JoeMorello.net: It is with great sadness that we report Joe's passing on March 12, 2011. His impact on the world of music and on all those whose lives he touched will live forever.
Four on the Floor:
Thank you Joe!
Trap'd: While it was true he was a brilliant technician and a student of the great George Lawrence Stone (author of Stick Control and Accents and Rebounds) Joe didn't get credit for a lot of other great aspects of his playing, such as his beautiful warm drum sound and his very distinctive brush style. Joe Morello was also a great "gateway" player for me from players like Buddy Rich and other technical drummers to some of the more abstract small group players such as Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, etc.
Drummerworld.com forum: We can never forget what an important teacher he has been for the past few decades alongside the obvious superhuman drumming legacy.
Professor Mondo: The music world will miss him, but we’re lucky to have had him, and when I hear pieces like the one below, I’ll think both of the great drumming, and of the inspiration he brought to me through my dad. Thanks, Mr. Morello.
Drummercafe.com forum: I would just like to say that beyond the human sadness of such a great loss, it is always hard to see the wisdom of such an iconic figure pass into the ether. It's like seeing a great library burn down.
Joe was a classic example of how understanding the foundations of drumming can assist in moving the instrument forward. He studied with George Lawrence Stone and Billy Gladstone among others and helped trailblaze a world rhythmic influence in jazz in the 1950's, which peaked in the form of the tune Take Five, which was a million-selling jazz instrumental in 5/4 time featuring a drum solo.
Allaboutjazz.com: Morello suffered from impaired vision from birth, and devoted himself to indoor activities. At six years old he began studying the violin, going on to feature three years later as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, and again three years later.
At the of age 15 Morello met the violinist Jascha Heifetz and decided that he would never be able to equal Heifetz's “sound," so 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.
Allaboutjazz.com forum: A truly underrated giant. Along with Dave and Paul. He will be missed.
Vintagedrumforum.com: He was a wonderful man and great teacher and artist.
Saxontheweb.net forum: In 1965 I heard the DBQ with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra... After the performance I ventured my 17 year old self backstage and was greeted and met by Paul Desmond and Joe Morello... The very gracious and gentle giants talked with me for 10 or 15 minutes... Joe Morello played with such force ( I thought he must be destroying his kit ), and then with a subtle delicate feel that was what I can only describe as eloquent...
From the very right-wing Free Republic: He was a great guy. He told me I should’ve had more confidence in myself because he felt I was a good drummer but was holding myself back. [...] He once did the drum solo from “Take Five’’ for me in the D&K studio, just for me! Awesome doesn’t begin to describe it! He was a funny guy too. Blind as he was he always loved flirting with the girlfriend I had at the time, a beautiful blond. But he was always a gentleman about it.
News sources: NPR, ABC, MSNBC, Yahoo News, CBS, Salon, Drum! Magazine