Jazz drummer Joe Morello dies aged 82

LONDON Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:57am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Celebrated jazz drummer Joe Morello, best known for his work with The Dave Brubeck Quartet during the 1950s and 60s, has died. He was 82.

His passing on Saturday was announced on his website joemorello.net, and the New York Times said he died at his U.S. home in Irvington, New Jersey. No cause of death was given.

"His impact on the world of music and on all those whose lives he touched will live forever," read a message on his site.

According to his online biography, Morello, who had impaired vision from birth, began his musical life learning the violin but, upon hearing his idol Jascha Heifetz play, decided he would never meet his standards and switched to drums.

He played everything from weddings to military marches before eventually taking up with The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1955, initially for a two-month tour.

That turned into a collaboration lasting more than 12 years, during which Morello proved his ability to handle the difficult meters favored by Brubeck.

Those included "Take Five," a composition in 5/4 which became one of the most successful singles in jazz music, according to the New York Times.

The piece, alongside tracks including "Kathy's Waltz" and "Strange Meadow Lark," featured on Brubeck's most famous album "Time Out" released in 1959.

After the quartet broke up in 1967, Morello taught drums, lectured and made solo appearances. In his later years, he also performed with his own band in the New York area.

Morello appeared on more than 120 albums and CDs, around half of which were with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

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Comments (2)
waydeg wrote:
Joe played with my college jazz band a number of times. His playing raised the level of our band through the roof. He was a great all around entertainer in addition to an incomparable drummer. I loved is Rodney Dangerfield impression! One of the greatest drummers and a wonderful giving person.

Mar 14, 2011 1:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
osfania wrote:
And another thing – the quartet didn’t break up as you wrote – Morello left, but Brubeck kept it going with Alan Dawson on drums. Reuters should get someone who knows something about music to write these articles.

Mar 14, 2011 2:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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