for Universal Artists, and he and Ray Brown played on the Andre Previn-Leontyne Price album called Right As Rain. At the end of April, the new Men played the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco for five days. Early summer saw more session dates for the Men on the Atlantic and Concord labels. In August there was a Tommy Vig big band session and by September, the musical drummer began work on the story boards and cues for an animation feature called The Box.

Shelly was becoming very upset about critics trying to merge jazz with rock and other forms of current pop music. He told Leonard Feather - "Too many people are trying too hard to give the impression that there are no more boundary lines between jazz and pop, or between any one kind of music and another." He continued - If the public thinks pop and jazz are the same, creativity will be smothered." Manne was always trying to keep the art form creative. He booked acts in the Manne-Hole that didn't exactly fit his views of what jazz was, but he invited freedom within the art form. After all, he booked in Archie Schepp when he knew that the musician was known to karate-chop the piano as part of his repertoire. Rudy remembers it well: "We had a double-bill with Archie and pianist Dave McKay. We had the Steinway set up and I told Archie we would really appreciate it if you didn't fool with the piano. We even rented a beautiful upright so he could use that instead. During the evening, Schepp sat down at the piano, tries it out by playing nice and easy That night he chopped the Steinway" But this was not what Shelly was talking about. He could see the movement - the cross-over playing – from rock into jazz and vice versa. But even this was not what bothered him; not even the on-stage antics of Schepp. It was the public's misinterpretation of what jazz is, what rock is, what blues is. Even the Playboy poll was about to lump their famous Jazz Poll into what they would call the Playboy Jazz & Pop Poll. "This means that a great musician like Tony Williams, Miles Davis' drummer, must now compete with Ringo Starr, who has millions of fans," Shelly commented.

Shelly booked Miles into the Manne-Hole and it was an absolute success. It was the most expensive group the club had ever booked and though Miles was infamous in his habit of fluffing off people and club owners, Shelly had nothing but great things to say about the famous jazz star. "A lot of people put Miles down, and he does have his faults, but at the Manne-Hole he really took care of business." There were people swarming all over the little club, the musician's room was always full of friends and fans, but he would always watch the time and played full sets. "One time, when the crowd outside was huge, he even split the last set and played an extra one." The problem the Manne-Hole management had was that, too often, they would call to re-book a group a year later, and the cost had gone out-of-sight.

The famous little club on North Cahuenga was booking Sonny Rollins, Cal Tjader, Gil Evans' big band, Sergio Mendes, and Roberta Flack. Shelly was beginning to experiment with electronics. Mike Wofford added a Fender-Rhodes, as were other jazz keyboardists of the day Wofford had first worked the Manne-Hole in 1961 with Shorty Rogers' band on Tuesday nights recalls how great Shelly was: "Shelly would come in to hear us and, characteristic of his concern and warmth, would really listen to me, the young, green piano player from San Diego. He was truly gracious to a kid new and still learning. His encouragement meant a great deal to me at that time in my life. More than anything else, I took away from being around Shelly the feeling that jazz is a grand form of art and that excellence in its performance is indeed a great responsibility of the musician. Shelly, almost more than any other player I've worked with, genuinely revered the jazz medium."

When Archie Schepp made his debut performance at the Manne-Hole, Mike Wofford witnessed one set when, after a solo of "shrieks, squawks, and various multi-note barrages for about forty minutes," one patron stood up in the back of the room and yelled, "We can stand it as long as you can!" Wofford also remembers when Thelonious played the club for the first time, "It was getting late opening night with everyone there but Monk. As the hour grew later and no leader, Rudy called Thelonious' hotel. The hotel operator connected Rudy with Monk's room and 'T' answered. Rudy asked, 'Thelonious, do you know what time it is? Monk said 'Yeah man, you're hanging me up!"' When Les McCann performed during one of many engagements at the club, one of his rituals was to, at some time during the night, wait for a lull in the action, walk into the ladies' room, and after disappearing for a moment would boom his voice audible all over the club - saying, "DO YOU MEAN TO SIT THERE AND TELL ME..." Such were the scenes in and around the business of operating Shelly's Manne-Hole.

"Shelly and Flip had a long-standing tradition of inviting the entire visiting group, whoever might be working at the club, to dinner at their home on the first night off," recalls Wofford. It was an opportunity that allowed the young pianist to meet, among others, the great Bill Evans. At other times, other artists and their significant others who were frequent guests at the Marine ranch included Zoot and Louise Sims, the Previns, the Spechts, the Browns, the DeCrescents, the Bunkers, on and on. Flip kept a diary of their likes and dislikes - entries would read: "No pork, loves ice cream" or "ate everything!"

The ever-growing guest list read like a Who's Who of jazz! Eddie Gomez, Gary McFarland, Gabor Zabo, Jim Hall, Milt Jackso Connie Kay, Barney Kessel, Gerald Wiggins, "Sweets," Al and Flo Cohn, Bola Sete, Roy Haynes and his band, Jimmy Cobb, and hundreds of others. In addition to the business of the Manne-Hole, Shelly was working on The Box an animated short subject that he completed in October. It would win an Oscar at the next Academy Awards presentation. This was, like the "Tiger Paw" commercial, an all-percussion soundtrack. But here was an animated work of art - a wordless story about a box, enhanced by the inventive mind of Manne.

