The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Time OutTakes: Previously Unreleased Takes from the Original 1959 Sessions
Release date: December 4, 2020
Label: Brubeck Editions
Brubeck Editions inaugural release, timed to celebrate Dave Brubeck’s centennial, features recently discovered outtakes from The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s historic 1959 Time Out sessions. Brubeck Editions was created by the Brubeck family for the release of officially authorized music by the late musical innovator and American original, Dave Brubeck and his many musical collaborators. Time OutTakes offers listeners insights into the recording process behind one of the most significant and popular jazz recordings of all time. Time OutTakes features the innovative pianist and composer Dave Brubeck with his iconic quartet; lyrical alto saxophonist and composer Paul Desmond; and the steadfast rhythm section of bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello who energize each enthralling track.
Designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Dave Brubeck’s storied life is documented by hundreds of celebrated recordings. 1954’s Jazz Goes to College introduced the artform to a widespread new audience; 1961’s Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein marked a beautiful collaboration that set a precedent for the integration of jazz and classical stylings. 1962’s The Real Ambassadors sees a landmark collaboration between Brubeck and Louis Armstrong. However, there is no release quite as pivotal in the discography of Dave Brubeck and perhaps in the greater pantheon of jazz recordings as a whole than 1959’s Time Out. Time Out captures Brubeck and his quartet at a point of peak artistic excellence and exploration. Experimenting with odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality, Brubeck retained a soulful and playful nature to his music that audiences everywhere were fascinated and excited by.
Time Out became the first jazz album to sell over a million copies and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and the quintessential Desmond-composed and Brubeck-arranged classic “Take Five” (now in the Grammy Hall of Fame) began to appear on jukeboxes throughout the world, propelling Brubeck’s name to one that signified exploratory innovation, deep appreciation for disparate music cultures and a fresh, exciting new sound in jazz music.
Brubeck Editions’ release of Time OutTakes furthers the legacy of these hallmark sessions and the iconic composer and bandleader on the centennial of his birth. The family learned of the existence of the raw tapes of the Time Out sessions while being interviewed for several biographies that were released as a part of Brubeck’s centennial celebration after the authors had located the audio in Brubeck’s archives. Chris Brubeck notes “During an English tour by Brubecks Play Brubeck (Darius on piano, me on bass and trombone, Dan on drums and Dave O’Higgins on saxophones) we listened to hours of music that never made it onto the final Time Out LP. These undiscovered performances were a thrilling revelation! The interaction of these immensely talented musicians created incredible music but we also could hear that they actually DID make mistakes sometimes. They were having a challenging time playing this new tune in 5/4 that would eventually become the worldwide hit “Take Five.” We heard a beautiful take of “Cathy’s Waltz” that was arguably better than the take that went on Time Out. The more we listened, the more we smiled as we were transported through time by the melodic lyricism of Paul Desmond, the intense swing and technical brilliance of Joe Morello, the deep, dependable bass grooves laid down by Gene Wright and the undeniable inventiveness of our father’s piano prowess — polytonal, polyrhythmic, swinging and playful. His compositions were fresh, the odd time signatures “game-changing” and his tunes served as a springboard for innovative solos.”
Time OutTakes begins with the rollicking refrains of “Blue Rondo á la Turk”. Pianist Darius Brubeck indicates “The Columbia ‘Blue Rondo’ picked itself on the basis of fewer mistakes, but here on Time OutTakes, Paul and Dave refer to the main theme and Turkish-sounding scales in blues choruses that extend and unify the main idea, so the solos are more interesting and better serve the composition.” The album continues with “Strange Meadowlark”. Cellist, bassist and keyboardist Matt Brubeck notes “The performance here feels a bit more relaxed than on the original Time Out. Paul wittily weaves ‘Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered’ into his solo, and Dave’s closing piano statement feels more tender and expansive. I recall my father listening to birdsong and pointing out little scraps of tunes to me as we took walks together when I was young. Listening to ‘Strange Meadowlark’ reminds me of those times.”
Listeners are treated to a bright-tempoed treatment of “Take Five” which features a variation of the famous drum beat that Joe Morello played on the 1959 release. Drummer Dan Brubeck remarks “‘Take Five’ is one of the most successful creative collaborations in jazz history. At soundchecks, Joe Morello used to play around with 5/4 rhythms and Paul Desmond, liking what he heard, began to join in with several intriguing melodies. My dad helped Paul arrange his melodic ideas and came up with a vamp that glued the whole thing together. When I was a kid I loved going to concerts where I could pick up some pointers from Joe. I remember the excitement that I and everyone in the audience felt when we heard the piano vamp to ‘Take Five’ begin. I would watch from backstage completely mesmerized by Joe’s virtuosity. That is where my love affair with the art of drumming began.”
