Shelly Manne

Shelly Manne was the most extraordinary human being I have ever known. He was also the most important person and biggest influence in my life. From 1957 to 1984, I watched him perform countless times---to this day, I have no idea how many times I've seen him. Shelly Manne never gave a bad performance. He was a very sweet, loving, caring person, and he always found the time to hang out and converse with me. You couldn't ask for a better role model. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. Of all the Jazz Drummers, Shelly Manne was the most melodic, and the best drummer at playing ballads. He had perfect time and at the same time, he could swing you into good health. Right up to the time of his death on September 26, 1984, his playing got better and better. He once told me that whenever he played the drums, he was always 19 years old. Shelly Manne was one of the world's great pioneering jazz drummers. In the 27 years that I knew him--he never changed--a marvelous human being with a terrific sense of humor, and a rare individualist who could eloquently communicate his love of jazz, and the musicians who create it. In his outlook on life, and in his approach to creativity and the art of drumming, he remained the essence of youth personified.

Shelly kept the following quotation by Henry Miller on his desk: "Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. Life is now, every moment, no matter if the world be full of death."