Take Five (2:55)

Cover of Time Out

From Time Out and 199 other releases

“Take Five” is a classic piece written by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album Time Out. Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studios in New York City on June 25, July 1, and August 18, 1959, this piece became one of the group’s best-known records, 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 one of the first in the United States to achieve mainstream significance, reaching number five on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Singles chart.

“Take Five” was re-recorded and performed live multiple times by The Dave Brubeck Quartet throughout the group’s career. In addition, there have been various covers of the piece, including one by Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund in 1962 and a dub version by King Tubby, released posthumously in 2002. Some versions also feature lyrics, including a 1961 recording with lyrics written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, sung by Carmen McRae. “Take Five” has also been included in countless movies and television soundtracks, and still receives significant radio play.

Upon his death in 1977, Desmond left the rights to royalties for performances and compositions, including “Take Five”, to the American Red Cross, which has since received combined royalties of approximately $100,000 per year.

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