The late months of 1967 found the Men and Jimmy Witherspoon at the Pilgrimage Jazz Festival. Shelly played a benefit in Santa Monica with Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Oliver Nelson and a number of name jazz artists, then took the Men to San Francisco for a week. By the end of November, he recorded a Daktari soundtrack album for Atlantic. His schedule in the film studios was almost exhausting, yet the energy went on and on and so did the humor. Emil Richards recalls one session when the orchestra was about to break for lunch and the conductor suddenly remembered that a drum roll was needed for one spot in the film. "Everybody stay where you are - we need a drum roll, Shelly" The red light went on and unknown to anyone, Shelly had loosened his trousers. As 75 or 80 musicians trying to remain silent for the take looked on, Shelly started the roll and his pants slowly fell to his ankles revealing polka dot underwear. If he wasn't doing visual humor, he would try other things. When the conductor would stop the orchestra to instruct the cellists about a part, he got their attention by saying "Celli." Immediately, from the percussion department would come a high squeaky voice saying, "Yes?"

As the political year of 1968 came into being, many of the Hollywood music movers an, shakers were getting behind Eugene McCarthy When the Mannes hit the horse shows with their anti-Vietnam War "Out of Asia or Out of Office" bumper stickers, they surprised their fellow horse enthusiasts. Flip remembers that - "You could have shot a cannon off at a horse show and not hit a liberal. They didn't quite know what to make of us." Flip and Marilyn Feldman, Victor's wife, were quite active in the anti-war movement and "got the boys to play all kinds of rallies." They formed the Music for McCarthy Committee, a group that included names like John and Barbara Williams, the Bunkers, the Grusins, Bobby Helfer, Quincy Jones and others. Not only were the politics liberal in the Manne household, so was the new group Shelly was rehearsing. Along with Wofford on keyboards, he used John Gross on tenor, Gary Barone on trumpet and Albert Stinson on bass. The new group was unlike anything Shelly had tried. He had been at the forefront of the so-called "West Coast" cool sound of the mid-fifties, now a decade later he was moving into a new era for him, the band, and the Manne-Hole. At first the change was gradual. The influences of Miles and Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock had been felt everywhere. The music was freer, though aggressive. The structure of the arrangements were less restrictive, the role of the drummer changing from timekeeper to colorist - something Shelly had been doing in jazz for decades. The group worked out more extensive charts, using the Manne-Hole as their laboratory. By early summer, the group was playing concerts performing works by Steve Bohannon, Jimmy Rowles, Charles Tolliver and Clare Fischer. In the recording studios, Shelly was working with Michel LeGrand with Nancy Wilson and with Frank Zappa. Zappa was doing an album called Lumpy Gravy and wanted the kind of drumming he knew Shelly could do so well. Zappa had the reputation of having contempt for anything within the realm of normality. When Shelly went to the recording date, he was pleasantly surprised at Zappa's musicianship.

Over on the film studio lots, Shelly was doing Oliver, Romeo and Juliet, Ice Station Zebra, Rosemary’s Baby, and scores of scores. Michele LeGrand, Ray Brown, and Shelly recorded At Shelly’s Manne-Hole for Verve in April. LeGrand would become a regular in the club's itinerary for the next few years. His song writing for the movies was now well established, and he was a very good piano player. The patrons loved him. Shelly worked with him on the soundtrack of The Thomas Crown Affair and LeGrand was added to the list of composers who made Shelly their first-call drummer. By mid-summer, Shelly was set to teach the Introduction to Jazz Class on Wednesday evenings at Valley State. "The idea intrigued me," he said.

Bill Burrid's Animal World (Wild Kingdom) was ready for music and Don Specht was called by the sponsor for the title music. The writer immediately talked to Shelly, especially since he was doing the "Daktari" music. "He was a natural for this, so I told him, 'Get your cartage service to send everything you've got, all the toys, boobams, finger cymbals, the whole thing,' so he said 'great.' I told him that the session was set for 7 p.m. at Radio Recorders and, 'it'll be just the two of us and we'll multi-track.' He asked if I had written anything out and I simply told him I'd figure it out when we get there. That particular studio was where Lawrence Welk pre-recorded his shows and they had a beautiful twelve-foot harpsichord, double register harpsichord, probably only used to play 'Bubbles In the Wine.' So I sat down, the producer was there, Bill Burrid was there, and I just came up with this thing and Shelly said, 'Just let me put one track with you for a tempo guide.' We faked the whole thing, Shelly had me play scratchers or something. To give you an insight into the character of Shelly being thoughtful and generous in addition to that super-wit, he said, 'You can leave my name off the ASCAP filing.' I said: 'What are you talking about? He said, 'You're going to put this into ASCAP, aren't you?’ I told him that the advertising agencies wouldn't allow me to register anything for commercials. Shelly gently informed me that ‘this was a TV theme for God's sake - I get residuals from Daktari all the time.' So I did and thirty years later I still get checks. Shelly was nobody’s fool.” Specht usually wrote commercials, things like a Rice-a-Roni spot, so this was a new venture for him. “I never wrote for Shelly. He would listen through the first run-through and by the time we were ready to ‘take,’ he had it changed. He had the greatest musical ear in that he could adapt to whatever the instrumentation or the style. He hated to play rock ‘n roll, but he’d do it. We would sometimes have Victor Feldman, Larry Bunker or John Guerin, or all three and Shelly would just take charge and make it happen.”

