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Joe Morello

Joe Morello

born on 17/7/1928 in Springfield, MA, United States

died on 12/3/2011 in Irvington, NJ, United States

Joe Morello

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Joseph Albert Morello (July 17, 1928 – March 12, 2011) was an American jazz drummer best known for his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. He was particularly noted for playing in the unusual time signatures employed by that group in such pieces as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo à la Turk". Popular for its work on college campuses during the 1950s, Brubeck's group reached new heights with Morello. In June 1959, Morello participated in a recording session with the quartet—completed by the alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and the bassist Eugene Wright—that yielded "Kathy's Waltz" and "Three to Get Ready", both of which intermingled 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures.[1]


Morello suffered from partial vision from birth,[2] and devoted himself to indoor activities. At six years old, he began studying the violin. Three years later, he was a featured soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and again three years later.

At the age of 15, Morello met the violinist Jascha Heifetz and decided that he would never be able to equal Heifetz's "sound". Therefore, he switched to drumming, first studying with a show drummer named Joe Sefcik and then George Lawrence Stone, author of the noted drum textbook Stick Control for the Snare Drummer. Stone was so impressed with Morello's ideas that he incorporated them into his next book, Accents & Rebounds, which is dedicated to Morello. Later, Morello studied with Radio City Music Hall percussionist Billy Gladstone.

After moving to New York City, Morello worked with numerous notable jazz musicians including Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Stan Kenton, Phil Woods, Sal Salvador, Marian McPartland, Jay McShann, Art Pepper, and Howard McGhee. After a period of playing in McPartland's trio, Morello declined invitations to join both Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey's bands, favoring a temporary two-month tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1955. Morello remained with Brubeck for well over a decade, departing in 1968. Morello later became an in-demand clinician, teacher and bandleader whose former students include Danny Gottlieb, TigerBill Meligari, Bruce Springsteen E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, Rich Galichon, Phish drummer Jon Fishman, Gary Feldman, Patrick Wante, Tony Woo, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons drummer Gerry Polci, Jerry Granelli, RIOT drummer Sandy Slavin, retired Army Blues drummer Steve Fidyk, Glenn Johnson, Pittsburgh drummer Bennett Carlise, Level System author and professional drummer Jeff W. Johnson,[3] and Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres.

Morello appeared in many Brubeck performances and contributed to over 60 albums with Brubeck. On "Take Five", he plays an imaginative drum solo maintaining the 5/4 time signature throughout. Another example of soloing in odd time signatures can be heard on "Unsquare Dance", in which he solos using only sticks without drums in 7/4 time. At the end of the track, he can be heard laughing about the "trick" ending. He also features on "Blue Rondo à la Turk", "Strange Meadow Lark", "Pick-Up Sticks" and "Castilian Drums".

During his career, Morello appeared on over 120 albums. He authored several drum books, including Master Studies, published by Modern Drummer Publications, and also made instructional videos. Morello was the recipient of many awards, including Playboy magazine's best drummer award for seven years in a row, and Down Beat magazine's best drummer award five years in a row. He was elected to the Modern Drummer magazine Hall of Fame in 1988, the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993, and was the recipient of Hudson Music's first TIP (Teacher Integration Program) Lifetime Achievement award in June, 2010.[4] [1][5]

Morello died at his home in Irvington, New Jersey, on March 12, 2011, aged 82, and is interred at Saint Michael Cemetery.[6]

Upon his death, Morello's wife gave control of Joe Morello's memorabilia and collections to Marvin Burock, one of Joe's students who had toured extensively with Morello and who was tasked with transcribing Morello's Modern Drummer articles for ten years, .[7][8][9]


As leader/co-leader

  • Collections (Intro, 1957) with Red Norvo, Art Pepper and Gerry Wiggins
  • It's About Time (RCA, 1962)
  • Another Step Forward (Ovation, 1969)
  • Joe Morello (Bluebird, 1989)
  • Going Places (DMP, 1993)
  • Morello Standard Time (DMP, 1994)

