“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.