Jazz Performance and Education Centre



Take Five
A Tribute to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond
With support and assistance from Matt Brubeck

Saturday, November 24 - 8:00 p.m.
Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, North York

Tickets: $35  Students $20

Note: Tickets may only be purchased through JPEC

Info & tickets: SOLD OUT

Payable by cheque or credit card (must be called in): SOLD OUT

Tickets include access to The Aga Khan Museum’s permanent exhibit and the music of one of JPEC’s student groups from 6:30 to 7:30.

"I am very pleased that JPEC has chosen to honour Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond as part of their 10th anniversary concert season," Matt Brubeck.

Take Five of Canada’s best musicians.... and let the party begin.

Celebrate JPEC's 10th Anniversary with us when we present an evening to honour jazz giants, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

The Story of "Take Five"

"'Take Five' remains the biggest selling jazz single of all time, and it's familiar melody has introduced many listeners to jazz. (NPR 100, Special Series, November 2000)."

In the late 1950's, Dave Brubeck said, "...it's a good idea to shake things [jazz music] up a bit," and that's exactly what he did with the song, 'Take Five'...the third track on the album Time Out, recorded in 1959. Brubeck had always been interested in polyrhythm and polytonality. After a 1958 trip to Turkey, "...he thought about doing an entire album in different time signatures, like six-four, three-four, nine-eight and, in 'Take Five', five-four. Brubeck's label at the time, Columbia, did not know about his plans. When he finally let them in on what he was doing, the marketing department became nervous about releasing the album, and not just because of the strange meters".

"The quartet recorded the tune in two takes, and when it was done, Paul Desmond thought the song was a throwaway - so much so that he once joked about using his entire share of royalties from the song to buy a new electric shaver. The title "Take Five" was Brubeck's idea; Desmond was not crazy about the title, but Brubeck persisted."

"So, I said, 'Well, we got to have a title. Why don't you [Desmond] want to use it?' And he said, 'Nobody knows what it means.' Brubeck said, 'Paul, you are the only person probably in the country that doesn't know what it means.'"

The resulting album "Time Out" sold out almost immediately.

Joe Morello (percussionist on Take Five) said, "You know, if anyone could ever predict what is going to be a big seller like that, my God, they'd be driving around in Rolls–Royces; you know, living in castles". [Source, above].

The late Gene Lees, noted Canadian music critic, biographer and lyricist, said of the Time Out Album containing Take Five:

"Columbia did almost nothing to promote the Album. I remember a particularly nasty review in Down Beat saying the whole thing was a phoney attention – seeking gimmick. Time Out proved to be a revolutionary Album whose influence continues to this day. ... I saw local couples dancing to Take Five as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

It became one of the best – selling Albums in jazz, and Take Five was the first million – selling jazz single. ... Prior to Time Out, jazz musicians usually sounded stiff and uncomfortable even in three, but after that Album, they became comfortable in all sorts of 'other' meters." [Source, Jazzletter March 2005, p5].

The Formation of the Brubeck – Desmond Partnership

"Brubeck and Desmond had met first during military service in the Second World War. Dave was fortunate in that, as a pacifist, the Army asked him to form a band. It was called The Wolf Pack, and was a great success. Post-war, the two men studied music in San Francisco and Desmond formed his own quartet which had Brubeck on piano. The situation was resolved in 1951, when Paul joined the newly formed Brubeck quartet. He was to stay until the group fell apart in 1967.

The most exciting element in the whole of Brubeck's music is the telepathic improvising that he and Desmond were able to create simultaneously. ...they seemed to read each other's minds while interlocking and at the same time, keeping out of each other's way.

The great Brubeck era began with the college stuff. ...Oberlin was an eminent music College in Ohio, and almost all of its students knew nothing about jazz. A disgruntled handful of jazz fans amongst them decided to use some of the college's funds to put on a jazz concert...

The music was a revelation to the classically trained [student] audience who could perhaps appreciate the musical twists and turns better than a plain jazz audience and would consequently be intrigued. They went mad with enthusiasm." [Source, Jazz Journal, August 2018].

Dave Brubeck said this of Paul Desmond:

"Paul Desmond was an enigma. I considered him my best friend. Yet, for a couple of years in my life, I vowed I would never speak to him again. The rift eventually healed and for three decades, we were as close as brothers.

From the very first, ...we seemed to possess an uncanny ability to participate and read each other's musical thoughts. Paul called it ESP. Desmond became part of my musical life for the next 30 years from 1947 until his death in 1977." [Source, Gene Lees, Jazzletter March 2005, p1]."

Brubeck told Doug Ramsey, noted author of the book entitled, Take Five:

"He [Desmond] had calculated that the traffic lights on a stretch of road….. were timed for 45 miles an hour. Using perfect logic, he figured out that if you could make all the lights at 45, you should be able to make them at 90 and leave later for the gig. Every time we drove down there, I thought there was a good chance I was going to die. And while tearing along at 90, Paul would read the road and street signs aloud -backwards." [Source, Jazzletter March 2005, p1].

Paul Desmond's Canadian Quartet and "Audrey", Live in Toronto 1975

“Paul Desmond was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. At one time, the quartet was playing a season at the Basin Street East in New York, and it just happened that Audrey was starring in a play at a nearby theatre. Paul found out what time she came out to get into her chauffeured car at the end of every performance, and each night, Dave Brubeck had to end their set 10 minutes before that time to give Paul time to get down to the theatre and watch Audrey leave. Paul never approached her or spoke to her. When the car left, he shot back to Basin Street East for the next set. Dave asked Paul if he'd spoken to Audrey. Paul looked horrified. 'I wouldn't dream of it', he said. Paul then improvised a really beautiful song which was included on the album as Audrey.

Paul, a lifelong heavy smoker, died 30 May 1977 from lung cancer. He was 52. He never knew if Audrey heard his solo, she died from cancer at the age of 63 in January 1993. Sometime after her death, Brubeck met her husband and told him the story of the studio recording. 'D'you know if she ever heard the tune?', he asked him. 'Hear it?', her husband said. 'She had the record and every evening she played it before she went to bed. She'd listened to it on headphones when she was in the garden.' "

“Desmond was proud of his Canadian Quartet and often played in Toronto’s Bourbon Street with Ed Bickert, Don Thompson and the late Jerry Fuller. Audrey was recorded at Bourbon Street in 1975 by Don Thompson on a no longer available CD entitled “Audrey , Live in Toronto“. [Source, Jazz Journal August 2018].

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