Joe Morello, (July 17, 1928 – March 12, 2011), jazz drummer, teacher.

Joe Morello was one of the most influential jazz drummers in history. He was born with a serious visual problem, so he took up the violin at the age of six and was already soloing on the Mendelssohn Concerto with the Boston Symphony three years later. After meeting and hearing Jascha Heifetz, he realized he would never achieve that level of performance and switched to drums, where he often jammed with other young locals in the Boston area, including Phil Woods and Sal Salvador.

After a brief tenure with Marian McPartland, Morello turned down offers from Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, in order to join the Dave Brubeck Quartet, where he was a member of the group for 12 years. He is best remembered for his playing on the classic album, Time Out, which included the famous standard “Take Five”, to which he contributed a classic drum solo in 5/4 time.

After leaving Brubeck, Joe Morello continued to perform and became an outstanding teacher. His students include Danny Gottlieb (from the original Pat Metheny Group and later the reformed Mahavishnu Orchestra) and Max Weinberg (from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and leader of the band on Conan O’Brien’s late night TV show). Morello recorded over 120 albums, half of which were with the Brubeck Quartet. He received many honors and awards, including being named “Best Drummer” in Downbeat Magazine for five years in a row. He died at his home in New Jersey at the age of 82.

“The secret to failure is to try to please everyone –the secret to success is you’re too darn dumb to quit!”

Visit the official Joe Morello Website: