Dino Danieli, the drummer who brought jazzman virtuosity to the Rascals’ rock ‘n’ roll sound, died Thursday, Dec. 15, in New York City, according to his Facebook page and confirmed by his bandmates.
He was 78.
Rascal guitarist Gene Cornish posted on social media: “It is with a broken heart that I have to tell you of the passing of Dino Danelli. “He’s my brother and the best drummer I’ve ever seen. I was very sad at this time.
“Bye Dino. I love you brother.”
Danielle was a Jersey City native who picked up several gigs to form Young Russells before hooking up with Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati and Gene Cornish. The Garfield Band made their debut at the Choo Choo Club in Garfield.
Several of their hits, including “Good Lovin'”, “Groovin'”, “People Free”, “Beautiful Morning” and “How Can I Be Sure”, expanded the rock-pop sound of the era with elements. Use of soul, jazz and complex arrangements and instruments.
E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt saw his band at the old Keyport Roller Drum in 1965. Bruce Springsteen was also in the audience.
“They were amazing. They were amazing, and it was one of the most inspiring jobs of my life,” Van Zandt told the Asbury Park Press in 2013.
Danielle’s drumming was crucial to the band’s success. Until he came on the scene, rock drummers weren’t the best in the class. Danielle changed it with an attitude more akin to the Bop Cats from the New York City jazz scene, where he learned his craft.
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On stage with the Rascals, he brought his jazz chops to help define the band’s unique rock sound, and his baton twirling helped define the Rascals’ look.
The team’s original run lasted until 1972. After that, various incarnations of the tour were created. Danielle formed his own Bulldog team and later joined Little Steven and the Soul Disciples.
Over the decades, the four members rarely appeared on stage together, except for the band’s 1997 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Van Zandt made the award that night. In the year In 2013, the four reunited to appear in the Broadway play, “Rascals Once Upon a Dream,” at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
The multimedia exhibit was produced by Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt.
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There was also a follow-up tour, but the band didn’t stay in their original form. Cavalier and Cornish are currently on the road as the Felix Cavalier Rascals.
There will be no formal funeral for Danelli, according to Joe Russo, who is in charge of Danelli’s case.
“Thank you for supporting his various endeavors throughout his career,” Russo said on Danelli’s Facebook page. You all made it possible for him to live his dream of becoming a musician and artist.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for USA Today Network New Jersey. Find him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com