Daily Dose: ‘Take Five’ by Dave Brubeck Quartet

Given that I appear to be firmly in the midst of “Jazz Week”, I may as well spare some time to talk about one of the most recognisable pieces of music ever composed, and the most seminal work of cool jazz ever (well, probably). Released on September 21, 1959, I believe it may still be the biggest selling jazz single ever. Featuring Dave Brubeck, the bandleader, on the piano Paul Desmond, the composer, on the alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and the marvellous Joe Morello on drums, probably the only way you could have not heard this piece is by living in ditch, or by more reasonably, being born in the 2000’s. I occasionally use it a relaxation piece (in a similar manner to something like ‘Left Bank Two’) when I’m feeling a bit fraught, and it does that job so incredibly well. It became so prominent for a reason, after all, and a large part of that is due to that lovely tune, which I could listen to for another five, ten minutes longer than the song goes on easily. However, the somewhat forgotten hero here is Morello, who’s mastery of 5/4 time makes the song breeze by as effortlessly as it does, and also results in that janky, oddly bouncing drum solo. It still sounds distinctive and catchy, to this day, but now it also sounds like history, which almost makes it even cooler. If you haven’t heard it in a while, go ahead and throw it on, especially if you are having a stressful day – let the healing, soothing power of jazz wash over you, remind you that in a world of chaos and bad decisions the most important things are still pretty groovy.


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