By 1969, Shelly and a non-electric version of his Men had appeared with Henri Temianka's Southern California Chamber Symphony at a concert at the University of California in Los Angeles. The drummer and the conductor came up with a "go for Baroque" concept of mixing jazz and Bach. UCLA’s Royce Hall had to turn away concert-going hopefuls; it was a sell-out smash. The new group weaved jazz magic. The orchestra performed three of the Brandenburg concerti, and Shelly and the group improvised around the orchestral interpretations. The reviews were mixed, but the crowd loved it. The idea of superimposing jazz over the orchestra and making it work was a tribute to the mindset of the musicians involved, both in the orchestra and the jazz group. "Manne put on a dazzling display of brushwork behind the chamber soloists" - "goosed by the humorous fireworks of Manne" - "Manne and his Men offered beautiful playing." These were the comments made by the critics who recognized the similarity between the conductor and the drummer; both were never content to stay on one level - "never flirting with stagnation." Two weeks after the concert, Shelly received a letter from Ray Bradbury, President of the Chamber Symphony Society, thanking him for the "kind contribution in response to our request for help at this time." Whether it was a junkie calling in the middle-of-the-night for help, or a lofty organization in need, Shelly was there to help, offering his time and talents.

On June 19th, the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences "roasted" Stan Kenton. Shelly showed his home movies of the 1948 Kenton bus tour and performed his own brand of humor throughout the festivities. The group, consisting of many ex-Kenton sidemen, presented the tall bandleader with pieces of plumbing from a Kansas City dressing room, a rural mail box from the Midwest, then performed "Intermission Riff" and "Unison Riff" for their old boss. Shelly, mischievous as always, led and "mis-led" the band.

The first Lake Tahoe Music Festival was scheduled for August and it would include Temianka and the chamber orchestra, Marian Anderson narrating Copland's "A Lincoln Portrait," and Shelly and the band repeating their "Bach Transmogrified" program. There was a new jazz festival series set for the Pilgrimage Theater September through November that would include the music of Stan Kenton and Shelly Manne. Photographer Fred Seligo took his seal from his film rolls that read REMOVE THIS BAND COMPLETELY and pasted it on the Manne-Hole bandstand while his friend Cannonball Adderley played the club. In addition to working on films like They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and Topaz and The Wild Bunch and Marlowe and Hello Dolly and Sweet Charity and MacKenna’s Gold, Shelly was writing the music score for Young Billy Young, that was to star Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson. The western-type movie benefited from the unusual musical background, and while Mitchum sings the opening title song, the music gets better and better as the movie progresses. By August Shelly had incorporated under the name "Manne-Kind." All his business would be transacted under this name henceforth. He had been sued over a minor car accident by a woman (who eventually wound up in jail), and this would protect him from further annoyance and grief.

By autumn, Shelly had finished work on Gaily,Gaily for Hank Mancini. For John Barry, he did Midnight Cowboy. For Sid Ramin, he did Stiletto. For Lawrence Rosenthal, he did Rashoman. Just as Daktari ended, Jambo started. This was a Saturday morning series of animal films and stories that kept actor Marshall Thompson and his chimp friend Judy working for a couple of years after their old series ended; it kept Shelly working, too. Jazz recordings were still down nationwide as well as on the West Coast.

Shelly did a Sonny Criss album for Prestige with Hamp Hawes and Monty Budwig and the alto saxophonist I’ll Catch the Sun, Prestige LP 7628]. Down at the ManneHole, in early November, Eurofilms began shooting Hawes, Coop, and Ray Brown for a 30-minute film presenting jazz as producer Jack Lewerke thought it should be, in a club setting. Knowing what his European market wanted - jazz! - he also felt that "we owe it to posterity to put some of the great musicians on film or tape." He pointed out that "there's not an inch of film of Charlie Parker anywhere." (There actually was some footage shot of Parker.) While Shelly was venturing into new horizons with his "electronic" Men, he easily and casually returned to the more classic "modern jazz" of the 50s for this, the first in a series, that Eurofilms filmed in the United States. It was quite clear that the European market was more sophisticated in its musical tastes. For sometime, jazz musicians had either completely moved to England, Sweden, Italy France, or Denmark, or spent a good part of their year there. This had been going on since the mid-fifities - Kenny Clarke, Johnny Griffin, Don Byas, Ben Webster; Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter had spent at least a couple of years in Europe back in the mid-to-late 1930s. One of the benefits was the lack of racial discrimination, or very little of it, but mostly it was because of the acceptance and popularity of the music.

