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.

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