Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time out for a jazz master

Dave Brubeck turns 90 Monday and we are hopped up here at the Sanctuary to celebrate one of jazz music's most beloved and enduring pianists.  While we slip Jazz at Oberlin into the player, contributor Wayne Shelor weighs in on another of the artist's masterpieces.  For more background follow this link:

By Wayne Shelor

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You’ve surely heard of Dave Brubeck, the almost 90-year-old, still performing jazz pianist. And I suspect you may have a passing familiarity with an album he released in 1959 called Time Out.

It’s one of the most popular jazz albums in history, largely because of the song “Take 5,” written by saxophonist Paul Desmond.

"Take 5" is a complicated composition in 5/4 time, and if you listen to the quintuple rhythms of the song, you can get lost. Shoot, the whole album is made up of songs in compound time, and maybe that’s why it’s such a lasting hit. It was this very record that prompted jazz drummers everywhere to explore non-standard time signatures. You may not realize it, but your brain recognizes that there’s a lot going on in such structures, and most people find it inviting.

"Take 5” later brought Al Jarreau a Grammy for his interpretation of the venerable song, and this track is the reason that “Time Out” is the second-best selling jazz album – behind Stan Getz’s “Jazz Samba” – of all time.
In 1959 – the greatest year in the history of jazz music – Time Out even climbed to No. 25 on the pop music charts, largely on the strength of “Take 5."

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