On December 11th and 12th, Shelly took his new group into the Contemporary Studios and recorded Outside [Contemporary S7624]. This album included Juney Booth on bass, Pete Robinson on piano, and Barone and Gross in the front line. This was the first album fans had been able to buy of the new group, the new Men. Some of the older fans couldn't quite get into the music, but Shelly - ever hungry for the new - had gradually changed his music into the realm of the avant-garde. Wofford continued to be a marvelously musical attribute to Shelly and would be for some time to come. Shelly enjoyed working with Mike and the feeling was more than just mutual. Wofford continued to marvel at the human side of his leader. "Shelly's generosity towards other musicians down on their luck was, I think, pretty well known. I personally saw him quietly and unobtrusively offer aid in various ways not the least in outright cash - to fellow jazz musicians on hard times or, in the case of young people, simply struggling to get started. I never had to ask for anything, fortunately, but if I had it would have been there, no questions asked. As a band leader who, I know, had to go into his own pocket to keep a group working, and as a friend, Shelly’s generosity was nonpareil."

1970 would see the 50-year-old drumming legend on the cover of the International Musician along with a number of other jazz stars, including Don Ellis. Ellis was making a name for himself as the California writer whose big band specialized in playing "odd" time signatures. Shelly stated that some of the time signatures looked more like hat sizes - 12/8-9/8-7/4. He also quipped that the only thing Don Ellis plays in 4/4 is "Take Five!"

Down at the Manne-Hole Elvin Jones and his bassist entered into such a loud argument – that eventually got physical - that one of the male flower children heard the ruckus out front and running to the musician's room, cried - "Elvin, Jimmy, remember Trane! A love supreme... a love supreme!" As Mike Wofford recalls, "the fight continued." On a spring evening, Oliver Nelson formed a jazz quartet with Ray Brown, Shelly, and Larry Nash, and performed] with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta.

Before Shelly took his band to Europe for a series of festivals, he recorded an album for June Christy called The Last Album. His next jazz recording would be in England at Ronnie Scott's famous jazz club. This was at the end of the jazz tour that included Italy. The ex-Ted Heath saxophonist had opened a club in the heart of England's entertainment section and booked American jazz stars whenever possible. By this time, Shelly had added John Morrell on guitar and the band had become even more "electric." Shelly had been playing "funk" on soundtracks in the studios and by now this form had made its way into his charts. The tour had shown overseas fans that the famous drummer had not stood still in his approach to playing jazz. "Our three concerts in Italy reaffirmed my faith in everything I've been doing," Shelly commented. He found it necessary to keep expanding musically "You don't need to change forcibly, just evolve naturally"

There was an aspiring young Los Angeles drummer from the Watts area who became yet another aspirant of Shelly Marine. Ndugu [Leon] Chancler tells his story - "Shelly Marine represented a dream for me that he himself aided making a reality. Being not only a great studio musician, but a great jazz musician as well, Shelly was the kind of musician I wanted to be - versatile, contemporary, and very humane. From going to the Marme-Hole and seeing Shelly and the Men, he and I became friends - first, as the man that gave an encouraging helping hand, to giving me a place to play and develop my talents under his watchful eye. It was only apropos that my first gig upon graduation from high school was at the Manne-Hole with Gerald Wilson's Big Band. From that point on, the Manne-Hole was home and Shelly one of my musical guardians." Shelly spread the word about Ndugu's playing and with his endorsement, Ndugu started to accompany acts like Thelonious Monk, Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris, Harold Land-Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd and James Moody, among others. "It was Shelly and Herbie Hancock that lobbied to Freddie Hubbard to listen to me at the club, which resulted in me being hired." Later Hubbard and Shelly and Walter Bishop, Jr. told Miles Davis about the youngster. "It was through Shelly that I was introduced to some of the greatest names in jazz at a very young age." By helping others, Shelly was instinctively passing on a jazz tradition that he had first experienced from the likes of Hawkins and Webster when he himself roamed 52nd Street.

The big records of the year were being made by the likes of Tiny Tim, Jose Feliciano, Glen Campbell, and a wild mixture of other kinds of music. "Acid Rock" was now what was supposed to be happening and Shelly was ever optimistic that jazz would survive in spite of the fact that many young people could hear nothing on the radio but eighth note rock 'n roll. He told Martin Bronstein of the Montreal Star that he felt the kids would eventually get tired of hearing the "same banal music; the same changes, everybody trying to sing the same. And they'll come to jazz. I don't think it's gonna die." At home, teaching at Valley College, he reallocated the money the kid were supposed to spend on books and brought in live jazz musicians. He felt that hearing it was better than reading about it. Before the year was out, he recorded Barney Kessel's Autumn Leaves album with Jimmy Rowles, Ray Brown, and Teddy Edwards.