As sideman

With Dave Brubeck

  • 1957 Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A.
  • 1957 Dave Digs Disney
  • 1957 Reunion
  • 1958 Jazz Goes to Junior College
  • 1958 Jazz Impressions of Eurasia
  • 1958 Newport 1958
  • 1958 The Dave Brubeck Quartet in Europe
  • 1959 Gone with the Wind
  • 1959 The Riddle
  • 1959 Time Out
  • 1960 Brubeck and Rushing
  • 1960 Brubeck à la mode
  • 1961 Take Five Live
  • 1961 Time Further Out
  • 1961 Tonight Only!
  • 1962 Countdown—Time in Outer Space
  • 1962 Music from West Side Story
  • 1962 The Real Ambassadors
  • 1963 Bossa Nova U.S.A.
  • 1963 Brandenburg Gate: Revisited
  • 1963 Dave Brubeck Quartet in Amsterdam
  • 1961 Near-Myth
  • 1963 At Carnegie Hall
  • 1964 Dave Brubeck in Berlin
  • 1964 Jazz Impressions of Japan
  • 1964 Time Changes
  • 1965 Angel Eyes
  • 1965 Jazz Impressions of New York
  • 1965 The Canadian Concert of Dave Brubeck
  • 1966 My Favorite Things
  • 1966 Time In
  • 1966 Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter
  • 1967 Bravo! Brubeck!
  • 1967 Right Now!
  • 1967 The Last Time We Saw Paris
  • 1968 Jackpot!
  • 1971 Summit Sessions
  • 1972 Adventures in Time
  • 1973 On Campus
  • 1976 25th Anniversary Reunion
  • 1988 The Great Concerts: Amsterdam Copenhagen Carnegie Hall
  • 1991 Live (1956–1957)
  • 1992 Live (1954 and 1959)
  • 1993 Someday My Prince Will Come
  • 1993 St. Louis Blues

With Gary Burton

  • 1961 New Vibe Man in Town
  • 1962 Who Is Gary Burton?

With Tal Farlow

  • 1954 Tal Farlow Quartet
  • 1955 The Tal Farlow Album

With Marian McPartland

  • 1952 Lullaby of Birdland
  • 1955 Marian McPartland in Concert
  • 1955 Live At the Hickory House
  • 1956 After Dark
  • 1957 The Marian McPartland Trio
  • 2002 Live at Shanghai Jazz
  • 2003 All My Life

With Gil Mellé

  • Gil Mellé Quintet/Sextet (Blue Note, 1953)
  • Gil Mellé Quintet with Urbie Green and Tal Farlow (Blue Note, 1953)

With Sal Salvador

  • 1956 Shades of Sal Salvador
  • Juicy Lucy (Bee Hive, 1978)

With Chuck Wayne

  • The Jazz Guitarist (Savoy, 1953 [1956])

With others


  • Joe Morello – Drum Method 1: The Natural approach to Technique (DVD) Hot Licks 2006
  • Joe Morello – Drum Method 2: Around the Kit (DVD) Hot Licks 2006
  • Joe Morello, Danny Gottlieb: Natural Drumming Lessons 1&2 (DVD) Mel Bay Publications, Inc. 2005
  • Joe Morello, Danny Gottlieb: Natural Drumming Lessons 3&4 (DVD) Mel Bay Publications, Inc. 2006
  • Joe Morello, Danny Gottlieb: Natural Drumming Lessons 5&6 (DVD) Mel Bay Publications, Inc. 2006
  • The Art of Playing with Brushes (DVD) Hudson Music LLC 2007


  • New Directions in Rhythm: Studies in 3/4 and 5/4 Time 1963
  • Off the Record: A Collection of Famous Drum Solos 1966
  • Rudimental Jazz: A Modern Application of Rudiments to the Drum Outfit 1967
  • Master Studies: Exercises for the Development of Control and Technique Modern Drummer Publications, Inc. 1983
  • Master Studies II: More Exercises for the Development of Control and Technique Modern Drummer Publications, Inc. 2006
  • Rudimental Jazz: A Musical Application of Rudiments to the Drumset including CD, Modern Drummer Publications, Classics Series 2010


  1. ^ a b Smith, Steve (March 13, 2011). "Joe Morello, Drummer with Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dies at 82". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Joe Morello". The Daily Telegraph. London. March 13, 2011.
This page was last modified 11.10.2020 21:35:13

This article uses material from the article Joe Morello from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.