Take Five with Joe Morello

Not long ago I posted a clip of a drum solo by the great Joe Morello which has proved to be extremely popular. Since a meeting I thought I had this afternoon has been cancelled I’ve decided to take five minutes out to post another terrific drum solo.

The tune Take Five, composed by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959, became a hit at the second attempt when it was re-released in 1961. It proved so popular that the band performed many versions of it live, manu of which can be found on youtube. This one is not unusual in that it is performed at a faster tempo than the version that was released as a single. I read an interesting blog post a while ago that explains how Joe Morello’s arrival almost broke up the Dave Brubeck Quartet, as Paul Desmond and he had clashing personalities. I think Part of that was Morello’s predilection for tempos that were a bit faster than Desmond was comfortable with; Paul Desmond had a beautiful tone, but in contrast to many of his Jazz contemporaries on the instrument, he was never a speed merchant on alto saxophone. He seems to be less fluent than usual on this track, at least at first, probably because of the speed.

Joe Morello’s drum solo, on the other hand, is characteristically wonderful. Just watch his superb left-hand technique, from a relatively gentle opening to when he turns down the strainer on the snare drum he starts to build up to a stunning climax in which his hands are far too fast for the camera. It’s a great solo, not only because of it’s technical brilliance but because it’s so beautifully constructed. All in 5/4 time too…

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2 Responses to “Take Five with Joe Morello”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    That’s a lot more fun than the drum solo on the studio version!

    • telescoper Says:

      It is. In fact most of that drum solo was edited out for the version released on single.

      I’ve heard several versions of Take Five from YouTube, and Joe Morello’s solos are all very different.

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