"Take Five" is one of the most famous tunes in jazz, which might seem strange given it's a song in an odd time signature (5/4) that was apparently inspired by Turkish folk tunes. Paul Desmond, the late Dave Brubeck's longtime collaborator, wrote the tune, and Brubeck included it on his 1959 recording, Time Out, which went on to become one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.
The song's lilting, slightly akimbo feel captured people's ears, including those belonging to many musicians. So it's no surprise the covers of "Take Five" are numerous, and there is no surer marker of Dave Brubeck's (and Paul Desmond's) legacy than how loved "Take Five" remains to this day.
Have a listen to just a small sample of cover versions of the song, below. But first, from the originators, a performance from 1966 in Germany — Brubeck with Desmond on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums.
Al Jarreau scats his way into "Take Five." It's almost frighteningly intense.
Chet Atkins' thoughtful "Take Five" makes it sound easy. It's not.
A luxuriously slow (and sultry) "Take Five" from Eliane Elias.
As it says on YouTube, accurately, a "cosmic" version of "Take Five" from George Benson.
Carmen McRae's extraordinary phrasing makes "Take Five" swing hard.
Tito Puente takes the timbales to "Take Five."
And finally, if the legacy of a musician is partly how younger generations are inspired, then this is a must-see.
Dave Brubeck, jazz pianist, dies at age 91
on Dec 05, 2012