A gorgeous, refined rendition of “Cathy’s Waltz” follows, featuring magnificent, soulful solos from both Desmond and Brubeck. Brubeck’s daughter Cathy, the namesake of the piece, notes “When my father would come home from the road, he’d be so tired, but to connect and have some family fun he’d call a ‘jam session’. The boys would all get their instruments and I would wiggle into a blue tutu my mother had bought for me since I loved to dance. The three descending notes in the theme make me think of a young dancer twirling and falling: “Da-da-DUM, Da-da-DUM….twirl and plop, twirl and plop.” I’m not sure if that is what Dad was thinking when he wrote the piece, but I do remember we all had a lot of laughs at those jam sessions and eventually through my antics, I got a song named after me!”
The final two songs on the release “I’m In a Dancing Mood” and “Watusi Jam” are never-before-heard tracks that did not make it to the final 1959 recording. They replace “Pick Up Sticks” and “Everybody’s Jumpin” which were achieved in just one take on the original recording so there were no alternate takes to include on this release. “I’m In a Dancing Mood” is the only non-original tune recorded during the 1959 Time Out session. Bassist and trombonist Chris Brubeck notes “This ingenious arrangement of the Goodhart, Hoffman & Sigler song jumps from different time signatures and stylistic approaches, often switching grooves in a split second…It’s always great to have a “musical victory” early in the sessions to help bolster confidence, band morale, and the producer’s confidence. This track delivers with a tight, exciting performance!” The “Watusi Jam” was a spontaneous trio performance that the Brubeck family found unmarked on the session tapes. The track features Dave, Gene and Joe jamming over the “Watusi Drums” bass ostinato in 6/4 (first heard on “DBQ Live in Europe in 1958.) Dave fires off 30+ bars of bluesy licks until a reference to the melody sets up Joe’s solo. “Six bars of the ‘Watusi Drums’ melody appear at the end, but when that tune was recorded years later on Time In it was played with a very different fast “shuffle” rhythmic feel,” Chris indicates.
The tracks on Time OutTakes offer listeners a window into the compositional mind of a true American icon, in celebration of his 100-year legacy of innovation. To quote multiple Grammy Award Winning Producer Kabir Sehgal, “You’ll hear Dave Brubeck’s signature pieces afresh and anew. Listening to this album will make you rediscover why you fell in love with The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond, Joe Morello and Eugene Wright. This is mesmerizing music.”
Acclaimed Author, Grammy Winning Producer and CNN Commentator Douglas Brinkley writes in his liner notes: “Once the Dave Brubeck Quartet released Time Out in 1959, the world of jazz was never the same. What Time Out soon made clear was that Brubeck was much more than a pianist and composer; he was a genius of stunning originality. Time Out was an instrumental album which had the power to make people dream big or contemplate life or swing till dawn. Time OutTakes features alternative takes to the masterpiece that blew the hinges off the doors of jazz. What a high privilege it is to be able to be in the studio with the quartet as they innovate using 9/8, 5/4, and 6/4 time on such classics as “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Three to Get Ready.” What joyous music for the ages!”
Label: Brubeck Editions (BECD20200901)
"The album is an integral part of any serious – or casual, for that matter – jazz collection." Read more here.
THE ARTS FUSE
"Time Outtakes is a very good album and a valuable addition to your Brubeck collection." Read more here.
★★★★★ "An intimate glimpse into the creative processes of jazz." Read the review in the January 2021 edition.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
CRITICS PICK. "An album of previously unheard recordings from the “Time Out” sessions in 1959 reveals the making of a masterpiece." Read the feature review here.
★★★★★ Read the review in the December 2020/January 2021 edition.
“Ever the musical globalist, Brubeck drew inspiration from a 1964 tour of Japan — swiftly recording the album Jazz Impressions of Japan, whose standout theme is “Koto Song.” Brubeck’s delicate pianism is meant to evoke the 13-stringed national instrument of Japan, and Desmond matches the mood with some exquisite work on alto saxophone.” Read this article here.
THE FINANCIAL TIMES
★★★★ "Time Outtakes, released to mark the centenary of Dave Brubeck’s birth, collects previously unreleased alternate takes and songs to throw new light on this jazz classic. It confirms the album’s enduring popularity... and finds the critical emphasis on odd time-signatures meant other qualities were overlooked." Read the review here.
""Time OutTakes" serves as both a reminder of how the Dave Brubeck Quartet was one of the rare jazz ensembles to reach many different audiences and how much the four members of the group enjoyed each other's company and talents. Historically important? Yes! Fun? Very much so! A welcome addition to the Brubeck discography." Read the review here.
"The original is still a must-hear, but this is a fascinating bonus version." Read the article here.
