Thread: Joe Morello
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:06 AM
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Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: Joe Morello

I've studied with Joe for a total of about 20 lessons. He is the sweetest man and his wife is also a wonderful person. It's hard to believe how great he really is until you see it up close.

I've never seen anyone do the Buddy triplet left hand thing (RLRLLL) as fast or as effortlessly as Joe. I've never seen hands so relaxed and mature in their development. They are the textbook definiton of proper hand position.

Look at some of his students: Gottlieb, Famularo, Art Verdi, Tiger Bill. Every one of those guys has an effortlessly fast single stroke roll. It's a testimony to his teaching skill.

Funny thing is, he was never a big fan of Moeller. He actually went to Moeller for a lesson after he was already with Brubeck and apparently it didn't go well. Moeller wanted to break down his technique entirely and rebuild it and Joe would have none of it. Moeller's system really shines at higher dynamic levels and Joe didn't play loud so he really had no use for it. Remember, Joe didn't need to use Moeller for speed, he used the Gladstone method for that. (He studied with both Stone and Gladstone)

Joe does employ a whip for louder accents, he just doesn't like to call it part of the Moeller "technique". I suspect it's because Joe was so extraordinarily gifted that he just fell right into it naturally and so he saw it as no big deal. Sometimes the greats don't realize how great they really are. (admittedly, a rare occurence)

Here's one of the first experiences I ever had with him: I was playing on the pad and he was across the room. Without looking over he says "Kid, you've got to get yourself some better sticks." I asked what he meant and he told we that they weren't pitch paired and the left one sounded heavier and was probably warped. He was totally right!!! I was blown away (and not for the last time).

As far as classical snare, he can play the Cirone book FROM MEMORY!!! I have never witnessed such virtuosic musical expression on a snare drum. It became a living breathing animal in his hands that he caressed and loved. I felt so humbled by his depth of knowledge, skill and experience. There are few people who can use technique for such a purely emotional statement.

IMO, he and Chapin are the greatest living proponent of proper hand technique. All of the greats today owe something to them.
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