Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Time OutReleased: 1959Charted:
Paul Desmond, who was Brubeck's alto saxophonist, wrote this song. It's called "Take Five" because it was written in an unusual 5/4 meter. It was one of the first Jazz songs with a time signature other than the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. Brubeck explained in a 1995 interview with Paul Zollo that he asked Desmond to try writing a song in 5/4. Said Brubeck: "I told Paul to put a melody over (drummer) Joe Morello's beat. So Paul put a couple melodies. But he didn't have a tune. He just had two melodies. He said, 'I can't write a tune in 5/4,' and he had given up. I said, 'You've got two good melodies here, let's work out a form.' So I worked out an A-A-B-A form and Paul caught on immediately."
This is a rare Jazz song that became a Pop hit. It has been used in movies including Mighty Aphrodite, Pleasantville and Constantine.
On the album Time Out
, Brubeck used a different time signature for each track, which was very unusual. In Brubeck's interview with Zollo, he said: "The album came out but the sales people, they have formulas that are unwritten laws about what's going to work, what's going to sell. And my album couldn't have worked because it's all originals. They said you should never put out all originals, you have to put in some standards and some show tunes. Well, they were wrong. It worked. And you have to be in tempos that the public can dance to. Well, they couldn't dance to most of Time Out
unless you got into some dance halls where people could dance to 5/4 and they did dance to it. So it's exposure. And also they didn't want a painting on the cover. I was breaking a whole bunch of rules." (this and above quote appear in Zollo's book Songwriters On Songwriting