The Wizard Of Odd: Joe Morello
“La Paloma Azul [live]”
If you thought John Bonham was the first drummer to solo with his bare hands, think again. Morello often soloed barehanded (though Papa Jo Jones preceded them both) and used light finger taps in softer songs. For this track, Morello plays a soft rumba groove with his fingers on the snare. The wires are off, creating a conga sound. He lengthens his finger rolls in the second line and adds a rim-click to the pattern. If he’s playing the bass drum, he’s feathering it so lightly I can’t hear it, probably doubling the upright bass part on counts 1, 3, and 4.
“Blue Rondo A La Turk”
This song has a Turkish 9/8 time signature phrased as three bars of 2+2+2+3 phrasing and a fourth measure that uses 3+3+3. Morello varies his pattern between the ride bell and shoulder of the cymbal, and his accents closely follow the piano rhythm. He plays this with the snare wires disengaged. Later, the song shifts to a laidback 4/4 swing groove that greatly contrasts with the urgency of the 9/8 section.