JAZZIZ – Year By Year: Five Essential Albums of 1959

Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out (Columbia)

At a time when jazz was widely structured around the standard 4/4 and 3/4 beats, the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out emerged as a breath of “cool” fresh air. Dave Brubeck was one of the most popular pianists of the ’50s whose two-fisted block chord playing and composition was influenced by jazz as much as by an endless variety of other music. He also had a penchant for odd meters and his experimentation with rhythms reached a peak on this album. Beginning with “Blue Rondo á la Turk,” a cerebral blending of jazz with Turkish folk rhythms that still manages to swing, each piece feels like a melodic venture and a mini-masterpiece. Smack in the middle of this impressive tracklist falls “Take Five,” the delightful but unlikely best-selling jazz single of all time that its composer, saxophonist Paul Desmond, famously admitted was simply supposed to be a drum solo for Joe Morello. Columbia hesitated to release Time Out and the critics panned it. Audiences, on the other hand, loved it, and this album’s longevity proves that the “experts” are not always right…

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