Dave Brubeck Quartet

One of my favorite Jazz musicians to chill out to after a harried week (like this one) is Dave Brubeck. Its perfect music to just kick back and relax.

Even if you don’t know Brubeck, you probably know of him via the song Take Five. It was on the album Time Out, the first million selling jazz disc.

Take Five may be the single best known Jazz recording of all time (argue amongst yourselves whats better known in comments).

Brubeck is one of those rare musicians where you can just about randomly select anything he’s recorded — and its all pretty great.

If you want some suggestions, I consider these my favorite Brubeck albums:

Time Out
Concord on a Summer Night   
Jazz at Oberlin
Live at the Berlin Philharmonie
Jazz at the College of the Pacific   

I even find his “goofy fun stuff” terrific — check out Quiet as the Moon. It is his “Peanuts inspired” work, and except for a song or two, its not the actual Peanuts music (that was Vince Guaraldi doing the actual Peanuts recording, A Boy Named Charlie Brown).

Also worth checking out are Dave Digs Disney and Brubeck Plays Music From West Side Story. Simple, fun stuff.

Take Five

St Louis Blues 1961


Other Videos Worth Checking Out:

 Blue Rondo a la Turk

Kathy’s Waltz

Sounds of the Loop – 1964

St Louis Blues Brubeck Dave 1961

Strange Meadow Lark

Live At The Lincoln Center 1972    

via Crooks & Liars

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Alaskan Pete commented on Jan 19

    “Take Five may be the single best known Jazz recording of all time”

    Bah. Not even close. “Kind of Blue” would hold that honor. I think Brubeck was a fair to middling artist. Mulligan added greatly to his efforts, but even then…ho hum. He doesn’t even approach the level of Bill Evans, Miles, Coltrane, Jarrett, Tyner, Monk, Shorter, etc.

    You want some lesser known, high quality stuff? Check out the Grant Green:Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark from ’62.

  2. Andy commented on Jan 19

    Kind of Blue is more famous among jazz aficionados, definitely — and a more “important” album for sure — but in terms of popular appreciation, Brubeck definitely is right up there.

  3. Alaskan Pete commented on Jan 19

    You may be right Andy, and since he says “Take Five” the tune rather than “Time Out” the album…even more so. Although it might depend on where you draw the line on what’s considered jazz.

  4. RW commented on Jan 19

    Don’t think I would have ever bought Davis’s “Kind of Blue” or “Sketches of Spain,” or Coltrane’s “Blue Train” or “A Love Supreme,” or Mingus, Monk, or any of the rest if it hadn’t been for Brubeck; Take Five enticed me to buy the album and that introduced me to a genre about which I knew nothing …well, it’s a familiar story I’m sure, and I never became a real aficionado but listened to a lot of good music I would have missed otherwise and it probably does make it more difficult for me to analyze Brubeck as a result when all is said and done.

  5. Whammer commented on Jan 19

    Interesting that you specifically refer to “jazz recording”, because you may just be right. Other possible contenders:

    Summertime (ah, but which recording??)
    Take the A Train (same caveat applies)
    Girl from Ipanema — Herb A.
    Theme from the Pink Panther (this might give Take 5 a fight)

  6. dblwyo commented on Jan 19

    Barry – thanks. Marvelous music. Asked the bar band in Cozumel (not at Carlos and Charlies btw but a nice place) to do TakeFive and they sorta knew it. Great song.

    Question – how the dickens do you find all this great stuff on YouTube ? If it wouldn’t be giving away deep technical secrets all I find is stuff I’d rather note :) !

  7. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 19

    “Night of the Demon” was referenced in the opening song from Rocky Horror Picture Show — Halfway thru the “Science Fiction Double Feature” is the line: “Dana Andrews’ said prunes gave him the runes, but passing them used lots of skill.”

    I’m just sayin’

  8. peachin commented on Jan 19

    Yes – from a California prospective – Gerry Mulligan / Chet Baker – don’t know if Brubeck would be categorized as west coast – but
    Take Five was Paul Desmond Showcased.

    East Coast – miles, monk, coltrane, MJQ

    Probably one of the greatest Jazz albums

    “listen to it” SOMETHIN’ ELSE – a cannonball adderly album featuring Miles Davis, Art Blakely – It just doesn’t get better than this album

    And for a category killer – any of the
    Monk Alone albums. all genius!!!


  9. Eclectic commented on Jan 20


    Yep, those were the good old days.

    And, when Karswell in the end is chasin’ the parchment… Tell me that ain’t a black and white picture of a short squeeze!

  10. Kent_Geek commented on Jan 20

    Take Five may well be the best known, although Night in Tunisia and Caravan have to be close in there, I’d think. How about Sing, Sing, Sing?

    Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” wouldn’t be recognized by name by most folk, but everyone recognizes the music (currently used in a Visa commerical, and played in many Looney Tunes cartoons)

    By the way, I agree that Take Five is a Paul Desmond showcase, but let’s not forget Joe Morella’s drum work.

  11. gorobei commented on Jan 20

    Unsquare Dance!

    I heard this as a kid when I was 5 or so. I couldn’t understand why the old people thought it was merely ‘good’ when it was so clearly a work of divine genius.

    Recently heard the studio version with the little laugh at the end (Paul Desmond?) They knew how great this piece was :)

  12. Ken Nielsen commented on Oct 22

    Melacholy Baby is the most requested jazz tune after 2am.

Posted Under