Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - "Time Out" (LP Review)

I've been meaning to include some jazz classics in the blog, but I've always been intimidated: 1) I'm a jazz dilettante, and 2) is there any genre of music with a greater ratio of "words written" to "minutes recorded"?  And since "What Michael Doesn't Know About Jazz" is a pretty long book, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?

I had been thinking about "Kind of Blue", "Sketches of Spain", or "Blue Train", but Dave Brubeck's passing today made the choice of "Time Out" an easy one.  If you want to read about why this LP was such a leap forward and how it became a universally accepted classic, read the Allmusic review or the Wikipedia page.

Instead, I'll tell you my involvement with this LP goes back to an early teenager rifling through my father's LPs and ultimately commandeering it for my collection.  If I recall correctly, he got this LP from one of his brothers; Jack is older, but Douglas was the family audiophile.  Even as a teenager (knowing even less about jazz than I now do) I was captivated by "Blue Rondo a la Turk".  Much later in life I read about the rarity of 9/8 time, but ~30 years ago I just knew it sounded unlike anything else I had heard.  It was even later in life when I realized that the LP's real masterpiece is the smoky, cool "Take Five".  That's not to slight the other songs on this LP, but you haven't really heard jazz until you've heard these two.

This is one of the few LPs that I have on both vinyl (from the early family collection) and CD.  It might have been soon after college when I purchased the CD (I'm not entirely sure, but I probably had to have had a job to afford the luxury of purchasing a CD for something I already had on vinyl), but I still recall my first time hearing the vinyl.  50+ years later, this LP still sounds modern.

Stand out songs: "Blue Rondo a la Turk" (live 1962), "Take Five" (live 1966)

Full LP: YouTube playlist, grooveshark

Final Score: 10/10

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