"Take Five" is a jazz standard composed by Paul Desmond and originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio in New York City on July 1, 1959 for their album Time Out. Two years later it became a hit[a] and the biggest-selling jazz single ever. Revived since in numerous movie and television soundtracks, the piece still receives significant radio airplay.
|Single by Dave Brubeck Quartet|
|from the album Time Out|
|B-side||"Blue Rondo à la Turk"|
|Released||September 21, 1959;|
reissued May 22, 1961
|Recorded||July 1, 1959|
CBS 30th Street Studio, New York
|Genre||West Coast cool jazz|
|Length||2:55 (single version)|
5:28 (album version)
|Songwriter(s)||Paul Desmond (composer)|
|Dave Brubeck Quartet singles chronology|
Written in the key of E♭ minor, "Take Five" is known for its distinctive two-chord[b] piano vamp; catchy blues-scale saxophone melody; inventive, jolting drum solo;[c] and unusual quintuple (5
4) time, from which it derives its name.
Brubeck drew inspiration for this style of music in the spring of 1958 during a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of Eurasia. After learning from native symphony musicians about the form, he was inspired to create an album that deviated from the usual 4
4 time of jazz and experimented with the exotic styles he had experienced abroad.
Release and chart successEdit
Although released as a single on September 21, 1959, "Take Five" fulfilled its chart potential only when reissued in May 1961, that year reaching No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 (October 9), No. 5 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart (October 23) and No. 6 on the UK Record Retailer chart (November 16). The single is a different recording than the LP version and omits most of the drum solo.
The piece was also chosen to promote Columbia's ill-fated attempt to introduce 33 1⁄3 rpm stereo singles into the marketplace. Coupled with a unique stereo edit of "Blue Rondo à la Turk", it was pressed in small numbers as part of a promotional set of records sent to DJs in late 1959.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet first played "Take Five" to a live audience at the Village Gate nightclub in New York City in 1959. Over the next 50 years the group re-recorded it many times, and often used it to close concerts: each member, upon completing his solo, would leave the stage as in Haydn's Farewell Symphony until only the drummer remained ("Take Five" having been composed to feature Joe Morello's mastery of 5
4 time). Some of the many cover versions include lyrics co-written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, notably a September 6, 1961 live recording sung by Carmen McRae backed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Al Jarreau performed an unusual scat singing version of the piece in Germany in 1976.
Desmond, upon his death in 1977, left the performance royalties for his compositions, including "Take Five", to the American Red Cross, which has since received combined royalties of approximately $100,000 a year.
|Part 1||Intro: Drum, piano and double bass set up 5|
4 pattern with the two-chord ostinato: E♭m – B♭m7
|Part 2||Section A: alto sax plays the melody (A) in two similar 4-bar phrases|
|Part 3||Section B: alto sax plays the bridge melody (B) in two similar 4-bar phrases|
|Part 4||Section A:|
|Part 5||Section solo 1: improvised alto sax solo over the ostinato|
|Part 6||Section solo 2: improvised drum solo|
|Part 7||Section A: preceded by the intro ostinato (E♭m – B♭m7)|
|Part 8||Section B: melody|
|Part 9||Section A: melody|
|Part 10||Conclusion: melody (A) then the ostinato to conclusion|
The piece has been a staple of jazz and pop music since it was first released. More than 40 cover versions have been recorded, as early as Carmen McRae's cover in 1961 on an album titled Take Five Live. Recordings have been released by artists known for playing jazz (Al Jarreau, George Benson), country (Chet Atkins), bluegrass (the String Cheese Incident) and pop (Stevie Wonder), as well as from artists in many different countries. In 1972, singer Don Partridge wrote lyrics to "Take Five" sung to the saxophone melody, and regularly performed the song in live stage performances and when street-busking throughout Europe.[full citation needed] In 1995, Moe Koffman recorded a version for his album Devil's Brew. This was the first version recorded by a Canadian artist. In 2011, a version by Pakistan's Sachal Studios Orchestra won widespread acclaim and charted highly on American and British jazz charts.
- Nominated for the 1962 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
- E♭m / B♭m7
- Featured on the album version but not on the single.
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When Paul Desmond passed away in 1977, his will stipulated that royalties form this song and his other compositions go to the American Red Cross. Since then, the Red Cross has received more than $6 million from Desmond's bequest.
- Lees, Gene (1995-12-21). Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White. Oxford University Press. p. 55.
- Doyle, Brian (2004-01-25). Spirited Men: Story, Soul & Substance. Lanham, MD: Cowley Publications. p. 90. ISBN 9781461733034.
The proceeds from his compositions and from his recordings were sent to the American Red Cross, which now earns more than $100,000 a year from his music. In the twenty-four years since his death, Paul Desmond has given the Red Cross more than three million dollars.
- "Paul Desmond – Celebrating a Legacy of Music and Compassion". American Red Cross. 2005. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
- Lawn, Richard J. (2013). Experiencing Jazz. Routledge. p. 237. ISBN 9781135042684.
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- Stewart Partridge, brother
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