April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), and this year marks the 60th anniversary of the most influential year in jazz, 1959. Each week we are highlighting one of the game-changing albums that left an indelible mark in jazz history, and changed the course of its future.
Pianist Dave Brubeck took a chance recording Time Out, an album that used uncommon time signatures inspired by traditional music Brubeck encountered on a trip to Turkey. His quartet consisted of Paul Desmond on saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on the drums, and this album made them stars.
Not right away, though. The critics were not kind regarding this album, but it turned into a top selling record with a top 40 single. “Take Five” was the standout tune, written by Paul Desmond, and has been featured in numerous movies, shows and commercials, and is now so recognizable that, according to the authors of The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings, “no one hears what’s going on anymore.”
A lot has been going on with the tune (and album) that now needs an active ear to notice its complexity. The quartet went on to record numerous albums together, and Time Out was released on CD, and then in Legacy Edition form. It was chosen by the Library of Congress as one of the fifty recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry in 2005. Oh, and you’ll still hear these tunes all the time, even if you don’t notice.