Dave Brubeck Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Time Out at The Blue Note in NYC

Dave Brubeck image 0
Don Hunstein

Dave Brubeck

It’s been 50 years since Dave Brubeck released Time Out for Columbia Records. Now he intends to celebrate that milestone with three nights of performances at The Blue Note in New York City, from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, November 29. Performing with Brubeck will be his long-time band featuring Bobby Militello on saxophones, clarinet and flute; Michael Moore on bass, and Randy Jones on drums.

Brubeck had already tasted some commercial success with his Jazz at Oberlin album, but the reaction of the public towards Time Out was beyond the expectations of the musicians and the label. Time Out was recorded in 1959 with perhaps Brubeck’s most famous group with Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Almost immediately after release, the album became a best-seller, as rare then as now for a jazz recording. Its success was propelled in no small part by two hit singles. Desmond’s “Take Five” with its tricky time signatures went on to become one of the most performed songs in the jazz book and Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo ala Turk” based in part on a Turkish folk melody likewise became a standard. Both songs appeared in jukeboxes all over the country. To this day, “Take Five” is one of the only straight-ahead jazz songs that are played on Smooth Jazz radio stations. Although that band eventually broke up in 1967, the group toured all over the world and Brubeck became known as an ambassador of jazz. And no matter where he played, whether it be a college campus in the Midwest or an embassy in the Middle East, audiences clamored to hear songs from Time Out.

In recognition of a half-century passing since that album’s release, Sony/Legacy released a special 3-disc edition of Time Out featuring the original album (remastered for the first time since 1997) in its entirety, a CD of eight previously unreleased live performances from the 1961, 1963 and 1964 Newport Jazz Festivals, and a DVD with a 30-minute documentary on the making of Time Out, with an exclusive Brubeck interview, extensive performance footage and more.

A week later, on December 6, 2009, on his 89th birthday, Brubeck will be honored at the Kennedy Center as part of that institution’s prestigious Honors Gala, previewed at jazztimes.com earlier this year.