Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Diane Schuur Remembers Ed Shaughnessy

1.29.29 – 5.24.13

Ed Shaughnessy
Ed Shaughnessy, photo courtesy of Promark

I first met Ed in my hometown of Seattle. My twin brother took me to the Opera House to see Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band and, of course, Ed was on drums. He played with that band for nearly three decades, both in New York and then, when the show moved west, in L.A. Later I found out that he’d also played with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, George Shearing and so many other big names. After the show at the Opera House, I got the chance to sit at the piano and play and sing for Doc and Ed. They seemed somewhat impressed.

So when I moved to California, I decided to audition for a spot on The Tonight Show. Even though I didn’t get the gig, it did give me the chance to reconnect with Ed. This was 1975. He told me that he was scheduled to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September and invited me to join him and his band, Energy Force. It was quite an experience, my first opportunity to perform in front of thousands and thousands of people. After that I did some gigs, covering L.A. and San Diego, with Ed’s band. That lasted for about a year. We didn’t reconnect professionally until more than three decades later, during the summer of 2009, when Ed was my drummer at the Playboy Jazz Festival. And though I failed that first audition for The Tonight Show, I went on to make 11 appearances with Johnny Carson, and Ed was always there in the band.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published