Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take Five

Kurt Elling (left) and Al Jarreau (right) tackle the seldom-performed lyrics and modulate their way through an astonishing scat-singing performance on the LEGENDS OF JAZZ public television series.

Take Five
is an instrumental jazz composition first recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on its 1959 album Time Out. Composed by Paul Desmond, the group's saxophonist, it became famous for its distinctive, catchy saxophone melody and use of 5/4 time, from which its name is derived. It has since become the most identifiable jazz composition in history.

The Time Out album contained only seven tracks totaling a scant 38.5 minutes of playing time. Each was an original composition written in a time signature unusual for jazz – 6/4, 9/8, 5/4, etc. – which accounted for the album title. Blue Rondo à la Turk (written in 9/8 time, the rhythm of the Turkish zeybek folk dance) echoed Mozart’s “ronda alla turca” from his piano sonata #11, written in 1783.

Carmen McRea’s 1961 version of Take Five included lyrics written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola.

Upon his death in 1977, Paul Desmond left the licensing rights for Take Five to the American Red Cross. Since that time, the organization receives all the royalties related to the performance of the song.

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