The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Time Out


5.0
classic

Review

by ohcleverhansyou USER (39 Reviews)
January 24th, 2008 | 62 replies


Release Date: 1959 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 4/4 + 1= 5/4

Up until 1959, jazz was dominated by the 4/4 time signature, the standard, the “common” time signature. But then the Dave Brubeck Quartet took a look at old 4/4 and added one to make it 5/4 and to take the jazz world for a spin.

There were cries that Brubeck was tampering with the old jazz formula. Moving into not just 5/4 but 9/8 and 14/4 time signature, this wasn’t jazz anymore (I had to get the time signatures from Wikipedia, my musical theory was never that great). But listening to any of these songs, the quartet can swing. “Blue Rondo À la Turk” mixes up a wild 9/8 time intro from Brubeck to a swinging 4/4 for the whole band, and then the band switches off between the two flawlessly. Dropped jaws abound, even fifty years later (well at least mine did). At waltz tempo, the quartet still puts out smooth saxophone solos, soft piano solos.

As I admitted earlier, I have some trouble recognizing time signatures myself. Listening to the music, I could tell something was different. But the reason the music appealed to me is that it sounds good. I like to think I'm not swayed by gimmicks like turns of musicianship, with Time Out, Brubeck and Desmond made damn sure the songs were there. You hear something in 9/8 and it sounds like crap, it doesn't matter what time signature in, it's bad. But the band makes the songs fun, they're bright, they're moody, they're happy, they're powerful. In Time Out, the Dave Brubeck Quartet plays with equal parts feeling and technicality.

The rhythm section (Eugene Wright and Joe Morello on bass and drums respectively) kept everything jazz, even in the odd time signatures. There’s still the controlled yet assured drumming, the walking bass lines. But it sounds so fresh, even today. At the start of the album’s single, “Take Five,” Morello sets the stage with the 5/4 time signature, followed by Brubeck’s nice moody, cool piano section and then Paul Desmond takes over on alto sax. In the middle, Brubeck holds the melody while Morello does one of the most interesting drum solos I’ve ever heard. It is clear the band is out of their comfort zone, Morello hesitates wondering what to do while Brubeck carries on his odd piano line. I enjoy the hesitation, I can hear the band trying to feel each other out, as though they’re working together to tackle this unfamiliar time signature. The public seemed to like it too, while critics were slamming the quartet for corrupting jazz with their weird music, the single was a hit.

Brubeck takes a commanding position in his quartet, which is certainly welcome. Desmond wrote the big hit of the album (“Take Five”), but Brubeck starts off the album as mentioned before, prepping everyone for the experimental, challenging, and enjoyable music coming ahead. His musicianship shows throughout the whole album, he does a majority of the soloing, but his performance on “Blue Rondo À la Turk” is one hell of an act to follow. His almost classical chording in the bridge is majestic. He does a majority of the soloing in “Kathy’s Waltz,” “Everybody’s Jumpin’” and “Three to Get Ready,” reminding everyone that this is a jazz band with his more traditional style. As a result, the songs are a lot less awe-inspiring, but all still solid efforts.

I consider Time Out a perfect example of jazz: it defies tradition, it pushes the boundaries of what we can do with music, yet in the end it still shows four guys having fun together, like all jazz, like all music should. I can’t tell whether I am happy or not that this still sounds so fresh. On the one hand, it’s fresh because it is still revolutionary. 4/4 is still the standard, it is still what musicians turn to first when writing a song. But on the other hand, Time Out is fresh because behind the revolution, it is still good music. The band explores the new boundaries it has set for itself, but shows everyone that they are still new to them too. Makes for a great record.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
January 24th 2008


2806 Comments


The only problem with the review is that someone who doesn't know time signatures won't have a clue what you are saying. It's tough for an album like this, but I would've mentioned it a bit more in passing simply for accessibility.

ohcleverhansyou
January 24th 2008


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You bring up a very good point, I'll add a paragraph about that now.



Edit: Alright. This Message Edited On 01.24.08



Edit: I completely misunderstood what you said, but now I do...uh...oh well. Haha. This Message Edited On 01.24.08

Killed4less
January 24th 2008


328 Comments


This is a fantastic album, one of the first jazz albums I heard as well. Good review by the way.

LifeInABox
January 24th 2008


3709 Comments


I was gonna review this, but good job. Amazing album.

rattlehead42147
January 24th 2008


1345 Comments


great album indeed.
shut up robbie. we don't like your kind.This Message Edited On 01.24.08

cbmartinez
January 25th 2008


2525 Comments


take five is so great, the drum solo yesss

Willie
Moderator
January 25th 2008


17621 Comments


I've never really given any Jazz a chance... this sounds like a good "gateway" album...

ohcleverhansyou
January 25th 2008


885 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is an excellent gateway album. Like I said, it's not typical jazz, but it is very

good jazz, and if you know a little about music (i.e. some theory), you will very much

appreciate what the band does. This Message Edited On 01.25.08

Willie
Moderator
January 25th 2008


17621 Comments


I'll track it down and report back soon after...

Jimmy
February 28th 2008


727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album

Iai
Emeritus
January 28th 2009


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Piss poor album.

glikesmusic
June 12th 2009


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

In my top five albums ever. Fantastic

RamsesII
July 9th 2009


80 Comments


Brilliant from start to finish.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2009


16596 Comments


dude lives like right net to me

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2009


16596 Comments


next

Aids
December 17th 2010


24456 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Holy shit what an album

WeepingBanana
December 17th 2010


10494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i only know blue ronda and take five but Brubeck is awesome

natey
March 1st 2011


4190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"odd" time signatures aside, this goes down so smoothly

huskerdoo
March 1st 2011


374 Comments


fantastic record

luschlotz
March 6th 2011


993 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Dave manages to experiment in music, without taking off the swing of it, it takes real genius, defietaly a Music MASTERPIECE



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