A Tribute to Jeff Porcaro
A tribute to Jeff Porcaro (April 1, 1954 - August 5, 1992), the Master of the shuffle also known as The Groove Master. It’s absolutely necessary that Jeff is paid attention to on this website, because for the modern drummer he was THE unique example of a drummer who on an easy appropriate sounding way a piece of music could let ‘Groove’. However, it was paradoxical that the simple sounding in practice was hardly feasible for ordinary and advanced drummers. He made his furore especially by the famous halftime shuffle whereby the goshtnotes are very important (see notation), which he played on Rosanna Toto. You can find the song on the CD Toto IV (1982, CBS).
This halftime shuffle is obviously just one of the many beautiful shuffles he played. Another example is the phenomenal Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs. His discography, that consists of hundreds of artists, will give you an idea of what a range of ideas this unique person had. We can still admire him in dozens of CDs, videos and DVDs that he fortunately failed for us, for example Toto - Live in Paris and his instruction Video/DVD: Star Licks Master Sessions - Jeff Porcaro.
Further on this page you will find a short biography and some pictures of Jeff.
Jeffrey "Jeff" Thomas Porcaro was born in Hartford, Connecticut on April 1, 1954. His father Joe Porcaro, is a famous West Coast percussionist. In his teens he became better known in the world of American session musicians and abandoned his studies to go on tour with Sonny & Cher.
Previously he met keyboard-player David Paich. Together with Paich and his brother Steve Porcaro they meet guitar-player Steve Lukather, bass-player David Hungate and vocalist Robert "Bobby" Kimball and so they formed the world famous pop/rock band TOTO. Jeff's steady, recognizable drumstyle caused world hits like "Hold The Line", "Rosanna" and written by himself and David Paich "Africa". The album "IV" released in 1982 was his greatest success. There were millions of copies sold and the singles "Rosanna", "Africa" and "I Won’t Hold You Back" became worldwide hits. In the same year Jeff and his band received seven Grammy Awards. After this success album bass-player David Hungate was replaced by Jeff's younger brother Michael Porcaro.
Jeff continued his session work and played with artists such as Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan and Larry Carlton. Along with TOTO-musicians Steve Lukather, David Paich and his brother Steve, he worked on the hit album "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. For the single "Beat It", he received a Grammy-certificate as support band for best single of the year.
A lesser-known hobby of Jeff Porcaro was drawing. He designed several album covers for the band TOTO, including "The Seventh One" and "Kingdom Of Desire", the last TOTO album on which he played.
On August 5, 1992 Jeffrey Porcaro died of a heart attack, caused by an allergic reaction caused by a strong insect pesticide which he had used for his garden. An autopsy revealed that Jeff had his whole life a weak heart. The media and critics brought the death emerges as a result of a cocaine overdose, but a blood test proved that Jeff had not used cocaine at least for 5 years. At his funeral on August 10, 1992 Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro was buried in the presence of 1500 family members, friends, musicians and music lovers, in the "Hall Of Liberty" in Forest Lane Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills). He left a wife and three sons behind.
After his death, the "Jeff Porcaro Memorial Fund" was established. This fund was intended to promote Musical and Artistic departments on Grant High School in Los Angeles. Jeff was in the 70s a student at this school.
I would like to end with the catchy musical statement of Jeff's friend Richard Marx:
"To me there was no better drummer than Jeff Porcaro. His musicianship and kindness to me will never be forgotten. OUR LOSS IS HEAVEN'S GAIN."