Joe Morello: Laid-Back Jazz Drummer Extraordinaire

Ludwig drum kit Joe Morello newspaper advert
Indeed.

Here’s another jazz drumming great from a gentleman with one of the most laid-back styles we’ve ever come across.

Joe Morello

Joseph Albert Morello (1928-2011) played in the Dave Brubeck Quartet in the 1950s and was famous for his unusual time signatures and drum solos.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, he struggled with partial vision and largely stayed indoors. At age six, he took up the violin.

He was bloody good, too, as he was a featured soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the age of nine.

However, when he was 15 he took up the drums. And he was on it from the off, impressing everyone with his natural flair.

Although he was up against the likes of Buddy Rich and Art Blakey, his imaginative takes on drumming make him stand out to this day.

During some of his solos, he’d put his sticks away and use his hands on the kit. In later generations, other drummers such as John Bonham took up this idea.

In other solos, he used one arm only. Very nimble fingered, it didn’t hinder him in any way. Drummers such as Reni took that idea up, too, where he’d perform a gig using only one arm. Just because he could!

Morello’s style is quite unusual. He’s very relaxed and laid-back, holding the sticks loosely. It’s almost like he was moving in slow motion at times, such was his precision with rolls.

But he could be furiously fast and accurate, his timing immaculate.

He could tune his kit up fantastically well, too. His solos just sound fantastic. In part, that’s how he’s managed the drum skins.

His sharp hits, fluidity, and nimble fingers are what do it, though. Along with that great brain of his.

You’ve either got it or you haven’t in the world of drumming. And Joe Morello’s natural ability remains unquestionable.

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