Ed Shaughnessy

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Ed Shaughnessy
Shaughnessy in an advertisement
Shaughnessy in an advertisement
Background information
Birth nameEdwin Thomas Shaughnessy
Born(1929-01-29)January 29, 1929
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedMay 24, 2013(2013-05-24) (aged 84)
Calabasas, California
GenresSwing, bebop, jazz, big band
Years active1940s–2011
(m. 1963; died 2010)

Edwin Thomas "Ed" Shaughnessy (January 29, 1929 – May 24, 2013) was a swing music and jazz drummer long associated with Doc Severinsen and a member of The Tonight Show Band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.


Shaughnessy was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and grew up in the New York City area, working in the 1940s with George Shearing, Jack Teagarden, and Charlie Ventura. In the 1950s he worked in the Charlie Ventura, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey bands. In the 1960s he played for Count Basie prior to joining The Tonight Show Band. He was the drummer on Bashin': The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith in 1962 which featured big band arrangements by Oliver Nelson, including the pop hit "Walk on the Wild Side" which peaked at #21 on the Billboard chart. Shaughnessy recorded extensively throughout his career and was known for his drum competitions with Buddy Rich.[1]

Although best known as a big band drummer, Shaughnessy also performed 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 1970s he was doing similar work in Los Angeles and is credited with discovering Diane Schuur, whom he introduced at the 1976 Monterey Jazz Festival. Shaughnessy played in an early incarnation of the "Sesame Street" orchestra along with percussionist Danny Epstein, reed player Wally Kane, and, on occasion, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.

He was an endorser of Ludwig drums, Sabian cymbals and Pro-Mark drumsticks.

Shaughnessy was married to Ilene Woods, the original voice of Cinderella, who died in 2010. He died of a heart attack in Calabasas, California at the age of 84. He was cremated.[2] He was survived by his son Daniel, his stepdaughter Stephanie and grandchildren. His other son James preceded him in death from a car accident in 1984.[3][4]


As sideman[edit]

With Trigger Alpert

With Gene Ammons

With George Barnes

With Count Basie

With George Benson

With Stephen Bishop

With Bob Brookmeyer

With Gary Burton

With Teddy Charles

With Jimmy Forrest

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Honi Gordon

With Johnny Hodges

With Etta Jones

With Quincy Jones

With Hubert Laws

With Peggy Lee

With Mundell Lowe

With Kathy McCord

With Helen Merrill

  • American Country Songs (Atco, 1959)

With Maria Muldaur

With Oliver Nelson

With Joe Newman

With Lalo Schifrin

With Shirley Scott

With Ed Summerlin

With Clark Terry

With Cal Tjader

With Chuck Wayne


  1. ^ Keepnews, Peter (26 May 2013). "Ed Shaughnessy, 'Tonight' Drummer, Is Dead at 84". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Heckman, Don (25 May 2013). "Ed Shaughnessy dies at 84; renowned jazz drummer". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (25 May 2013). "Ed Shaughnessy, Longtime 'Tonight Show' Drummer, Dead at 84". JazzTimes. Madavor Media. ISSN 0272-572X.

External links[edit]