Dave Brubeck: Time Outtakes

Dec 18, 2020

The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out is a rarity. It’s an adventurous, experimental, instrumental jazz album that was also a popular success. Recorded over four sessions in the summer of 1959, the album explored unusual time signatures and produced the unlikely hit, “Take Five.” According to Billboard magazine, Time Out was the first jazz album to sell a million copies. It’s been a steady seller through the years and has since gone double platinum. 

During a career that ran from his service in World War Two until his death at the age of 92 in 2012, Dave Brubeck established himself as one of jazz’s great composers, pianists and bandleaders. His most famous and popular group was the classic quartet centered around the pianist’s remarkable musical partnership with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. The group really gelled when drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright joined in the late 1950s.

For decades, re-releases of classic jazz albums have often included alternate takes and previously unheard session tracks. But alternate takes from Brubeck’s Time Out have never been released before now because of one simple reason: no one knew they still existed.

The takes were discovered a few years ago by a pair of authors who were researching archives for new books about Brubeck, Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time by Philip Clark and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out by Stephen A. Crist. During a break in an English tour by Brubecks Play Brubeck, a band featuring three of Brubeck’s sons (Darius, piano; Chris, bass and trombone; Dan, drums), the younger Brubecks listened to the hours of music that never made it on the Time Out LP and were amazed.

“These were not just takes that weren’t used because they weren’t any good,” Chris Brubeck says. “These are actually great takes. Mainly these are better than what went on Time Out for various reasons.”

The Brubeck family decided to release this collection of previously unheard alternate performances, cleverly titled Time Outtakes, to mark the centennial of Dave Brubeck’s birth  onDecember 6, 1920.

Chris Brubeck joined Jazz Nightly and shared stories behind the making of the classic Time Out album and discussed the legacy of his famous father.