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Canadian Heritage

Marty Morell


MARTY MORELL (drummer, percussionist, vibist, pianist, producer) was born on February 15, 1944 in New York and grew up there. He studied mallets with Morris Goldberg at the Manhattan School of Music, and tympani with Saul Goodman at the Julliard School of Music in Boston. Early in his career he worked and/or recorded with the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet, Henry “Red” Allen, Gary McFarland, Steve Kuhn, and Gabor Szabo, before joining the acclaimed Bill Evans Trio in 1968 and recording and touring the world with Evans for the next seven years.

Upon leaving the trio, Morell settled in Toronto, Canada where he continued to be a much-respected studio drummer and percussionist, fronting his own bands on drums and also playing vibes and piano with his Latin band. He conducted drum clinics and percussion seminars all over Canada, and for two semesters served as head of the Percussion Department at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. A highly versatile musician, he also performed with the Toronto Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and for eight years was the percussionist with the “Phantom of the Opera” pit orchestra during the hit show’s lengthy Toronto run. He was a member of Rob McConnell’s ‘The Boss Brass’, and recorded with dozens of other big name jazz artists including Don Sebesky, Stan Getz, Kenny Wheeler, Claus Ogerman, and Gabor Szabo.

During his Toronto stay he was featured three times in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre: on November 5, 1979 as the drummer for ‘The Boss Brass’, working with Tommy Ambrose and the Doug Riley Band on January 14, 1980, and with his own Marty Morell Quintet on March 9, 1981.

The versatile Morell returned to his New York City roots in 1998 to play for the Tony Award-wining musical ‘Ragtime’ and after a two-year stint on Broadway, toured with the show nationally. The revival of ‘Kiss Me Kate’ followed (with that production also winning a Tony in 2001 for ‘Best Musical Revival’), and a period playing for ‘Suessical: The Musical’.

Currently residing in Florida, Marty Morell continues to be an important jazz force. He recently worked with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (conducted by Paul Mercer Ellington), released his jazz quintet recording, ‘Live’, and in partnership with his son Craig Morell, launched Datz It Productions, a CD production company.