First coming to attention with pianist Marian McPartland in the early 1950s, and later with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Joe Morello quickly became known for his exceptional technique and musicality as a jazz drummer.
Born on July 17, 1928, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Morello initially studied violin at the age of six. But when he heard and later met his idol on that instrument, Jascha Heifetz, Morello was disheartened at the thought that he would never be able to emulate his idol’s sound, and so he switched to drums.
Morello’s drumming career began with lessons from Joe Sefcik, a pit drummer in the Springfield area. Sefcik was the brains behind Morello’s technique and taught him how to read music. But most importantly, Sefcik made Morello realize that his future lay in jazz. Under Sefcik's guidance Morello came to be regarded as one of the most technically solid drummers in New England.
After some trials and tribulations, Morello was soon playing with notable musicians like Gil Melle, Johnny Smith, Stan Kenton, and Marian McPartland. After leaving McPartland’s trio, Morello joined the Dave Brubeck Quartet, a partnership that lasted more than 12 years.
Since the disbanding of the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1968, Morello has concentrated on the educational side of drumming, maintaining an active teaching practice. Using his association with DW Drums, Morello has contributed significantly to drumming and jazz through clinics, lectures, and guest solo appearances.
Recently, he has been performing with his trio, comprised of pianist Doreen Gray and bassist Nate Lienhardt, in the New York metro area. Hailed by fans and musicians alike, Morello is regarded as one of the most esteemed drummers in jazz history.