In January of 1971 Shelly took his young band north to the El Matador on San Francisco's Broadway for five nights. He told the Oakland Tribune that he felt a jazz musician must get out on the road now and then, to "rejuvenate" an to have the ego stimulated. "You have to know at first hand that people do care about what you're doing, and are listening and trying to understand." In March, in Los Angeles, the American Civil Liberties Union presented a "Salute to Shelly Manne" in the Windjammer Room of the Marina Del Rey Hotel. Shelly and Buddy Collette had played ACLU events for years. The fund-raiser included a performance by Shelly's group and the drummer was praised by many visiting musicians. Cal Tjader, Vic Feldman, Willie Bobo, Gabor Szabo, Ray Brown, "Cannonball" Adderley, and a young tenor sensation by the name of John Klemmer sat in. By August, Klemmer would send a letter to Shelly thanking him for playing on his very first album for Impulse. "Now I know for myself, at first hand experience, why Shelly Manne is one of the best jazz drummers on the scene. I knew it before, but now I really know it!!" He went on to thank Shelly for his superb musicianship. Klemmer had, the previous year, appeared with his group at the Manne-Hole during the club's 10th anniversary week. Monk was supposed to play that week, but had been taken ill.

In the studios, Shelly was recording with everybody from Mancini to Mrs. Miller. Miller was a year-in-year-out everynight member of the Tonight Show audience, and who was such a character that she had been singled-out by every host since Steve Allen. Now there had been gathered an all-star band that included Benny Carter, "Sweets" Edison, Bud Shank, Shelly and others to record her singing tunes with such risqué titles as "I Had To Go and Lose It At The Astor," and "The Weekend of A Private Secretary" On more serious musical sessions, Shelly did albums with Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan (with Michele LeGrand), and a Mancini album for Victor. By the fall, arrangements were made for a trip to Brazil. "I have the pleasure of informing you that under the Honorary Presidency, the President of the Republic of Brazil, and His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Relations, and under the auspices of the Secretariat of Tourism, the VI INTERNATIONAL SONG FESTIVAL will be held in the city of Rio de Janeiro from September 23 to October 4, 1971 where there will be approximately 40 countries participating in the contest," wrote the Consulate General of Brazil. "On behalf of Dr. Augusto J. Marzagao, the Festival's Director, who will be personally greeting you in Rio de Janeiro and looking after your welfare, I have the pleasure of inviting you to attend the festival as a guest of honor." Flip remembers the whole trip was very strange. "The political thing was a little frightening down there at that time and we weren't sure about going. Shelly called Jane Fonda to ask about the scene there, and we finally decided to go." An L.A. booker put the thing together, with Shelly supposed to play behind a singer by the name of Chi Coltrane. Nobody knew who she was, but Shelly assumed she was somehow connected to the now deceased tenor sax legend.

After a series of conflicts, airline ticket mix-ups and the likes, the Mannes finally reached Rio. Shelly rehearsed with the singer who turned out to be a white vocalist who had no connection with John Coltrane or real jazz for that matter. "Shelly was supposed to do a radio show with her, but they had Shelly standing, waiting outside in a hallway," recalls Flip. "A guy came out, did a couple of doubletakes and asked why Shelly Manne was kept waiting in the hall. The other people asked who he was, and the guy said 'Are you kidding?"' From then on Shelly was treated like royalty. In fact, they had him open the festival, sitting high on the stage in a white suit, a spot light on him as the curtain opened on the huge stage. "The crowd noise was incredible," remembers Flip. The Mannes stayed for a week or so, and visited with many of the Brazilian musicians. The drummers of Brazil, like Cuba, are among the best in the world. One day Shelly went out of the hotel and came upon a drummer who had been waiting for him, and who cried out, "I never thought I would get to meet you." It was on this trip that Shelly became fascinated with the berimbau, a Brazilian instrument that resembles an archer's bow and is struck or plucked or bowed, usually while the player holds a small shaker.

Throughout the United States, the Vietnam war protests continued. President Nixon had vowed to get the troops home and everyone was getting impatient. The country had experienced the Chicago riots of the '68 Democratic Convention, forever changing the mood of the country, and now in 1971, was beginning to experience "Nehru" suits, long hair with sideburns, and Three Dog Night singing "Joy to the World." Russ Freeman was going full tilt with Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In." Even Nixon had made a cameo appearance, saying "Sock it to me!" Kids across the country were saying "You bet your bippy," and "Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's." Mod Squad, Flip Wilson’s show, The Brady Bunch, The Odd Couple, were hits, and Shelly was busy playing drums on such shows as McMillan & Wife, McCloud, and Columbo, all part of the NBC Mystery Movie series. He was also doing Banacek, Cool Million, and Madigan. Shelly and Flip and the band went to France and England with George Wein's concert tour.

At the Manne-Hole, Roland Kirk was into breaking chairs on the bandstand as part of his act. Shelly could only stand so many chairs being broken and commented that there was nothing in the contract that said he had to refurbish the club as part of the agreement. More and more of the bands coming to the club were electronic. Shelly was in the midst of it all with his "electric" band playing in his favorite place, his own club. He often called the decor "Mid-20th Century funk." Outside the club it was getting kind of funky too. Mike Wofford was watching the street change. "You always knew this area was eccentric, now it's just sick." Shelly's lawyer, noticing the abundance of transvestites on the street, commented "the best-looking girls are guys!"

