Joe Morello: TIP Lifetime Achievement Award

Standing Left to right: Marvin, Tommy Igoe, Rob Wallis, John Riley, Steve Forster, Jojo Mayer, Dom Famularo, Shawn Pelton, Carmine Appice, Peter Retzlaff, Mike Sorrentino, Paul Siegel  Front Row Left to Right: Joe Morello, Sonny Igoe, Jason Gianni

On June 3rd, Hudson Music and a select group of drumming artists gathered at Rod’s Steakhouse in Morristown New Jersey to present Joe Morello with the first Hudson Music TIP Lifetime Achievement award. We had originally gave Joe the award at our TIP event at Drummers Collective on April 11th, but he was unable to attend due to poor health.

In addition to Rob Wallis, Paul Siegel, Mike Sorrentino, Sonny and Tommy Igoe, Shawn Pelton, Carmine Appice, John Riley, Jojo Mayer, Dom Famularo, Pete Retzlaff and Jason Gianni.

It was certainly a night to remember, complete with stories, toasts and more than one broken wine glass!

Please take a moment to leave a comment for Joe, below. Share a memory, a story, an inspiration or a thank you for Joe. We will deliver each of these comments to Joe, directly.


  1. clay alligood


    You’re amazing! I remember the first time I heard a recording of Take Five. Your playing and soloing ideas are so inspiring and creative and they turned me upside down (in a good way).

    Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award. You’re a legend in the finest sense of the word.

    God bless you.

  2. Hey Joe, It was a honor that you came out for Russ Moy for his Life Time Achievement Award this past febuary 17th 2010 in NY City. I want to Congratulate you on you Life Time Achievement Award. Sir, You Have Earned it!!! Enjoy Your Special Day!!

    With Warmest Regards,

    Robert McNamara Robbie Mac’s Drum Studio/ROJO Sound Studio

  3. Wow, Joe Morello IS a milestone! This so very much deserved; my generation of THINKING, MUSICAL and PASSIONATE drummers owes Joe bigtime! Much health, happiness AND LONGEVITY to Mr. Morello.

  4. What a great teacher, great drummer and a great guy! I studied with Joe in the Summer of 1972, referred by Ernie D’Aristotle, a local (Binghamton) sax player who had a sister who used to be a stewardess who went out with Joe for a time in the ’60’s. To this day I use Joe’s methods in my private/college teaching. I enjoyed the occasional trip across the street from Dorn and Kirshner’s in Union to have a drink with the man. Thank you for everything, Joe, and Good Health!

  5. Jim Eckard

    Thanks for your many contibutions to the drumming world. I remember first seeing pictures of you in some old Ludwig magazines I owned from the 1960’s. When I started listening to jazz a number of years ago I heard recorings of you with the Dave Brubeck Quartet. These recording are certainly required listeming for anyone wanting to play jazz today or learn the history of jazz. I also applaud your eagerness to pass on your skills by teaching other drummers. You have many an inspiration for many years and I hope to being playing for as many years as you.

  6. Larry Crowe

    Greetings from Toronto, Ontario, Canada!
    The first time I heard Joe Morello’s playing was on Dave Brubeck LP’s (remember LP’s?) that my Dad would play for me as a kid.
    I started drumming when I was thirteen and when I wanted to learn how to play jazz, Joe’s playing was a great source to draw
    from. Though Joe’s performances I learned how to swing, how to play odd meters, how to solo and how to have fun with music,
    just check out “Paradiddle Joe” on Phyllis Marshall’s album “That Girl Phyllis Marshall!”
    Congratulations Joe and Best Wishes to you!
    Larry Crowe

  7. Larry Crowe

    Hey guys sorry I goofed! “Paradiddle Joe” was on a Carmen McRae album featuring the Dave Brubeck group!
    Larry Crowe

  8. Joe Lopez

    Hey Joe, I always loved your aggressiveness when you played.

  9. Eric Quesenberry

    CONGRATULATIONS JOE!!! I had the extreme good fortune of being able to take an hour lesson with you while you were in Bristol, VA a few years ago doing a clinic for my good friend Allen Gentry. I was SO nervous to be sitting with “The Master,” that I told you to “please excuse me if I act a little uncomfortable; because for me, it was much like a guitarist taking a lesson with Robert Johnson!” ha ha You were so nice and humble, and I was able to finally relax during the lesson. I asked you about the traditional grip, because I play primarily matched grip. You told me “that my playing was good with matched grip, so why change?” Meeting you and studying with you for that one hour, is a day that I will always remember. Your personality is much like your playing (which I have listened to countless times over the years for inspiration!): HUMBLE, MUSICAL and laced with just the right dose of HUMOR! I won’t even begin to speak of your INCREDIBLE “relaxed” TECHNIQUE…I think that goes without saying! ha ha THANK YOU SO MUCH MR. MORRELLO for all of the inspiration you have given so many drummers over the course of your spectacular career! Best Wishes, Eric Quesenberry Bristol, VA

  10. Dear Joe:

    Congratulations for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award!

    Joe, you are one in a million, there is NO ONE like you!!

