Joe Corsello was born into a musical family. His father, Tony Corsello, was the original steel guitarist with Swing & Sway with Sammy Kaye’s Orchestra. From an early age, watching the band’s drummer, Joe was hooked.
Joe was born and raised in Stamford, CT, a bedroom community 30 miles from New York City. He graduated from Rippowam High School in 1964 and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While there, he studied with Alan Dawson and played with saxophonist, Sam Rivers and his Quartet at night.
He left school during the Viet Nam era and joined the Army. He was chosen for the Army Band and was stationed in Fort Wadsworth, NY. After discharge, he played with the Glen Miller Orchestra under the direction of Buddy DeFranco. In the early 70’s, Joe played and toured with such greats as Benny Goodman, Marian McPartland and Peggy Lee. He played with the Jeremy Steig Trio (with Eddie Gomez) and the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, recording movie soundtrack “La Manace”. When in Rochester, NY, Joe studied with John Beck when possible.
Joe left Peggy Lee to form a jazz/rock fusion band called ‘New York Mary’ (Arista Records) with saxophonist, Bruce Johnstone; bassist, Rick Petrone; guitarist, John Scofield, and trumpeter, Lou Soloft. Studio work was plentiful then and Joe kept busy doing TV jingles and commercials. He also toured with guitarist, Gene Bertoncini and saxophonist, Zoot Sims.
In the late 70’s, he put down the drumsticks and found a steady gig to support a new, growing family. He became a police officer in Stamford, CT and for the next 22 years, kept a beat of a different sort. He went from street cop to homicide detective and on to community policing. For 7 years prior to his retirement in 2001, he was part of the community policing effort and co-founded the ‘Music Box’. Spirited by the late Connecticut State Senator, Anthony D. Truglia, who was instrumental in Joe’s appointment to the Army Band, the Music Box allowed children of low-income families aged 9-16, to enrich their cultural lives by learning to play a musical instrument in a formal setting with qualified professionals, free of charge.
Fans, friends and fellow musicians finally encouraged Joe’s return to music. For the last decade, he has freelanced and worked with a variety of talent. He reconnected with Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company and, as one of their clinican/educators, does clinics at high schools and colleges around the country. He plays and endorses Drum Workshop drums.
Joe also performed in the Stamford production of Marion Caffney’s “Cookin’ at the Cookery”, highlighting the life and times of singer, Alberta Hunter.
Joe remains deeply involved with young artists, conducting clinics, inspiring and encouraging confidence to perform. He is co-founder of SummerJazz, a two-week jazz workshop based in Stamford, CT for kids of all ages, supported by Zildjian Cymbal Company and area corporations. He is the head Jazz Drum adjudicator for the state of Connecticut.
Joe’s inspiration came largely from Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Joe Morello and his friendship with Papa Joe Jones. Alan Dawson’s influence, guidance and critical ear opened Joe’s mind and talent.
Joe is featured on recordings including; Sonny Rollins’ “Sonny Please”; the last sextet recording released by Benny Goodman titled “The King Swings” recorded in Hamburg, Germany; Marian McPartland’s “Tribute to the Music of Alec Wilder”; “The Steve Marcus Project”; The Carmen Leggio Quartet featuring Joe Cohn; and Joe’s trio recordings, “Timeless”, “Blues in the Alley” and “Greasy Street”.
Joe worked with Mosaic Records to co-produce a 7 CD box set of 1952-1962 Buddy Rich material. He has had the thrill to play, tour and record with saxophone great, Sonny Rollins.