Shelly never missed a Los Angeles Kings hockey game. He was a season ticket-holder and, if he was in town, simply didn't take any playing assignment when they were playing. By now he and Vic Feldman suited-up and worked out with the UCLA hockey team. "Shelly was elated when L.A. got a hockey team," recalls Flip. "He had loved hockey as a kid - played roller skate street-hockey and rooted for the New York Americans." The Mannes celebrated their wedding anniversary with Bob and Judy Bain. Bob was now playing guitar with the Tonight Show Orchestra. Another guitar player that worked with Shelly in the studios was Tommy Tedesco. Their studio banter often consisted of putting each other on. Tommy would say, "Oh, you're the famous Shelly Manne, the big-time studio player." One time they were coming off an elevator together and a huge wrestler came up and said, "Didn't you used to be Shelly Manne?"

Shelly's humor is always at the forefront of his friend's recollections. Tedesco was working on a picture call with J.J. Johnson directing, Ironsides, or "something like that," and the story centers around a musical instrument called an “ud" (pronounced ood). "They wanted me to play ud, I don't play ud, but I do everything in my power to get away with anything. So I brought the ud, but I didn't play it, I just sat it there so they would see it there. I had a nylon string guitar next to me that I tuned down a fourth, then whenever the music came up, I'd play on the nylon. Shelly was behind me and says, 'Tom, what'ya doin?' I'd say, 'Shelly, cool it.' And he'd say, 'Is that the ud?' And I'd say 'sh, sh, sh!' Forever after that, every time Shelly saw me he'd say, 'How's the ud comin', how's the ud comin', how's the ud comin'!"'

The new group was keeping Shelly on the cutting edge of modern jazz. His young band was keeping him young. "I'm too interested in music, too involved with my band and too excited by what these young musicians are playing to allow myself to get dated or old-fashioned." The veteran drummer was now beginning to quite naturally assume the role of "elder jazz statesman" even though his music was as modern as anyone in jazz. The band went into the studios in 1972 and did their Mannekind album on the Mainstream label. The opening statement called "Birth," played on a talking drum, would fit well into a movie scene depicting a primal birth, followed by "Scavanger," a rhythmic excursion into a mixture of Latin/Rock/Jazz that soon melts into "Seance." The sextet is joined by percussionist Brian Moffat, who plays a list of whistles, sirens, shakers, sheets of tin, that would rival anything in Emil Richards' percussion closet. Shelly, in addition to the basic drum set (by now a Camco cum Drum Workshop), uses the berimbau, the waterphone, the Cuica, Super Balls on cymbal, and the Dahka de Bellos. Some of the tunes are bossa nova-tinged, but always with a funky kind of overlay. The front line at times takes on a more traditional bop voicing, but not for long. The predominate feature of the band is the excitement of Shelly's drumming. The band easily moves in and out of time signatures and while older fans were surprised at Shelly playing “headache” jazz (too intellectual, too electric), there can be no question of the musical contribution this band made in its brief existence.

In May, Don Specht and his wife joined the Mannes for a wonderful trip to Europe for the Cannes Film Festival showing of The Trial of The Catonsville Nine for which Shelly had composed the music. This film was produced by Gregory Peck. On a side trip to Vienna, rding in the car with the Spechts, Shelly saw a beautiful castle and spontaneously yelled, “strike that set!.”

Back in the U.S.A. Artie Kane used Shelly and Ray Brown on two organ albums for RCA. Shelly did movie tracks that included Escape From The Planet of The ApesDoctor’s Wives, and Le Mans. The studio scene was still very good for the now fifty-one-year-old drummer, but down on Cahuenga there was trouble brewing at the Manne-Hole. Above the club was Wally Heider's recording studio that specialized in recording rock groups. Heider was a huge big band fan and had recorded some wonderful location albums including Sinatra and Basie At The Sands. Above the Manne-Hole the studio "recording" red light was never off. Nearly 24 hours a day, they cranked out record after record. By now, Heider had built the reputation as the number one engineer in the rock field and had purchased the building. He and Shelly and Rudy had a "gentlemen's agreement" about the club renewing its lease. "There were steel supports in the building that ran from the club right up to Heider's studio and his new echo chamber directly above the bandstand," recalls Rudy.

Eventually Heider sold to Filmways who also bought the building. One night the Birds were recording and one of the guys came down to the club and said, "We can hear you almost to Sunset Boulevard! " Something had to give. The club tried to book only accoustic bands, but there were hardly any left. Even Les McCann had gone over to Fender Rhodes. Monk played the club in February, bringing his son to play drums; Bill Evans followed, but there continued to be hassles. It was impossible, at least impractical, to try and soundproof the room and anyway the neighborhood was really deteriorating.

