Take Five

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This article is about the Dave Brubeck Quartet jazz piece. For other uses, see Take Five (disambiguation).
"Take Five"
Single by The Dave Brubeck Quartet
from the album Time Out
Released September 21, 1959;
re-released May 19, 1961
Format 7 Inch Record
Recorded July 1, 1959
Genre Jazz
Length 5:28 (album version)
2:55 (single version)
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Paul Desmond
Producer(s) Teo Macero

"Take Five" is a jazz piece composed by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album Time Out. Recorded at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio in New York City on July 1, 1959,[1] fully two years later it became an unlikely one-hit wonder and the biggest-selling jazz single of all time.[2] Written in the key of E-flat minor, it is famous for its distinctive two-chord[3] piano vamp; catchy blues-scale saxophone melody; imaginative, jolting drum solo;[4] and use of the unusual quintuple (5/4) time, from which its name is derived.[5] It was first played by the Quartet to a live audience at the Village Gate nightclub in New York City in 1959.[exact date?]

Brubeck drew inspiration for this style of music during a U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of Eurasia, where he observed a group of Turkish street musicians performing a traditional folk song with supposedly Bulgarian influence that was played in 9/8 time, a rare meter for Western music (traditionally called "Bulgarian meter"). After learning about the form from native symphony musicians, Brubeck was inspired to create an album that deviated from the usual 4/4 time of jazz and experimented in the exotic styles he experienced abroad.[6]

While "Take Five" was not the first jazz composition to use the quintuple meter, it was one of the first that achieved mainstream significance in the United States.[citation needed] Released as a single initially on September 21, 1959, its chart potential was fulfilled only after its re-release in May 1961, reaching #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 9 that year and #5 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart three weeks later.[7] The single is a different recording than the LP version, and does not include most of the album performance's drum solo.[8]

"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 many covers of the piece. Some versions also feature lyrics, including a 1961 recording with lyrics written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, sung by Carmen McRae. Al Jarreau performed an unusual scat version of the song in Germany in 1976.

"Take Five" has been included in numerous movies and television soundtracks, and still receives significant radio play. It was for several years during the early 1960s the theme music for the NBC Today program, the opening bars playing half a dozen times and more each day.

Desmond, upon his death in 1977, left the rights to royalties for performances and compositions, including "Take Five", to the American Red Cross[9] · .[10] , which has since received combined royalties of approximately $100,000 per year.[11]


Appearances in media[edit]

The song is heard in the party scene of "Soprano Home Movies," an episode of The Sopranos.[12]

During the title scenes and credits of the film Flawless, the Dave Brubeck version is heard.[13]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Schudel, Matt (May 12, 2012). "Dave Brubeck, ‘Take Five,’ and his longtime collaborator credited with the jazz legend’s biggest hit". The Washington Post (Washington). 
  2. ^ "Dave Brubeck". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  3. ^ E♭m / B♭m7
  4. ^ Featured on the album version but not on the single.
  5. ^ "Take "Time Out" for Dave Brubeck. by Andrea Canter, May 20, 2008". Jazzpolice.com. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ Kaplan, Fred (2009). 1959: The Year that Changed Everything. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-0-470-38781-8. 
  7. ^ "Record Details: Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five / Blue Rondo à la Turk - Columbia - USA - 4-41479". 45cat.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  8. ^ Soundtrack to a Century - Jazz: The Definitive Performances liner notes by Phil Schaap, producer (1999, Sony Music Entertainment, Columbia/Legacy J2K 65807)
  9. ^ Ted GIOIA, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, 27/09/2012
  10. ^ Gene LEES, Cats of Any Color: Jazz Black and White, 09/01/2001
  11. ^ Doyle, Brian (2004). Spirited Men: Story, Soul & Substance. Lanham, MD: Cowley Publications. p. 90. ISBN 1-56101-258-0. 
  12. ^ "Soprano Home Movies Soundtracks". IMDB. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Flawless Soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Deda, Edmond (1968). Parada muzicii uşoare româneşti, Musical Publishing House, Bucharest. p. 17
  15. ^ Foss, Richard. "Review". All Music Guide. 
  16. ^ "Reference Point overview". Allmusic.com. 
  17. ^ "The String Cheese Incident". The String Cheese Incident. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  18. ^ "Dancing Fantasy overview". Allmusic.com. 
  19. ^ "Take Five". Sachal Studios Orchestra. Retrieved 2011-06-09.