Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today in Music (1959): Dave Brubeck Time Out charted

Time Out

Dave Brubeck

Charted: November 28, 1959

Recorded: June 25, July 1, and August 18, 1959

Peak: 2 US, 11 UK

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Genre: jazz


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Blue Rondo a la Turk
  2. Strange Meadowlark
  3. Take Five (9/11/61, 25 BB, 5 AC, 6 UK, air: 1 million)
  4. Three to Get Ready
  5. Kathy’s Waltz
  6. Everybody’s Jumpin’
  7. Pick up Sticks

Total Running Time: 38:30

The Players:

  • Dave Brubeck (piano)
  • Paul Desmond (alto saxophone)
  • Eugene Wright (bass)
  • Joe Morello (drums)


4.346 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


“This belongs in even the most rudimentary jazz collection.” – Steve Huey, All Music Guide


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Dave Brubeck’s “name is spoken with the same reverence as Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and between the three of them they all but defined jazz in the middle of the century.” CS He was “appreciated for his thick chord structures, complex improvisations, and his ability to dip a toe into dischord and atonality without drenching himself in chaos.” CS

His “defining masterpiece, Time Out is one of the most rhythmically innovative albums in jazz history, the first to consciously explore time signatures outside of the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. It was a risky move – Brubeck’s record company wasn’t keen on releasing such an arty project, and many critics initially roasted him for tampering with jazz’s rhythmic foundation.” SH

However, “for once, public taste was more advanced than that of the critics.” SH The album got to #2 on the Bilboard album chart and stayed on the chart for more than three years, “something wholly unexpected from an avant-garde jazz album.” CS It “still ranks as one of the most popular jazz albums ever.” SH

One of the factors that helped the album catch on with the public was the unexpected success of Take Five. It was the only song on the album not written by Brubeck. Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond wrote the hit single which was initially planned to be a drum solo for Joe Morello. CS

“Brubeck’s classic Blue Rondo à la Turk blends jazz with classical form and Turkish folk rhythms, while ‘Take Five,’ despite its overexposure, really is a masterpiece; listen to how well Desmond’s solo phrasing fits the 5/4 meter, and how much Joe Morello’s drum solo bends time without getting lost.” SH

“The other selections are richly melodic as well, and even when the meters are even, the group sets up shifting polyrhythmic counterpoints that nod to African and Eastern musics. Some have come to disdain Time Out as it’s become increasingly synonymous with upscale coffeehouse ambience, but as someone once said of Shakespeare, it’s really very good in spite of the people who like it. It doesn’t just sound sophisticated – it really is sophisticated music, which lends itself to cerebral appreciation, yet never stops swinging. Countless other musicians built on its pioneering experiments, yet it’s amazingly accessible for all its advanced thinking, a rare feat in any art form. This belongs in even the most rudimentary jazz collection.” SH

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First posted 2/17/2010; last updated 3/20/2024.

Jay-Z hit #1 with “Empire State of Mind”

Empire State of Mind

Jay-Z with Alicia Keys

Writer(s): Angela Hunte, Alicia Keys, Alexander Shuckburgh, Burt Keyes, Janet "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic, Shawn Carter, Sylvia Robinson (see lyrics here)

Released: October 20, 2009

First Charted: September 19, 2009

Peak: 15 US, 5 RR, 39 A40, 13 RB, 2 UK, 3 CN, 4 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 5.51 US, 0.77 UK, 6.49 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 213.07 video, 767.29 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Empire State of Mind” was written by Angela Hunte and Jane’t Sewell Ulepic as a tribute to their hometown of New York City. They wrote it while overseas in London and feeling homesick. They submitted the song to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label and it was initially rejected. However, EMI’s Jon Platt heard the track at a barbeque and sent it to Jay-Z again.

Jay-Z kept the singing part of the hook, but changed the verses. WK Initially Hunte was still going to sing the hook, but she suggested Alicia Keys. WK Because of the track’s piano loops based on a riff from the Moments’ “classic 1970 soul ballad ‘Love on a Two-Way Street,’” SS Jay-Z wanted Key’s piano and vocal talents. He called her and said, “I feel like I have this record that’s going to be the anthem of New York…and it couldn’t be the anthem of New York without you.” WK She went by the studio and listened to it and, as she said, “I really felt the energy of New York all through it…I said ‘I love it, so let’s do it.’” SF The song allowed Jay-Z and Alicia Keys “to shout the praises of the city in which both…had been raised.” SS

Complex magazine agreed with Jay-Z’s assessment, saying that the song “has replaced Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ as the city’s go-to anthem.” WK The New York Racing Association concurred when they replaced “New York, New York” with “Empire State of Mind” as the opening song at the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes. WK The song also got attention during the New York Yankees’ World Series run and Jay-Z performed it at their victory parade. SF

The song was Jay-Z’s fourth time to reach the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100, but his first time as a lead artist. WK The song was a top ten hit in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. WK The song won Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Entertainment Weekly named it the best single of 2009. WK


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Last updated 6/20/2023.

