Album: Time Out (1959)
Charted: 6 25


  • 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)

Comments: 10

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 17th 1962, the Dave Brubeck Quartet performed "Take Five" on CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    One year earlier on September 11th, 1961 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #64; and on October 9th it peaked at #25 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #5 (for 3 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    R.I.P. Mr. Brubeck (1920 - 2012).
  • Chilcox from Atchison, KsEbm7 to Bbm7 then Bmaj7 - Bbm7 - Abm7 - F#maj7 - F5 - Bb5. This type chord progression influenced oodles of players in the 1960's to experiment with jazz chord voicings and melodic improvisation. Hugely influencial on Jazz/Rock fusion. Donald Fagan wrote the line in his song "New Frontier" - "I hear you're mad about Brubeck - I like your eyes, I like him too - He's an artist, a pioneer - We've got to have some music on the new frontier"
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaWhat does someone do for an encore? stand on their head and stack bb's? what a genius record!
  • Kjzr Radio from Long Beach, CaThis is the updated version correct?
    Is this not a tribute artist?
    Love the song.
  • Marissa from Akron, OhWe sang this in choir in high school. It was so much fun!!!
  • Liam from Leeds, United KingdomBTW. I recently got hold of a Tito Puente Live version of this. WOW!
  • Liam from Leeds, United KingdomActually, most of the population would say they don't like Jazz without considering that so much of their lives is deeply soaked in the thing. This song has made a lot of the spillage. It's a good bridge between the tuneful "standard" Jazz that people can sing along to and the more essoteric improvisational stuff. It shows that, as long as the musicians are tight, you can have a catchy song in all kinds of time signatures.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThis song defines jazz for so much of the population! Jazz is actually much more,of course, but this was a watershed recording.
  • Joe from Vancouver, CanadaIt's strange how well this song works in 5/4.
    It's REALLY good!
  • Sebastian from Miami, FlThis song contains what many consider to be one of the best drum solos of all time , performed by Master Drummer Joe Morello.
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