Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out (1959)

Are my ears deceiving me, or am I discerning substantial chunks of what some wags might refer to as "progressive rock" in these idiosyncratic and memorably quirky compositions? The bouncy hit "Take Five" had become the instrumental sensation of the season, or perhaps, it could be argued, of the decade. And there's definitely no debating that particular tune's pedigree. It is jazz, straight up, no chaser. But on many of the other selections here, Brubeck's Quartet crank out music that wouldn't seem out of place on a Gentle Giant album.The opening track, "Blue Rondo", careens from Stravinsky-esque staccato piano-banging to finger-snapping bebop alto horn solos - then back again - with an almost diabolical abandon. The next cut, "Strange", kicks things off with a warm and lovely Liberace style étude before dropping into a smooth and mellow swing set. That's followed by "Take Five", which you've heard even if you think you haven't. After that it's a mixed bag, with some tunes in the Duke Ellington mode and others that you might be able to squeeze onto Frank Zappa's Hot Rats without anyone but bona-fide Zappaphiles taking note. Very interesting, and a definite recommend.

Had I heard it before? Only "Take Five".
Do I like it? Yes.
Am I keeping it? Yes.
Standout Tracks? "Blue Rondo", "Strange", "Take Five", "Pick Up"

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