    With much respect and admiration, your friend, Gary Gordon, Oklahoma City……

  11. There are many drummers I like. Many of them have been a big influence on my drumming. But I think that to be a real musician you must think on a special way. Joe, more than an influence, you are to me an INSPIRATION. Using your books, watching your videos, hearing your “classics”…. I always find something new, and always make me re-think the way I play or the I approach my music.
    Thanks for giving us the best of you in your carreer.
    From Chile
    Pedro Barahona

  12. Tony Cuscina

    Hi Joe! I was looking forward to seeing you at TIP day. Sorry to hear you were not feeling well. Sir Joe, thank you for all your inspiration! From the first day I saw you play, it turned my whole drum world around. A true Master of the craft. I had the sincere privilege to study with you while working in the Catskills in the late 70’s. I remember the first day you called to set up a lesson date. Man was I excited! After my lessons I would drive you home, but before that, we would stop to have a bite to eat. What a treat to be hanging out with you! I also remember coming to a gig you were playing at with Sal Salvator, and you were not feeling well that night, so you asked me to sit in. WHAT A LESSON THAT WAS! (Be Prepared!) Thanks again Joe for all that you have passed on to us all. Congratulations on your Lifetime Achievement Award! Well done Sir! A true Admirer, Tony Cuscina.

  13. Tamba Gwindi

    Greetings Mr Morello: Many congratulations to you in your achievement of this lifetime award.The world of drummers have been inspired by your life’s work and in your honour we continue to strive after excellence.I am from Trinidad AND Tobago in the Caribbean and i have not had the opportunity to meet you personally buy i continuously refer to your book ”Master Studies” and continue to share the knowledge derived therein.I remember being in new york years ago and i missed a clinic that you conducted at Sam Ash because i had to fly home the previous day. My loss.I wish you many more years of good health Peace and Happiness. Blessings

  14. Barry James

    Congratultions Joe. This Lifetime Achievement Award is yet another testament to all you have given of your life and your work. Joe and I both studied with George Lawrence Stone and we have been speaking regularly about Mr Stone’s teaching techniques and his ability to get his Stick Control method across to generations of drummers. Joe Morello has been the chief advocate of the “Stone Method” for many years. I’m grateful to Joe for sharing so many insightful stories about his studies with Mr. Stone. Together with my experience as a Stone student we are putting a book together analyzing Mr. Stone’s stick control technique as well as his teaching techniques. Joe’s idea of dealing with the newer Hybrid rudiments from the viewpoint of “how Mr Sone would have taught them” has given me all the information needed to complete this Tribute book to Mr. Stone. Stay tuned for Sick Control II. Over these last few years I have seen up close and personal just how fine a man Joe Morello really is. He is not only one of the best drummers ever but he is also a man who has showed us all how to play odd time signatures and to play with a relaxed swinging feel. Thanks Joe for your frienship and for love of drumming. You are truly an inspiration to all of us. Now if I could only get you and Jean to move here to Florida! Best Regards Barry James Orlando, FL

  15. Allen Gentry

    Congratulations!!! I can not thing of a more deserving person for this award. From your killer recordings and books to the thousands of clinics/ lessons you have given; you have inspired and influenced alot of drummers. You have made the drumming world a much better place.
    During one of my lessons, Joe told me to turn to page so and so in a book. While I was turning pages he started messing around on his drum pad. Out came these incredibly even 16th note triplets with his left hand at about 132bpm. Once I got over the shock; I noticed how relaxed his left hand was while playing this. I learned alot that day.
    Thank you for being an incredible inspiration. a great teacher and an amazing person.
    Allen Gentry

  16. Rob Eastlund


    Congrat’s! I remember first seeing you perform at Gulliver’s in West Paterson, NJ in the winter of 1982. Your assistant, Debbie, signed me up for an evaluation to study with you at Dorn & Kirschner. The 15 months of lessons I had with you are a part of me to this very day. Thanks for showing me how to play in a much more relaxed manner. I still teach & perform to this day thanks to your insight & guidance into the world of drumming. I can’t thank you enough. You have left your mark!

    Nothing but THE BEST!

    Rob Eastlund

  17. Dear Mr. Morello,
    A warm ‘Congratulations’ to you, sir!!! You’re an amazing musician, drummer, and incredible influence on the drumming community!
    My mom and dad loved music. When I was young my dad brought home the record “Time Out”. I was forever changed in my perception and understanding of what it meant to be a drummer. ‘Take Five’s’ solo was music not just rhythms!
    Thanks for all the inspiration and for pouring your gifts and life into so many others.
    May God bless You!
    Jeff Aslesen

  18. Charlie Herron

    Joe, no one is more deserving than you. I had the good fortune of taking an hour lesson with you a few years back in Bristol, VA. My good friend Allen Gentry set up a clinic with you. I was very nervous but the minute I sat down, it all went away. We talked Like we had known each other forever. We did lots of rudimental playing and discussing the Moeller Grip. At that time, I was a middle school band director. You asked how I taught it and I said that I told the kids to “let the wood breathe.” This really interested you. You are the benchmark that all teachers and players should work toward. You are a truly remarkable player, teacher and person.

    May God Bless You Everyday of Your Life.

    Charlie Herron

  19. Andrew Chaplowitz

    Monday, March 15, 2011—listening to WBGO, host Brian Delp announced the passing of Joe Morello. I was deeply saddened.
    While I couldn’t afford lessons with Mr. Morello when he was staff instructer at Dorn & Kirschner in Union, I was fortunate to see him perform at the YMHA in West Orange in the late 70’s. Now, a generation later, I understand his uniqueness and his craft. He made the snare drum snap and fire like the best of the swing drummers,evenly spaced, but with those unique poly-rhythms, which made the drumming world stand up and notice when he ran off all those Downbeat poll wins in the the mid 50’s.

    I remember hearing a solo off a live Brubeck quartet album that was recorded in the early 60’s, as well as a solo played with just his hands, from a performance at the Playboy mansion. His big band recordings as a leader, justify what Neal Peart said, that he seemed to hold back, for the sake of the music.

    Long live Joe Morello.

    p.s. he strongly refutes the myth, that his friend, Buddy Rich, never practiced. He says he was there when they worked out all types of patterns on the walls of hotel rooms, cymbals, into the wee hours of the morning.

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