Born: January 29, 1929 | Died: May 24, 2013 Primary Instrument: Drums
Edwin T. Shaughnessy was born 29 January 1929, in Jersey City, New Jersey. A self-taught drummer, Shaughnessy came to prominence, mainly in the New York area, in the late 40s working with George Shearing, Jack Teagarden, Georgie Auld and especially Charlie Ventura.
In the 50s he became more widely known owing to engagements with bands led by Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey and he also worked with Johnny Richards. In the 60s he was with Count Basie and also worked extensively in New York studios, securing a 29 year engagement with The Tonight Show band, under Doc Severinson.
Although best known as a big band drummer, Shaughnessy’s considerable skills spilled over into small group work with Gene Ammons, Roy Eldridge, Billie Holiday, Mundell Lowe, Teo Macero, Charles Mingus, Shirley Scott, Jack Sheldon, Horace Silver and many others.
For several years Shaughnessy was a member of the house band at Birdland and other New York clubs. In the early 70s he was doing similar work in Los Angeles and is credited with discovering Diana Schuur, whom he introduced at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival.
Shaughnessy’s consummate skills have allowed him to become a sought-after teacher, an activity which he pursued through the 80s and 90s while simultaneously maintaining a busy recording and live performance schedule.
It’s only been in the past few years, when his family responsibilities have increased, that he has had to place a narrower focus on his goals. In 2009 he had knee replacement surgery at the age of 80, but remains a modern drumming legend in his own time.