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    Joe Morello, Drummer with Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dies at 82

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    Joe Morello, a jazz drummer whose elegant, economical playing in the Dave Brubeck Quartet sounded natural and effortless even in unusual time signatures, died on Saturday at his home in Irvington, N.J. He was 82.

    His death was announced on his Web site, joemorello.net. No cause was given.

    Mr. Morello was most famous for his tenure in Mr. Brubeck’s band, in which he was engaged initially for a brief tour in 1955. He became a member in late 1956, and remained until the group disbanded at the end of 1967.

    Already popular for its work on college campuses during the 1950s, Mr. Brubeck’s group reached new heights with Mr. Morello, who handled with disarming ease the odd meters that Mr. Brubeck began to favor. In June 1959, Mr. Morello participated in a recording session with the quartet — completed by the alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and the bassist Eugene Wright — that yielded “Kathy’s Waltz” and “Three to Get Ready,” both of which intermingled 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures.

    Less than a week later the quartet recorded Mr. Desmond’s “Take Five,” a breezy composition in 5/4, with an airy solo by Mr. Morello over a rigid vamp on piano and bass. The track became one of the most recognizable themes and most succesful singles in jazz, selling more than a million copies and reaching No. 25 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart in 1962. Those pieces, and others like “Blue Rondo à la Turk” and “Strange Meadowlark,” were featured on Mr. Brubeck’s most famous album, “Time Out.”

    Before working with Mr. Brubeck, Mr. Morello had played with the guitarist Johnny Smith, the saxophonist Gil Melle and, briefly, Stan Kenton’s big band. From 1953 to 1956 he played in the pianist Marian McPartland’s trio, which worked frequently at the Hickory House nightclub in New York.

    Joseph A. Morello was born in Springfield, Mass., on July 17, 1928. Sight-impaired from an early age, he took up the violin at 6 and performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra three years later. According to a biography on his Web site, Mr. Morello gave up the violin for drums at 15, after meeting his idol, the violinist Jascha Heifetz.

    Information on survivors was not immediately available.

    For the orginal article visit The New Yotk Times

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