Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Time Out" Jazz Drummer Joe Morello Dies At 82

Legendary jazz drummer Joe Morello joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1956.

His virtuosity and his masterful treatment of very unusual time signatures made possible such classic recordings as "Take Five" (5/4) and "Blue Rondo a la Turk" (9/8). He has died at age 82 at his home in northern New Jersey. Family members did not release any cause of death.

Dave Brubeck said the loss of his friend "came as a complete shock to me."

"Many people consider the rhythm section of (bassist) Eugene Wright and Joe Morello in my quartet as being one of the most consistent, swinging rhythm sections in jazz," Brubeck said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. "Drummers worldwide remember Joe as one of the greatest drummers we have known."

Mr. Morello's near blindness led to some on-stage business, live schtick that kept crowds guessing and coming back in anticipation for many years. During performances of the classic "Take Five," penned by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, Mr. Morello - stylishly tricked out in the trendiest super dark shades - would toss his drum sticks high, twirling, then catch them just in time to strike the heavy drumbeats on the floor tom at just the appropriate moments during the bridge of the tune.

In the performance of "Blue Rondo a la Turk," Mr. Morello kept the beat steady as a clock, repeating the round, 3-3-3, then 2-2-2-3 in rotation, as in the involved dances of Turks celebrating in whirling dances their rhythmic union with an Almighty God.

Interstitial refrains in 4/4 time with blues progression gives way to a return to the rondo.

No comments:

Post a Comment