Personnel: Shelly Manne (drums); Shelly Manne; Chuck Berghofer, Curtis Counce, Joe Mondragon, Leroy Vinnegar, Monty Budwig, Red Mitchell (double bass); Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet, baritone saxophone); Herb Geller, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Charlie Mariano (alto saxophone); Richie Kamuca, Bob Cooper (tenor saxophone); Conte Candoli, Don Fagerquist, Joe Gordon, Shorty Rogers, Stu Williamson (trumpet); Bob Enevoldsen (valve trombone); Paul Sarmento (tuba); Victor Feldman (piano, marimba); Marty Paich, Andr‚ Previn , Russ Freeman (piano).
Audio Remasterer: Kirk Felton.
Liner Note Author: Mark Keresman.
Recording information: Black Hawk, San Francisco, CA (04/06/1953-10/24/1961); Contemporary's Studio, Los Angeles, CA (04/06/1953-10/24/1961); Hollywood, CA (04/06/1953-10/24/1961); Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA (04/06/1953-10/24/1961); Shelly's Manne-Hole, Hollywood, CA (04/06/1953-10/24/1961).
Photographer: Roger Marshutz.
Arranger: Henry Mancini.
This compilation samples 11 of drummer Shelly Manne's albums recorded for Contemporary between 1953 and 1961 while utilizing a wide range of musicians. The free jazz opener "Flip" (no doubt dedicated to his wife by her nickname) is an intriguing trio with Shorty Rogers on muted trumpet and clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre. The low-key trio interpretation of Oscar Pettiford's "Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas" (also known as "Blues in the Closet") features Leroy Vinnegar's walking bass and Andr‚ Previn's surprising piano backed by the leader's subtle brushwork. John Williams wrote the breezy "Checkmate" as the theme to an early-'60s television series, with trumpeter Conte Candoli and tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca shining in the solo spotlight and a driving rhythm section anchored by Manne with pianist Russ Freeman and bassist Chuck Berghofer. Henry Mancini wrote a special arrangement of "Peter Gunn" for Manne's group, with Candoli, alto saxophonist Herb Geller and Victor Feldman on marimba. Manne's unusual drum-piano duet with Freeman of the pianist's "The Sound Effects Manne" features the drummer's best work in this collection; it also foreshadows their later duo album One on One. This compilation is a great starting point to examine Shelly Manne's rewarding Contemporary recordings and will doubtless inspire serious collectors to pick up the original releases. ~ Ken Dryden