1961 Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five

1961 Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five 

Dave Brubeck grew up in California. While his mother taught him to play the piano, he did not intend to be a musician. In college, he initially studied to be a vet, but one of his teachers convinced him to switch majors to music.

Because of his poor eyesight, Dave had difficulty reading music and faked his way through most of his classes. The College of the Pacific nearly expelled him over that deficiency. They allowed him to continue his studies and graduate as long after he promised to never teach piano.

They drafted Dave into the army in 1942 and sent him to the European front. He volunteered to play at a Red Cross show and impressed the brass sufficiently to get transferred to the music corps. While performing in that organization, he met saxophonist Paul Desmond.

After the war, he formed an octet with Paul that played jazz. In 1949, he began recording for music that Fantasy Records started distributing, and his albums began selling well. In 1950, they reduced the group to a trio that expanded into a quartet in 1952. Unhappy with the compensation he received from Fantasy, Dave moved his group to Columbia Records.

After playing in nightclubs for several years, the group went on a tour of Europe and Asia for the U.S. State Department in 1958. The lineup of the quartet came to include a person of color, which led to problems with some concerts and even on television. Dave even canceled a television appearance when he discovered the network intended to keep bass player Eugene Wright out of sight.

After the tour, the quartet recorded a new album in 1959. The music used unusual time signatures. The album, Time Out, became the first jazz album to sell over a million copies.

The move famous song on the album was the five-minute instrumental Take Five. The group recorded a new, shorter version of the song that they released as a single. It reached #25 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart in January 1961.

Take Five is still the highest-selling jazz single in history.

Some additional musicians played and/or recorded with the group and lineup changes occurred from time to time. Perhaps the most unusual lineup lasted from 1972 to 1978: Dave and three of his sons became the quartet. 

An unusual tribute came in 1975 when they named an asteroid in the asteroid belt “Brubeck.”

The quartet disbanded when Dave died from heart failure in 2012 at age 92.


I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: