Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. To honor the occasion, his family organized a release of recently-discovered recordings from the 1959 session that resulted in Time Out, Brubeck’s masterpiece and an album that helped redefine jazz. The cleverly titled Time Outtakes provides an interesting peek into the creative process.
One might find it shocking that such an innovative and genre-redefining album came to be over the course of one day-long session, with two short touch-up sessions a few weeks later. Time Outtakes contains the material recorded at the all-day session on June 25, 1959; for this album, that includes five of the album’s seven tracks, two unreleased numbers, and a compilation of studio banter. The album is arranged roughly the same as Time Out, presenting an interesting alternate version of the original.
Time Out contains “Blue Rondo A La Turk” and “Take Five,” perhaps his most famous recordings. The Time Outtakes versions sound little a rough around the edges, yet still delight. “Blue Rondo” is slightly longer, while one should be thankful Brubeck abandoned the fast tempo version of “Take Five.” It simply sounds way, way too fast, and the nuance of the unhurried version is lost. But perhaps the biggest revelation of these alternate takes is that of “Cathy’s Song,” issued here with the correct spelling. Some have speculated of the song’s influence on Paul McCartney. Listen closely and you will notice a striking similarity to The Beatles’ “All My Loving,” which isn’t surprising. After all, father Jim was a pianist and brother Michael a jazz fan.
The two previously unreleased recordings, “I’m In The Mood for Dancing” and “Watusi Jam,” aren’t really new; the former had been released as a single three years prior, while the latter was a live staple. Brubeck would play around with both numbers throughout the Quartet’s existence. The final track, a collection of studio banter, offers a glimpse of Brubeck joking around with his band.
Add in loving tributes and commentary from Brubeck’s children and Time Outtakes is a nice compendium to a true jazz milestone. Time Out is the place to start—it’s the sort of record any music fan should own—but this little offering provides a lovely alternate view of one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.
Purchase Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Outtakes: Amazon