0023. Dave Brubeck – Time Out [1959]


Eh.  Wasn’t a huge, huge fan.  It was alright, but it was a little tame.  Probably where Kenny G got the idea(s) for what he does.  I mean, the time signature thing is cool, but the music is just… eh.  It’s not bad if you’re in the mood for it.  Not sure what mood that would be, exactly, but yeah.

Wikipedia Says:

Time Out is a jazz album by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, released in 1959 on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 1397. Recorded at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City, it is based upon the use of time signatures that were unusual for jazz such as 9/8 and 5/4.[6] The album is a subtle blend of cool and West Coast jazz.[7][8] It peaked at #2 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified platinum by the RIAA, the first jazz album to ever achieve that status.[9][not in citation given][dubious ]


The album was intended as an experiment using musical styles Brubeck discovered abroad while on a United States Department of State sponsored tour of Eurasia, such as when he observed in Turkey a group of street musicians performing a traditional Turkish folk song that was played in 9/8 time, a rare meter for Western music.[10]

On the condition that Brubeck’s group first record a conventional album of traditional songs of the American SouthGone with the Wind,[11] Columbia president Goddard Lieberson took a chance to underwrite and release Time Out. It received negative reviews by critics upon its release.[12] Despite this, it became one of the best-known and biggest-selling jazz albums, charting highly on the popular albums chart when 50,000 units sold for a jazz album was impressive.[citation needed] It produced a Top 40 hit single in “Take Five“, composed by Paul Desmond, and the one track not written by Dave Brubeck.

Although the theme of Time Out is non-common-time signatures, things are not quite so simple. “Blue Rondo à la Turk” starts in 9/8, with a typically Balkan 2+2+2+3 subdivision into short and long beats (the rhythm of the Turkish zeybek, equivalent of the Greek zeibekiko) as opposed to the more Western 3+3+3 pattern, but the saxophone and piano solos are in 4/4. The title is a play on Mozart‘s “Rondo alla Turca” from his Piano Sonata No. 11, and reflects the fact that the band heard the rhythm while traveling in Turkey.[8][13] Contrary to popular belief, Brubeck did not base the piece on the Mozart sonata musically; he stated in a 2003 interview, “I should’ve just called it ‘Blue Rondo’, because the title just seemed to confuse people.”[citation needed]

“Strange Meadow Lark” begins with a piano solo that exhibits no clear time signature, but then settles into a fairly ordinary 4/4 swing once the rest of the group joins. “Take Five” is in 5/4 throughout. According to Desmond, “It was never supposed to be a hit. It was supposed to be a Joe Morello drum solo.”[12] “Three to Get Ready” begins in waltz-time, after which it begins to alternate between two measures of 3/4 and two of 4/4. “Kathy’s Waltz”, named after Brubeck’s daughter Cathy but misspelled, starts in 4/4, and only later switches to double-waltz time before merging the two. “Everybody’s Jumpin'” is mainly in a very flexible 6/4, while “Pick Up Sticks” firms that up into a clear and steady 6/4.

In an article for The IndependentSpencer Leigh speculated that “Kathy’s Waltz” inspired the song “All My Loving“, written by Paul McCartney and performed by The Beatles, as they share similar rhythmic endings to the last phrases of their melodies.[14]


In 1997, the album was remastered for compact disc by Legacy Records. In 2005, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. It was also listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In 2009 Legacy Recordings released a special three-disc 50th Anniversary Edition of Time Out. This edition offers a much higher dynamic range than the 1997 remaster. In addition to the complete album, the Legacy Edition includes a bonus disc featuring previously unreleased concert recordings of the same Brubeck Quartet from the 1961, 1963, and 1964 gatherings of Newport Jazz Festival. The Legacy Edition’s third disc is a DVD featuring a 30-minute interview with Brubeck in 2003, and an interactive “piano lesson” where the viewer can toggle through four different camera angles of Brubeck performing a solo version of “Three to Get Ready”.[15]

Time Out was included among a group of 15 DualDisc releases that were test marketed in two cities: Boston and Seattle. Due to “rights issues”, the DualDisc issue was recalled within days of being shipped to just a handful of stores in these two cities. As a result, fewer than 50 copies of this album are known to exist in DualDisc format, and it is one of the rarest commercially released CDs of all time.[citation needed] A handful of copies of the DualDisc version of this album have traded hands in the collectors’ market since its release, some for several hundred dollars.

Track listing

All compositions by Dave Brubeck, except “Take Five” by Paul Desmond.[16]

Side one

No. Title Length
1. Blue Rondo à la Turk 6:44
2. “Strange Meadow Lark” 7:22
3. Take Five 5:24

Side two

No. Title Length
1. “Three to Get Ready” 5:24
2. “Kathy’s Waltz” 4:48
3. “Everybody’s Jumpin'” 4:23
4. “Pick Up Sticks” 4:16


The Dave Brubeck Quartet


  • Teo Macero – producer
  • Fred Plaut – engineer
  • S. Neil Fujita – cover artwork
  • Seth Rothstein – project director
  • Russell Gloyd – reissue producer
  • Mark Wilder – reissue remastering
  • Cozbi Sanchez-Cabrera – reissue art direction



Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1961 Pop Albums 2

Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1961 “Take Five” Adult Contemporary 5
1961 “Take Five” Pop Singles 25

Sales and certifications

Time Out was the first jazz album to sell more than a million copies. The single “Take Five” also sold more than a million.[9]

Country Certification Sales
United States Platinum [17] 1,000,000+

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