Shelly Manne at the Black Hawk - JazzWax

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February 13, 2009


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Brian Sheridan

Wow...what a crazy coincidence. I had been listening to Manne's Peter Gunn stuff and wanted more. On Emusic, they have all 5 of the Blackhawk albums and I have been going back and forth on which ones to download for this month's selections. The service also provides most of the other Manne and his Men releases.

Bill Forbes

I'm pleased to report that these great albums are not "largely forgotten and vastly under-appreciated", at least not with members of the Organissimo jazz discussion forum! They get frequent mentions which are always very positive. For me, the greatest highlights are Victor Feldman's piano solos. I'm not normally given to national pride, but I regard Victor as one of Britain's greatest exports!
I read somewhere that Cannonball, before hiring him, played Victor's Blackhawk piano work to the members of his quintet, before asking if they could play with him. Only after receiving a very definite "yes" did he reveal the pianist's identity and unexpected background! I saw Victor play once - on vibes at Ronnie Scott's Club during a return home for Christmas - in 1959 IIRC. Deservedly, he was treated like a returning hero!

Alan Hamer

Perhaps the greatest drummer in my book, so versatile and his timing is unbeatable (forgive the pun!); I was lucky enough to meet him in LA at his club - the Manne Hole - back in 1966 (I was a drummer here in London in those days), what a fantastic guy he turned out to be, and promptly invited me along to a couple of other sessions he was on that week, including the Hawaiian album made by another God of mine, then and now, Hank Mancini. I have a lot of good memories from that time, my first trip to the west coast (I was just 19 at the time!)

Paul Tatara

Manne is close to being my favorite jazz drummer of all time. So different from other masters like Elvin Jones or Billy Higgins, but graceful and swinging, and full of good humor. These recordings are straight-up classics, and are my go-to records for turning people on to jazz.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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