-By Warner Todd Huston
Jazz great Dave Brubeck has died today. He was 91.
Dave Brubeck made Jazz ultra cool in the early 1960s. His most famous piece as Take Five and is instantly recognizable even to many who know nothing about Jazz.
Here is some more info on the piece and the band:
“Take Five” is a jazz piece written by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album “Time Out”. Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studios in New York City on June 25, July 1, and August 18, 1959, this piece became one of the group’s best-known records, famous for its distinctive, catchy saxophone melody and use of the unusual quintuple (5/4) time, from which its name is derived.
While “Take Five” was not the first jazz composition to use this meter, it was one of the first in the United States to achieve mainstream significance, reaching number five on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Singles chart.
“Take Five” was re-recorded and performed live multiple times by The Dave Brubeck Quartet throughout the group’s career. In addition, there have been various covers of the piece. “Take Five” has also been included in countless movies and television soundtracks, and still receives significant radio play. Upon his death in 1977, Desmond left the rights to royalties for his performances and compositions, including “Take Five”, to the American Red Cross, which has since received combined royalties of approximately $100,000 per year.
“Time Out” is a 1959 album by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, based upon the use of time signatures that were unusual for jazz (mainly waltz or double-waltz time, but also 9/8, and most famously 5/4). Although the album was intended as an experiment and received negative reviews by critics upon its release, it became one of the best-known and biggest-selling jazz albums, reaching number two in the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums chart. In 2005, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet is a jazz quartet, founded in 1951 by Dave Brubeck and originally featuring Paul Desmond on saxophone and Brubeck on piano. David Warren ‘Dave’ Brubeck (born December 6, 1920) is an American jazz pianist. He has written a number of jazz standards, including “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “The Duke”. Brubeck’s style ranges from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother’s attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities.
Paul Desmond (November 25, 1924 — May 30, 1977), born Paul Emil Breitenfeld, was a jazz alto saxophonist and composer born in San Francisco, best known for the work he did in The Dave Brubeck Quartet and for penning that group’s greatest hit, “Take Five”. He was not only one of the most popular musicians to come out of the West Coast’s ‘cool jazz’ scene, but also the possessor of a legendary and idiosyncratic wit. In addition to his work with Brubeck he led several of his own groups and made significant collaborations with artists such as Gerry Mulligan, Jim Hall and Chet Baker.
After years of chain smoking and general poor health, Desmond succumbed to lung cancer in 1977 following one last tour with Brubeck.
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