"Joe Morello, Drummer with Dave Brubeck Quartet, Dies at 82"
The New York Times, March 13, 2011
My first published Times obituary: not a task one wants to take up, but an assignment I'm glad to have landed. Partly it's because both as a percussionist in training and as a budding jazz fan I grew up admiring Morello's steady, easeful hand. And partly it's because I never knew until I did the research for this piece that Morello had begunstarted out on his musical path as a six-year-old violinist and played the Mendelssohn E minor Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at nine, only to give up the violin after he met Jascha Heifetz and decided he could never play so beautifully.
Listen to what Morello does with his solo spot in this fabulous 1964 performance of Paul Desmond's "Take Five" filmed in Belgium -- so different from the quartet's famous studio recording, yet completely true to his style -- and it's clear that Morello found a way to make music every bit as beautifully and compellingly as his early idol.
If you're interested in hearing the Dave Brubeck oral history mentioned in the obituary, go to this page on the Smithsonian Jazz website, then scroll down. The bit specifically pertaining to Morello joining the quartet is in the fifth short segment.