Legendary jazz drummer and educator, Joseph A. Morello, born on July 17, 1928 in Springfield, Mass, is probably best known by the masses for his odd time signature performances on "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo à la Turk."
Joe started his love of music on the violin, but at the age of 15, began playing the drums, studying with the likes of George Lawrence Stone.
Mr. Stone gave Joe most of the tools he needed for developing technique, teaching him to read, and most importantly, made Joe realize his future was in jazz, not "legitimate" percussion. From his studies with Mr. Stone, Joe became known as the best drummer in Springfield, as well as the rudimental champion of the New England area.
Eventually moving to New York City, Joe was playing for a vast array of jazz artists and groups. He turned down offers from the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey bands, but accepted the drum chair for a two-month temporary tour with the Dave Brubeck Quartet ... which ended up becoming a twelve-and-a-half year gig. It was during this time period that Joe's technique received its finishing touches from the legendary percussionist, Billy Gladstone, of Radio City Music Hall.
When the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded in 1968, Joe spread his talents over a variety of areas including maintaining a very active private teaching studio.
Joe Morello appeared on over 120 albums and CDs, and half of those were with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Joe won numerous awards including the Downbeat magazine award for best drummer for five years in a row, the Playboy award seven years in a row, and is the only drummer to win every music poll for five years in a row, including Japan, England, Europe, Australia and South America.
Joe Morello, who died on Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at his home in New Jersey; he was 82 years old. Revered by fans and musicians alike, Joe was considered to be one of the finest, and probably one of the most celebrated, drummers in the history of jazz and drumming.