The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s album Time Out was quite a revolutionary album within the jazz genre. Released in 1959, the album was the first jazz album to explore non-traditional jazz time signatures such as 9/8 and 5/4 time, whilst it also incorporated eastern musical influences. Musically, this album was in the style of cool jazz which emerged in the post-WWII period and as a style was based on more relaxed tempos and lighter tones as opposed to the more upbeat bebop style. Although this album contained the track Dave Brubeck became best known for in one of the most famous jazz pieces of all time “Take Five”, there is a whole lot more to this album than this one track alone with so much going on musically to keep the listener interested throughout.
There is so much going on, on this album musically for the listener to keep interested throughout whether it’s the soloing, little motifs within pieces, or the subtle rhythmic and tonal qualities of the individual pieces which vary from track to track. This is completely down to the musicians on this record who were some of the premier jazz musicians of the day, and are still held up as masters of their craft. Dave Brubeck the band leader was an amazing jazz composer and arranger – one of the best – while his piano playing is premier, particularly in his ability to mix his up his style of playing between soft flourishes and heavy outbursts of keyboard pounding. Paul Desmond’s alto sax playing is one of the highlights of this record, playing that draws the listener in with its warmth and feeling. He can lay claim to having written and performed one of the most recognisable saxophone parts in the history of music as heard on the fabulously innovative “Take Five”, while throughout this album his light melodic tone on the sax floats effortlessly along over the other instruments. Joe Morello’s drumming is also an album standout for me, particularly his amazing touch and feel as a drummer, and also in his ability to hold down many of the complex beats that the compositions on this record have. His dexterity as a drummer is seen on tracks like “Take Five” and “Three to Get Ready” where he plays some seriously innovative and complex drum patterns, and where as a listener I sit in amazement as to how he can keep time so immaculately to the point where you wouldn’t even need a metronome. Interestingly enough on the track “Kathy’s Waltz” if you zone in and isolate the drum sound his drumming actually sounds like a steam train travelling along the tracks, peculiar yes but not surprising considering this man’s touch with the sticks in hand.