Five Four Time

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Dave Brubeck turns ninety years old this coming Monday.  Brubeck, among other things, charmed generations of music fans by bringing his own sense of “time” to jazz.  In his honor, WNYC’s Sara Fishko has this edition of the Fishko Files – on the subject of “Five Four Time.” 





  • Listen to An Hour with Dave Brubeck, produced in 2004 and hosted by Sara Fishko, here.
  • Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a new documentary about Brubeck, premieres on Monday, December 6th on Turner Classic Movies. Visit the TCM website for more information.
  • Throughout the day leading up to the documentary's premiere, TCM will air a series of little-seen jazz films, including Blues in the Night (1941), Jammin' the Blues (1944) and The Background Beat (1965), among others. For times and more information about the films, visit the TCM website.


Fishko Files Production Credits

Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer

Mix Engineer: Rob Weisberg

WNYC Newsroom Editor: Karen Frillmann

Produced by:

Sara Fishko

Comments [5]

Jon Schatz from New York

5/4 junkies unite!

Here's some other that might have deserved mention:
-"Everything's Alright" from Andew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. One of the most beautifully effective uses of 5/4.

-"Living in the Past" by Jethro Tull

-For the real aficionado, check out The Jesus Lizard (90s noise rock/alternative). Did more to liberate the time signature in rock than any other band.

Dec. 16 2010 08:42 AM
Ron Wasserman from Rockland County

I'd like to also add my disappointment at the non-mention of Paul Desmond too. C'mon!?

I mean, talk about feeding a long-term fallacy. You should have known better.

Almost ruined the piece for me.

Dec. 08 2010 03:13 PM

@Paul Epstein from Lower Manhattan: We appreciate your loyalty to Paul Desmond -- we love him too. There's a long section on the Desmond/Brubeck relationship, including Brubeck's version of how "Take Five" came to be, in the program "An Hour With Dave Brubeck." You can hear the hour-long special, here (also linked in the post, above):

Dec. 06 2010 10:10 AM
Paul Epstein from Lower Manhattan

That was a cool Fishko File, but for one thing. You did not credit the actual composer of "Take Five." The piece was written by Paul Desmond, the sax player in the Dave Brubeck Quartet at the time. Certainly, Brubeck, overall, was the great innovator in rhythms and time signatures in jazz--way beyond 5/4. The Brubeck Quartet's 1959 album TIME OUT (with "Take Five" & other time-bending tunes, esp. "Blue Rondo a la Turk") blew away time conventions. But within the bigger Brubeck time innovation mix, Paul Desmond deserves his due as composer of "Take Five."

Dec. 05 2010 01:28 PM
Victor Stabin from New York X Pat

Dave Brubeck fans should check out "Strange Meadow Lark" on the "Time Out "
album. One of my all time favorite pieces of music.

Dec. 04 2010 12:42 PM

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