Shelly Manne came from a musical family. His father and uncles all were drummers. He began working in nightclubs when he was just a teenager but he rose to prominence when he began working for Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. He moved to California in the 50s and became a central figure in the West Coast jazz movement. When jazz popularity began to wane, Shelly switched his career focus to television and film work. He collaborated with Henry Mancini on a number of films including “Pink Panther” and “Breakfast At Tiffanys.” Here is Shelly Manne and His Men performing “Straight, No Chaser” (Thelonius Monk 1951).
I never really thought about just how much jazz was woven into the soundtrack of my youth that I never even noticed! Case in point, Shelly Manne worked on the very mediocre cartoon “The Ant And The Aardvark.” I watched the show religiously when I was a kid but I was so busy laughing at the mindless violence and the inexplicable ethnic/regional stereotypes that I never even noticed the great soundtrack in the background. I’m a John Byner fan but all I could think as I was watching the cartoon today was “man if he’d just pipe down this show might actually be entertaining!”