Shelly Manne always stated that Dave Tough was one of his major influences. He went to hear him play all the time and eventually subbed for him on regular basis. Dave Tough had a marvelous brush technique, could push the band to its limit, and was a heavily addicted drinker. He really made the essence of quarter notes in a big band clear to me. He even wrote a drum book with exercises that were very interesting to study. Dave Tough was born April 26, 1907. He was well known for several things. His playing was subtle and versatile but he had a strong opinion about drum solos. He did not like them and almost never played them. Dave Tough was a very small man but his time feel, the power he could generate within a group is incredible.
In 1959 Shelly Manne recorded a series of live concerts at the Black Hawk Club in San Francisco. To my opinion they remain some of the greatest hardbop recordings that were made at the West Coast during that era. And they have been an inspiration for my own concerts since the day I heard them. I believe these recordings do not always get the attention they deserve and are often overlooked, just like the drummer who recorded them. But they have great historic value and I will try to explain why.