Take Five (5:24)

Cover of Time Out

From Time Out and 269 other releases

“Take Five” is a classic jazz piece first recorded by The Dave Brubeck Quartet and released on the 1959 album “Time Out”. It became the first million-selling jazz single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1961, at a time when rock and roll was still in fashion.

“Take Five” became Brubeck’s best known, and signature, tune. It was composed by Paul Desmond, the group’s saxophonist and became famous for its distinctive, catchy saxophone melody and use of the unusual quintuple (5/4) time, from which its name is derived. While “Take Five” was not the first jazz composition to use this meter, it was the first of United States mainstream significance.

The original single was recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studios in New York City on June 25, July 1 & August 18, 1959. The track features Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums.

The song was recorded and broadcast many times by Brubeck’ Quartet, and has been recorded by scores of artists, from Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund in 1962 to a dub version by King Tubby in 2002. Some versions have included lyrics, including a 1961 recording with lyrics written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola and sung by Carmen McRae. The tune has also been included in countless movies and television soundtracks, and still receives significant radio play.

The composer, Paul Desmond, died in 1977 and left his rights to royalties for performances and compositions, including “Take Five,” to the American Red Cross. Since that time, the organization has received approximately $100,000 per year in combined royalties.

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