"The club simply lost its lease," explained Shelly to his fans. The last ad in the paper read, "We're closing tonight. Fall by and help us bid farewell." It was September 3, 1972 and the closing act was the Milt Jackson-Ray Brown Quintet. It had been 12 years for the bearded manager and the jazz drummer owner. Shelly was already talking about finding a new location, but he was tired. He had poured dollar after dollar into the club, never making any money, always losing a little bit in the end. One year they actually netted just under $2,000. Other years were not as good. Flip comments - "People who came only when somebody like Miles was there and there was a line outside waiting to get in, thought the place was a gold-mine. These groups paid for all the times without the big names. Everyone but me remembers the club with great affection. I remember one Saturday night when a big name was there, and an old friend, an arranger, who never came near the place ordinarily, called and wanted to make a reservation for a large party The policy was not to take reservations because it was such a hassle with people waiting to get in. But because he was a friend, they kept a table and he was late. The table sat empty and then he had to be let in past all the people waiting. At the end of the night he had a fit because there was a cover charge on the bill. He thought he shouldn't have to pay it because he was a friend of Shelly's." So went the problems of operating a club, and so went the club, at least for awhile.

Rudy would look upon the experience as one of learning. Learning about jazz and musicians and fans. "I'm glad I experienced Joe Maini, but he didn't follow the rules, He was anti-establishment, Peck's bad boy" While playing Russian Roulette, Maini had shot himself in the head. It was Shelly who was called. "One early morning when Shelly had only been in bed a couple of hours, the service called," remembers Flip. "In those days, the girls on the phone service knew everyone and were like friends. I answered the phone and said Shelly was sleeping but they said it was important." It was about Joe, whom they had taken to the emergency hospital. "Shelly went down immediately and sat with Joe all day. He called a doctor to find out about operating to remove the bullet or moving him. The situation was hopeless. Shelly came home very depressed. He said, 'Joe was all alone. just lying there with that little hole in his head."' Rudy would recall Richie Kamuca as a marvelous player who was very embittered, Monty as loving life - a lot of fun and a nice guy, Berghofer as quiet and reserved and a good player. He had seen marvelous musicians in the groups Shelly led: Candoli, Freeman, Kennedy, Mariano, Strozier, Holman, Gordon, Williamson, Wofford. and many others. He had witnessed Monk, Miles. Diz. They had even hung a banner that said "Diz for President" and held ceremonies for the cause. Learning that the Lighthouse was available but not wanting to relocate all the way down there, Shelly gave the club's license to Rudy, who took it to Hermosa Beach.

Shelly busied himself with the challenge of writing the music for the Center Theater Group's presentation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I. The production ran from October 26th through December 10th at the Mark Taper Forum. Victor Buono played Falstaff and Richard Chamberlain did the voice of King Richard The Second as Shelly moved and mixed the music of the Renaissance, the Elizabethan, and the 20th Century eras. Film projects that used Shelly's drumming included The Cowboys, The Candidate, Portnoy’s Complaint, and Lady Sings The Blues. A party for Stan Kenton was recorded with Med Flory Shelly, "Sweets" Edison, Frank Rosolino, and Mort Sahl participating in various routines and stories about the road. Though the club was closed and jazz recording sessions were infrequent, Shelly maintained a busy schedule with jazz concerts, lectures, film work and occasional club dates with groups of all sizes. He was still I working with the sextet, but that was about to end. just the physical aspect of hauling around all that equipment was getting old. Soon the truck was sold and Shelly returned to acoustic jazz. Mancini called him to do Oklahoma Crude and Hangin' Out, two albums for RCA: he did The Kings Mill Suite for Specht, and did a two-album -ragtime" thing for the Southland Stingers.

In late 1972 a fund raiser had been held for the "McGovern for President" campaign at a restaurant called Tetou's in Century City, one of a chain of three posh eateries in the Los Angeles area. After hearing the music of Shelly, the owners had commented, "Gee that was great, we'd like to have music in the place more often.” By 1973 a new Tetou's had opened on Wilshire Boulevard and Shelly struck a verbal arrangement with the owners whereby the restaurant would turn its premises into a new "Manne-Hole" in the evening hours. Shelly turned to long-time friend and, by then, ex-wife of Larry Bunker, Lee Wilder. "Shelly called me one day and said, 'I'm reopening the club and I'd like you to manage it for me."' Wilder was quite taken aback and said, "Gee that's very flattering Shelly, but I don't really know how to do that!" Shelly said, "I need somebody that I can trust, and you'll learn." "I was just flattered as hell and told him 'Let's give it a try' He was right, within a few weeks 1 felt like I had been doing it all my life." The room was very posh, Tetou's during the day, the Manne-Hole at night. Opening night October 12, 1973, starred Carmen McCrae and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, a double-bill. Mayor Bradley was there to give Shelly a proclamation, along with many of the city councilmen. The club got great press right from the beginning. Camera crews from ABC and NBC were there to record the event. Telegrams from all over the world arrived to wish the drummer well. Wires from Pat Williams, Vic and Marilyn Feldman, drummer Les DeMerle, Millie and Stan Manne, Toshiko and Lew Tabakin, and one from the "D & M Booking Agency". This telegram jokingly offered the new club the following message. HAVE BOOK FABULOUS ACT FOR MANNEHOLE WELSH MINER WHO PLAYS BIRD SOLOS ON COAL SHOVEL WIFE PLAYS BONGOS WITH TWO PIECES OF ANTHRACITE NOW OFF TO BULGARIA TO BOOK TEAM OF SLAB LOG ROLLERS WHO TAP DANCE FLYING DOWN TO RIO WHILE STANDING ON FORTY FOOT PINE TREES GREAT SUCCESS ON YOUR OPENING NIGHT DO YOU NEED AN ETHIOPIAN BLUES SINGER AVAILABLE FOR SHORT MONEY.