THE CHOC AWARD - "..there inevitably existed somewhere in the Columbia archives different versions of these titles as inventive as they were timeless, which made millions of people love jazz around the world... Ten years later, our thirst for curiosity is finally sealed." Read the full review in the Dec/Jan 2021 issue of Jazz Magazine.
"Time Out captured Brubeck and his quartet at a point of peak artistic excellence and exploration. Experimenting with odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm and polytonality, Brubeck retained a soulful and playful nature to his music that captivated audiences worldwide." Read the album review here.
BILL'S MUSIC BLOG
"Listening to these different versions of such familiar and iconic fare is positively revelatory. It's almost like a concert in which they play the album in track order, but each song is played a little differently. Many thanks to the Brubeck family for making this recording possible." Read this article here.
"This isn’t an attempt to make something out of scraps left on the cutting room floor; to the contrary, it has extended solos from the session’s two most famous songs, “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” and, of course, “Take Five” that are simply mesmerizing." Read this review here.
"After all these years, and admittedly with a good measure of nostalgia, to hear those Time Out tracks 'disrupted' by 'new' improvisations and detail sends and involuntary tingle down the spine.. particularly for fans, this turning back of the clock to the 1959 studio — with interesting CD-booklet insights from the family, both on the pieces and the players' characters — feels pretty special." Read this review here.
"It’s this outtake of “Take Five” that provides the most revealing insights into the quartet’s humility and clear-eyed approach to making the adjustments that would best serve each tune and the album’s aesthetic as a whole." Read the full review here.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"It's the stateliness of the old vs. the looseness of the outtake and the more natural ease of Desmond and Brubeck's solos that make it a flip of the coin..The wonderfully spliced bits of band banter that make up the final track add terrifically to the overall ease of the entire disc." Read the album review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"The group sounds brand new and reflects the innovation and integrity of each individual player, as well as the amazing composing skills of Dave Brubeck..The Dave Brubeck Quartet changed the concept of jazz in their own unique way; each member becoming a true American icon." Read this review here.
"With unusual rhythms and chord progressions, the music was pathfinding then and remains outstanding for the cool aplomb of the performances as well as the compositions." Read this review here.
THE VINYL DISTRICT
"The record’s perseverance is exactly why these outtakes are so worthwhile, as they present a fresh twist on sounds that are long interwoven into the cultural fabric. The playing is as impeccable as expected, but more importantly, the distinctiveness of these versions becomes quite clear.." Read this article here.
BEBOP SPOKEN HERE
"If you haven't got the original - or even if you have - these alternative takes are well worth having, As an added bonus there's a few minutes of banter between the musicians as Morello tries to nail the tempo. even the greats are human!". Read this article here.
LA JAZZ SCENE
"Time OutTakes is an important addition to Dave Brubeck's large discography and is particularly recommended to those who have memorized all of Time Out. " Read the review here.
"A wonderful reminder how incredibly brave and utterly innovative “Time Out” was and still is." Read the review here.
The pianist's final studio recording, Lullabies, is out Nov. 6, followed by a collection of outtakes from the 1959 Time Out sessions on Dec. 4. Read this article here.
Time Out became the first jazz album to sell over a million copies, and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Take Five” began to appear on jukeboxes throughout the world, propelling Brubeck’s name to one that signified exploratory innovation, deep appreciation for disparate music cultures, and a fresh sound in jazz music. Read this article here.
EAST BAY EXPRESS/MERCURY NEWS
“The album offers a fascinating look at the making of one of jazz’s most popular recordings.” Full feature here.
SHANLEY ON MUSIC
"Time OutTakes, released within days of what would have been Brubeck's 100th birthday, presents something that the general public has never heard since Time Out's original 1959 release - alternate takes of that album's music." Read this review here.
Time Out, with its hits in 5/4 and 9/8, launched a series of bestselling Brubeck albums that explored time signatures unusual in jazz. The quartet with Desmond, with a few personnel changes on bass and drums, had an extraordinary run from 1951 to 1968, followed by occasional reunions until Desmond’s death, at 52, in 1977. Read this feature here.
JAZZ 'N' MORE
"This selection - eight examples from over twelve hours of preserved material - acts like a time capsule that leads you back to the creation of one of the most popular albums in jazz history." Read this article in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Jazz 'N' More magazine.
"Timeless." Review here.
"These outtakes emphasize clearly what made this creative quartet successful: Desmond with his melodic ease, Brubeck with his constant rugged improvisations, Morello with his varied approach to percussion and Gene Wright underpinning it all with rhythmic grace." Read the full review here.
NEW YOUR MUSIC DAILY
"..the fun they’re having is irresistible. And it’s no less insightful to witness how they went about making history with it." Read this review here.