Conductor James Levine has returned from an absence of more than two years to lead…
- Posted on Mar 14th 2011 10:00AM by Emily Tan
Redferns, Getty Images
The legendary drummer died on March 12 at his home in New Jersey. Although his family has not revealed the cause of death at this time, people close to the Morello have already written a special message in memoriam on his website saying, "His impact on the world of music and on all those whose lives he touched will live forever."
Throughout his 60-plus year career, Morello performed on more than 120 records -- 60 of which were with the Dave Brubeck Quartet -- and was named best drummer for five consecutive years by Downbeat Magazine.
Born on July 27, 1928 in Springfield, Mass. with partial vision, Morello started playing the violin at 6 and was a featured soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra by the time he was 12. However, after three more years of the violin, Morello traded in the strings for a drum kit. Studying with a local teacher, who encouraged him to study jazz drumming, Morello learned the genre of music among his future contemporaries in the Boston area like guitarist Sal Salvador and sax player Phil Woods.
In the 1950s, he played with the likes of Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, Glen Gray and was briefly a member of Stan Kenton's progressive jazz orchestra. Morello joined a trio with UK pianist Marian McPartland and released two albums with them, including 'Jazz at the Hickory House' and 'The Marian McPartland Trio.' After leaving the trio in 1956, Morello took a two-week gig with the Dave Brubeck Quartet after the band's drummer quit and remained with the group for more than 12 years.
The group disbanded in 1967, and Morello then became a teacher, holding various "drum clinics" to teach budding drummers like American session drummer Danny Gottlieb and Max Weinberg technique. He even produced a number of instructional books and videos.