Dave Brubeck Quartet Drummer Joe Morello Dies at 82

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The jazz musician, known for his odd time signature, played on such classic recordings as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk."

Legendary jazz drummer Joe Morello, who played with the Dave Brubeck Quartet on such classic recordings as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," has died. He was 82.

Family members told the Associated Press that Morello died Saturday at his home in northern New Jersey. The cause of death was not known.

Brubeck is said to have gotten the inspiration for "Take Five" after hearing Morello play a 5/4 beat while warming up backstage before a concert with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. The pianist asked Desmond to write a melody in 5/4 time for a tune that would feature a Morello drum solo.

Brubeck then suggested combining two themes that Desmond wrote to create "Take Five." The song became a surprise top 40 hit on jukeboxes and one of the best-known jazz recordings.

"Drummers worldwide remember Joe as one of the greatest drummers we have known," Brubeck told the AP, adding that "Joe was a pioneer in odd time signatures."

Raised in Springfield, Mass., Morello initially studied the violin before becoming a drummer while a teenager. He ended up in New York, where he played with many leading jazz musicians.

Morello recorded more than 60 albums with the Brubeck quartet, starting with Jazz Impressions of the U.S.A. and Dave Digs Disney in 1957.

After Brubeck disbanded the quartet in 1967, Morello turned to teaching and writing instructional books. He also made occasional guest solo appearances and performed with his own group in the New York area.