This is album #3 that I’d want on my iPod on a desert island (see the earlier two posts below), and it is the only pure jazz album on my list.
Growing up, my brother Steve was the jazz fan and my father had always enjoyed Teddy Wilson (one of the two pieces he could play on the piano was “Body and Soul” in the Wilson style.) I grew up listening to rock and then gravitated to acoustic folk which led me to bluegrass, Celtic, Americana, blues, and the like. I wanted to listen to music I could play, and I never stayed with the piano or guitar long enough to be a jazz player. But I’ve always enjoyed the music and have a healthy sampling on my iPod – everything from a lot of Miles Davis to a lot of Oscar Peterson.
Time Out was the first jazz album that really caught my ear, and that’s the reason it is on my top five list. I was captivated by the changes in time signature and rhythm. It all sounded so effortless and so cool. Paul Desmond was a wonderful soloist, and even my untrained ears could hear that he was special.
Amazon.com’s Essential Recordings has this to say about Time Out:
Boasting the first jazz instrumental to sell a million copies, the Paul Desmond-penned “Take Five,” Time Out captures the celebrated jazz quartet at the height of both its popularity and its powers. Recorded in 1959, the album combines superb performances by pianist Brubeck, alto saxophonist Desmond, drummer Joe Morrello and bassist Gene Wright. Along with “Take Five,” the album features another one of the group’s signature compositions, “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” Though influenced by the West Coast-cool school, Brubeck’s greatest interest and contribution to jazz was the use of irregular meters in composition, which he did with great flair. Much of the band’s appeal is due to Desmond, whose airy tone and fluid attack often carried the band’s already strong performances to another level. Together, he and Brubeck proved one of the most potent pairings of the era. –Fred Goodman
The album was recorded when I was four years old, but the fact that I found it some ten years later – not to mention the fact that it is still in print and available – speaks to its staying power.
I found this great black & white video of the band playing the signature Take Five. Enjoy.
More to come…