Monday, November 16, 2009

50 years ago: The Sound of Music opened on Broadway

The Sound of Music

Richard Rodgers (music), Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)

The Musical

Opened on Broadway: November 16, 1959

Number of Performances: 1443

Opened at London’s West End: May 18, 1961

Number of Performances: 2386

Movie Release: March 29, 1965

Cast Album

Charted: December 21, 1959

Peak: 116 US

Sales (in millions): 2.5 US

Genre: show tunes


Charted: March 20, 1965

Peak: 12 US, 170 UK

Sales (in millions): 15.0 US, 2.44 UK, 22.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

  1. Preludium
  2. The Sound of Music
  3. Maria
  4. My Favorite Things
  5. Do-Re-Mi
  6. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  7. The Lonely Goatherd
  8. How Can Love Survive?
  9. The Sound of Music (Reprise)
  10. Laendler
  11. So Long, Farewell
  12. Climb Ev’ry Mountain
  13. No Way to Stop It
  14. An Ordinary Couple
  15. Processional
  16. Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Reprise)
  17. Edelweiss
  18. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Reprise)

Songs on Soundtrack:
  1. Prelude/The Sound of Music
  2. Overture/Preludium (Dixet Dominus)
  3. Morning Hymn/Alleluia
  4. Maria
  5. I Have Confidence
  6. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  7. My Favorite Things
  8. Do-Re-Mi
  9. The Sound of Music
  10. The Lonely Goatherd
  11. So Long, Farewell
  12. Climb Ev’ry Mountain
  13. Something Good
  14. Processional/Maria
  15. Edelweiss
  16. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Reprise)

Singles/Hit Songs:

As was common in the pre-rock era and early rock and roll, songs from musicals were often recorded by artists not associated with the musical and released as singles. Here are some of the most notable hit singles resulting from the show:

  • “The Sound of Music” – Patti Page (#90, 1959)
  • “My Favorite Things” – Herb Alpert (#45, 1968)
  • “Do-Re-Mi” – Mitch Miller (#70, 1959), Anita Bryant (#94, 1959)
  • “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” – Tony Bennett (#74, 1959), Hesitations (#90, 1968)


4.439 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

Awards (Cast Album): (Click on award to learn more).

Awards (Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

The Sound of Music was the final work for the famous musical theater team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The pair previously worked on iconic musicals like South Pacific and The King and I. Like those, this was “set in a foreign locale, it starred a female lead in charge of children, it concerned an unlikely romance between an older man and a younger woman, it had a social/political element, and it featured a stirring anthem for a soprano (in this case, Climb Ev’ry Mountain).” WR-C

The plot was based on a true story about a nun (Maria) in Austria just before World War II. She becomes a governess for the seven von Trapp children, falls in love with their wealthy naval captain father, and marries him.” ET the musical sparked standards such as the title song, Edelweiss, and the aforementioned “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” My Favorite Things has become a standard, most notably by jazz musician John Coltrane, while Do-Re-Mi has become a favorite sing-a-long for children and was the center of one of the earliest flash mob viral videos.

About the Cast Album:

The cast album went to #1 and sold more than 2 million copies in the United States, but “has been so overshadowed by the spectacularly popular film soundtrack album that it’s difficult to judge it on its own merits. Mary Martin is in good voice as Maria and seems perfectly matched to the material, yet her interpretation of the character differs greatly from that offered by Julie Andrews; Martin is more wistful, delivering the title song with a deeper, plaintive quality. As conducted by Frederick Dvonch, the score in general has a more legit tone here than it does on the soundtrack recording, and Patricia Neway brings full operatic beauty and power to the role of the Mother Abbess.” CA

Theodore Bikel is a strong presence as Captain Von Trapp. Kurt Kasznar and Marion Marlowe as Max Detweiler and Elsa Schraeder are also standouts; they perform How Can Love Survive? and No Way to Stop It delightfully. The children, including Lauri Peters as Liesl, exude warmth. From a technical and musical standpoint, this Sound of Music album is highly commendable, and as a record of the final Rodgers and Hammerstein score, it’s a must for serious collectors of transcendent musical theater.” CA

About the Soundtrack:

The movie version of The Sound of Music came six years after the original stage musical. It became the highest-grossing movie of all-time up to that point and won the Oscar for Best Picture. The soundtrack was a #1 in the United States and United Kingdom, spending a whopping 70 weeks at the pinnacle in the UK. It also sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, making it one of the top 100 best-sellers of all time.

“One of the principal reasons for the enduring appeal…is the fresh approach given to the material.” CA The star, Julie Andrews, had starred in the musical My Fair Lady and was fresh from an Academy Award for her title role in Mary Poppins, another story about a children’s nanny. She “brings wit, spirit, and buoyancy to the role of Maria. Perfectly sung and brilliantly acted, Andrews’ great performance is also notable for her clear but unaffected diction, and she knows exactly which lines to sing, which ones to exclaim.” CA

“The songs of the Captain and the Mother Abbess are very well sung by Bill Lee and Margery McKay, respectively, dubbing for Christopher Plummer and Peggy Wood. McKay’s rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ is notably stirring. Charmian Carr does her own singing as Liesl; she’s charming in Sixteen Going on Seventeen with Dan Truhitte as Rolf, and in all of her tracks with the children…The arrangements and orchestrations of the film’s music overall are bright, uplifting, and thoroughly delightful from beginning to end.” CA

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Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 11/13/2011; last updated 12/23/2021.