[Dixielandjazz] Brian Shanley handles a ruffian

dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com
Sat, 1 Jun 2002 18:21:16 EDT

In 1958 Brain Shanley and I joined Bob Scobey.  Brian and I worked a lot 
together in beer joints while attending  (partially) the U. of Wisconsin.  
Bob Scobey had gotten very popular in Chicago and the midwest and so he, 
Clancy, Hayes, Dave Black and Toni Lee Scott moved to Chicago and Bob worked 
out of there.  Floyd Bean from Chicago was on piano and Rich Matteson on 
helicon tuba and bass trumpet joined the band.  We played all over the 
midwest and location jobs in Chicago at the blue Note, the Red Arrow, the 
Cafe Continental and other places.  I had worked with Bob in Vegas when I got 
out of the service in 1956 and I was delighted that he was in the midwest.  

Bob Scobey had an 8 piece payroll and he booked himself.  He hired a young 
guy to travel the midwest lining up gigs.  Thanks to Fred Reynolds who had a 
very poplur radio show on WGN that carried all around the midwest Scobey and 
Clancy became quite popular.  Their classic "Ace in the Hole" was on Juke 

Brian Shanley was a very big guy...think pro football.  however he was a 
gentle, sweet soul.  Only very occasionally would something annoy him to the 
point where he would take direct action.  One night we were playing in a club 
with a good crowd in attendence.  The Rhythm sction with Dave Black's double 
bass drum set took up most of the bandstand and so the front line and Clancy 
was in front of the stand on the dance floor.  Brian was in the middle of his 
chorus on a nice medium tune.  He usually played with his eyes closed.  He 
happened to open them to see this guy lurching from the bar area and heading 
straight for him. This guy was babbling something at Shanley and the rest of 
us were watching in a kind of comatose bemusement.  When he got close, 
Brian's right arm shot out, his left hand still holding and playing his 
clarinet.  Without missing a note in his chorus, Shanley grabbed this guy by 
the throat and threw him on the floor.  This guy, enraged now, started to get 
up and as he looked up at Brian he thought better of his rage and slunk off 
to the bar.  There was a nice round of applause from the crowd.

RIP   Brian Shanley