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And All That Boomer Jazz: Take Five

Nominations are now open for other great Boomer Jazz hits.


Brubeck had been playing in odd time signatures back in the late 1940s, but it wasn’t until he returned from a trip to Turkey in 1958 that he thought about doing an entire album in different time signatures, like six-four, three-four, nine-eight and, in “Take Five,” five-four. Brubeck’s label at the time, Columbia, didn’t know about his plans. When he finally let them in on what he was doing, the marketing department became nervous about releasing the album, and not just because of the strange meters.

“I had a painting on the cover, and that hadn’t happened in jazz,” Brubeck said. “It may have happened in classical, I don’t know. And also, it was all originals, and they were against that. If you did all original compositions, you usually couldn’t do that. You just weren’t allowed to do that. They wanted you to do standard Broadway shows and standard tunes from the love songs of the day or the hits of the day.”… The quartet recorded the tune in two takes, and when it was done, Paul Desmond thought the song was a throwaway — so much so that he once joked about using his entire share of royalties from the song to buy a new electric shaver. The title “Take Five” was Brubeck’s idea; Desmond wasn’t crazy about the title, but Brubeck persisted.

“So I said, ‘Well, we got to have a title. Why don’t you want to use it?’ And he said, ‘Nobody knows what it means.’ And I said, ‘Paul, you’re the only person probably in the country that doesn’t know what it means.'”

This take is from a session in Belgium. The entire masterpiece, allbum , Time Out, is here

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  • Boomer Zoomer Doomer Tuner September 10, 2019, 7:46 AM
  • Rob De Witt September 10, 2019, 7:46 AM

    Desmond is the source of my favorite hip wisecrack. He was apparently well-known on the set for squiring about young fillies of stunning beauty. A friend once asked him what ever happened to those girls, and he replied “Chicks like that always wind up with some cat that owns a factory. That’s the way it always ends, not with a whim but a banker.”

    I saw the Brubeck Quartet in concert in San Antonio in the Spring of 1964, the last futile bleating of adult music before the onslaught of the Great Rock Tantrum.

  • NealinNevada September 10, 2019, 8:19 AM

    My nomination is for Miles Davis, off the Kind of Blue album, “So What”!

  • NealinNevada September 10, 2019, 8:22 AM

    Should have included this link…apologies.

  • NealinNevada September 10, 2019, 8:36 AM
  • James ONeil September 10, 2019, 9:45 AM

    Back when I was a latterday card carrin’ beatnick in NYC, I’d, every chance I got, spend some late night time listening at The Five Spot in the village. After Harem & Broadway closed down for the night, the best in Jazz would come down there for relaxing jams with each other. Good times!

  • TheOldGuy September 10, 2019, 10:54 AM

    Almost anything from “Time Out”, but especially:
    Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
    Wes Montgomery
    Ahmad Jamal

  • Montefrío September 10, 2019, 11:09 AM

    Bobby Timmons playing piano in 5/8 on a vinyl album I still have: “This Here”.

    I was a drummer and can still play (though not like Joe Morello) every cut on “Time Out”. Still have that on vinyl as well, the one with the Joán Miro jacket cover if memory serves.

  • BroKen September 10, 2019, 11:49 AM

    I was going to suggest Birdland but got beat to it. How about this, just for fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZsy_hfdOWY

  • BroKen September 10, 2019, 11:59 AM

    Oh, how about almost anything from Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jF-UUXKcLA

  • Ricky Green September 10, 2019, 8:39 PM

    Nothing smoother than “Django” by John Lewis .

  • Larry Geiger September 11, 2019, 4:21 AM

    Can’t be a boomer anthem. The drummer is wearing a suit and tie.

  • Mike Anderson September 11, 2019, 6:23 AM

    No nominations, but some easy recommendations. For us Old Farts who still listen to high-quality recordings on vinyl or CD, you can’t go wrong with (1) ANYTHING recorded by Paul Desmond and (2) Brubeck’s solo piano album, Just You, Just Me.

  • bob sykes September 11, 2019, 11:38 AM

    Are any of the nominees actual Boomers? Born 1946 plus?

  • Vanderleun September 11, 2019, 3:40 PM

    Don’t know off hand. What I’m looking for is the music not the musician.

  • Nahanni September 11, 2019, 3:48 PM

    Cast Your Fate to the Wind, A Charlie Brown Christmas -Vince Giraldi Trio
    Live at the Village Vanguard-Bill Evans Trio
    Bumpin’ on Sunset – Wes Montgomery
    Sinnerman – Nina Simone
    Autumn in New York – MJQ

  • BroKen September 12, 2019, 7:15 AM

    I second that Charlie Brown nomination. If an anthem is what a large number of people recognize and resonate with then popular TV and movie themes would qualify: Peter Gunn, Pink Panther, Route 66, etc.

  • Wilfred Ruffian September 12, 2019, 11:43 AM

    As I recall, Miles Davis sketches of spain, along with the mandatory bull fight posters was the thing with nyu co-eds.
    My crowd was Fontessa,modern jazz quartet.
    And then the folk abomination took over.