Dave Brubeck Take Five

“Take Five” is a now-iconic jazz song that was originally composed by Paul Desmond, the longtime saxophone player for Dave Brubeck. The tune was originally recorded for the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 1959 album Time Out, an experimental album that focused on compositions written in unusual time signatures.


The studio recording of “Take Five” took place on July 1, 1959 in the sweltering heat of summer in New York City. Unlike most jazz songs of the era, it became a monster hit and the biggest-selling jazz single ever released. Much of this is undoubtedly owed to the signature two-chord piano vamp and the sultry, seductive saxophone riff played impeccably by Desmond.

The personnel on the recording of take five included the legendary Dave Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on the drums. The song includes a lengthy drum solo that was mostly edited out of the radio version of the song.

Good as the studio recording was, many of its live counterparts far surpass it with their quickened tempos and heightened energy levels. This particular performance was recorded live in Belgium in 1964.


– Brian M. Reiser,

J&R Adventures

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