Dave Brubeck: Take Five


Take Five


Dave Brubeck Quartet


Time Out (Columbia/Legacy CK 65122)

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Dave Brubeck (piano), Paul Desmond (alto sax), Eugene Wright (bass), Joe Morello (drums).

Composed by Paul Desmond


Recorded: New York, July 1, 1959


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Columbia Records balked when Brubeck proposed an entire album in odd time signatures. Even Paul Desmond considered it "a dubious idea," but complied with Dave's request to write something in 5/4. Dave unified the two fragments Paul brought in and, keeping it simple, made the experiment fun. Assisted by Guinness (the beer, not the World Records), we determined that Dave plays a steady 2-chord vamp 162 times, even behind Joe Morello's unfettered drum solo. Released as an abbreviated single in 1961, "Take Five" became the first million-selling modern jazz hit, a landmark at the intersection between jazz and pop culture.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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  • 1 mrebks // Dec 21, 2008 at 06:27 PM
    one version of the tale is that drum-master Morello could not keep that tricky (in days of yore) 5/4 time going continuously, so Dave had to assume the timekeeper role, allowing Paul and Joe to solo. and a nice irony rests in the title since no one was really free to "take five." (ah, but what if it was the fifth take...?)