The business arrangement was that the jazz operation got the door receipts and a percentage of the bar. Lee had nothing to do with the food operations or waitresses or bartenders. Carmen McCrae was kept for the next week's bill; then i came Jackie & Roy, the Bill Evans Trio, and the Roger Kellaway Cello Quartet to round out the November billing. Only national acts were now being booked by Shelly, who stated that he would not be playing at the club regularly, but thought he might appear with Michel Legrand who would appear with a trio in December. Shelly ended up sitting in with Legrand, who used Joe Pass and Ray Brown, rather than officially working the club. "He never really played (worked) in the new club," recalls Wilder. Shelly said, "All I'm interested in is to have a place where I can hear good music, give the musicians work under good conditions, and realize a small salary for myself that will free me to devote more time to my own band." Comedian Redd Foxx came down to the club to work with Lalo Schifrin, working four nights for nothing just to be a part of the scene.

Shelly and Louie Bellson and Willie Bobo and Paul Humphreys did a drum feature for the Phillips label. On piano was Mike Wofford - on bass, a new player that Shelly would see a lot of over the next ten years, Chuck Domanico. Over at Donte's they gave a benefit for Jack Marshall, guitarist and long-time friend of Shelly's who had died of a heart attack. Shelly played drums behind all the guitar players who came to celebrate the life of their friend. In the Manne-Hole there were money problems. Though the club's name was world-famous and musicians and fans visiting L.A. put a visit to Shelly's as a must on their list, the new club's life would be brief. There was not a responsible accounting for the money, everything was rather loose within the restaurant accounting department and Shelly was getting frustrated. Lee Wilder had been most helpful, the club's business was good in spite of the ongoing "energy crisis," but accurate statements from Tetou's were not forthcoming. Not only that, but Shelly wasn't sure the place was going to stay in business; they wouldn't commit to him more than one month at a time. Stan Getz was booked and Shelly had to go out of town, worried that Lee Wilder wouldn't be able to handle the temperamental jazz star. (Zoot Sims, when asked about Stan Getz, once commented – “Yeah, he’s a nice bunch of guys). “I’d always wonder about me,” comments Wilder, “because I’m one of the few people who could get along with Stan beautifully.”

Shelly left town and Wilder was left to handle the club … and Getz. "He was fine," recalls Wilder, "but there I was one night where he didn't want to play the last set and there being quite a few people in the in place and so on, and these people had just come in, driving down from somewhere. Getz said: 'I'm not making enough money to play the last set.' So I just played on his ego and said 'Stan, these people are such fans of yours and they've driven in all the way down from Alaska to see you. At least could play a short set, they love you so much' - he played a full set." It would be the last act to play the Manne-Hole.

Shelly suddenly terminated the "agreement" and pulled his sound system, piano, and other equipment out of the club. The years of hassling over money, trying to keep jazz healthy and heard, years of providing a place for musicians to work, were over. "It got so I couldn't afford to play in my own club. I was too busy trying to pay the bills." Lee Wilder says it best: "Shelly just wasn't having any fun." In spite of the thousands of good memories, he was closing the story of Shelly's Manne-Hole, one of the most famous jazz clubs that ever existed. He'd had enough.


  1. I don't remember the exact date but I do remember the unforgettable experience of being at Shelly's Mann-Hole with my girlfriend at the time, Christine, and we got to see Shelly, Joe Pass, Michel Legrand and Ray brown do a set and they were sooo incredible! I'll always be grateful to the powers that be for that night! And Thank you, Shelly, for that beautiful jazz club!

  2. Hi.. I worked with Rudy for two years in the beginning at the Manne-Hole while attending the Art Center School.. We become fast friend and shared contact for many years..Saddened to hear of his passing in 2017. Please look at my blog re: the Manne-Hole and Rudy with several pics including some menus from the club..BTW Great article..please contact me for

  3. please contact me for extras re: the Manne-Hole and Rudy and the club.

  4. I was at Shelly Manne Hole around 1962 2 drinks for $2 was the cover.
    About 30 mins later Ella Fitzgerald came in and sang 2 songs
    The show floor was elevated about 2 feet so they had to help get on the stage. I wish I recalled the name of the songs, but I was so please with the treat at seeing her when I was 21 or 22 that it skipped my memory bank.
    Dennis C.


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