Take Five and beyond

“Take Five” – recorded by the Dave Brubeck quartet in 1959, and composed by the group’s saxophonist, Paul Desmond – was known both as the biggest-selling jazz single of all time and, later, for its use in TV commercials for luxury sedans. “Take Five” was also written in 5/4 time. Its success kicked off a brief flurry of interest in jazz releases with irregular meters. Or, at least, interest from record companies desperate for anything to reverse already-declining sales of jazz.

Without further ado, “Take Five” is the inaugural theme for Office Naps.

1.  Billy Patt Quintett, Passion (An Act of Love) (Sabra)
Hey, never mind that it’s actually a quartet heard here.

In 1964 Patt and Co. would have been cooling down heads all over town with this smooth 5/4 cocktail. You can almost hear those matching charcoal gray wool jackets.

Sabra was a small Houston label operated by Lelan Rogers (brother of Kenny). Otherwise, no word on who Billy Patt was, though I’m guessing Billy Patt was a Los Angeles-area resident.

2. Saturday’s Children, Deck Five (Dunwich)
A classy Chicago group who wore dark Beatles suits and posed with umbrellas, Saturday’s Children had a handful of high-quality British Invasion-styled singles on the great Dunwich label, which did a lot to chronicle the city’s teeming garage band scene.

This is one of Dunwich’s stranger releases. It’s seasonal fare – seasonal fare that also happens to be an highly listenable mutation of “Take 5” and “Deck the Halls” forced into the mix like some sort of unholy Christmas frappe.

3. Hank Levine, Swingin’ Village (Dolton)
From 196, this jazzy concoction on the Seattle-to-Los-Angeles Dolton Records steers between insistent “Take 5”-style chording and melodic references to “Summertime” (another jazz hipster’s anthem).

Hank Levine mostly stayed behind the scenes in Los Angeles, racking up many, many credits to his name as a freelance Los Angeles studio producer & arranger in the ’50s and ’60s. He did issue at least a few other great 45s (including “Image” and “Portrait of a Blonde”) under his own name at the time, though, too.

4. France Gall, Pense a Moi (Just Think of Me) (Philips)
France Gall – blonde, bright, blindingly French – sings her seventeen-year-old heart out on this mad, mod version of “Take Five.”

“Pense a Moi” was from 1964, and, sadly, it was one of only a few Gall records to be released domestically. It seems that Gall, while wildly popular in her own country, was, like so many of her countrymen, ultimately just too French to ever make much of a splash anywhere else.

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4 Responses to Take Five and beyond

  1. 7883 says:

    Dear LD,
    Belated or not, beknighted or what you will, i must comment indignantly that you, even you, Little D, who knows all, tells all, and is all, have forgotten that there was a SWISS version of this disc, titled “Prenez Quatre” (it was tres vite) recorded by L’Orchestre de la Suisse Rotunde, under duress (a guest conductor) for a too-vivified Vevey village fete in 1965. Tho it rec’d just one broadcast, remembered solely for the fact that Duress fell into Lac Leman and had to be fished out with his brandy fondu still en hand in place of the more useful “baton”, nonetheless I would have expected you, Little Dan, to have noted this item in all its obscurity. (Heaven forbid that you try to play it! )
    Entre nous,
    7883danfan

  2. Dear 7883: Thanks! It’s a great background story, and I will keep my rat-like little eyes peeled for this mysterious L’Orchestre d.l. “Suisse Rotunde.”

  3. Lord Byron says:

    If I’m not mistaken, The Saturday’s Children track has been 6/8-ified.

  4. Pingback: ’60s Jangle pop | Office Naps

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