Monday Music Quote: Dave Brubeck

 “When Brubeck chauffeured Milhaud, who didn’t drive, to the 1947 premiere, the composer pushed the young musician to, as he said, ‘be true to your instincts’ and ‘sound like who you really are.’”

Dave Brubeck

David Warren Brubeck (born December 6, 1920 in Concord, California), better known as Dave Brubeck, is a U.S. jazz pianist. Often regarded as a genius in his field, he has written a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranges from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. Much of his music employs unusual time signatures.
His long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, wrote the quartet's most famous piece, "Take Five", which is in 5/4 time. Brubeck experimented with time signatures through much of his career, recording "Pick Up Sticks" in 6/4, "Unsquare Dance" in 7/4, and "Blue Rondo à la Turk" in 9/8, an experimentation begun with his attempts to put music to the odd rhythms generated by various machines around him on his parents' cattle ranch in a small town in the western United States.

Take 5

 Dave Brubeck's classic, Take 5 uses only two chords throughout, for both the main melody and the subsequent improvisations. It's in a minor key (we've chosen F here, but the original the more challenging Eb) and the whole piece rocks back and forth between chords I and V of the scale - F and C, only instead of the traditional major chord on the fifth, we have instead a minor 7th.

So the resulting pattern is F minor - Cminor7

The next step of course is to add the famous five-in-a-bar pattern, giving three beats to F minor and two to C minor.

Melody and improvisation

The main tune (and most of the improvisation that follows) uses a traditional blues scale - here it is in F.
The key to making a convincing Take 5 sound is to move around the notes of the blues scale using the dotted rhythm found in the accompaniment. I've notated a short extract, the midi file has a longer example. 

Daves alto saxopbonist
 -- comp. Paul Desmond, 1960  
-- fingerstyle rhythm guitar "arrangement": tcg
 tbink 1, 2, 3, 1, 2
   -- 5/4  // Key of Am (CM) // Allegro

  Am7                        Em9   Em9
||---------.----------.------2=====2------||    [3 different voicing-
 ||---------5----------5------3=====3------||     versions of Am7-Em9 will
 ||o--------5----------5------4=====4-----o||     be given eventually; feel
 ||o--------5----------5------------------o||     free to interchange these
 ||----------------------------------------||     at will. . . .]
 rbytbmic motif sim tbruout-->
      duh  DAH   duh  DAH    DAH   DAH         
 --.-- = staccato
       1    & (2) &    3      1     2               
-------                                                           [<--repeat]
Am7 Em9 Am7 Em9 Am7 Em9 Am7 Em9
 ->A part
Possible SEQUENCE:
I-A*-B*-(A-B-)-"A"[extended/long improv]-A*-B*-I(fade out)...
 I have always loved this song. It seems the rest of the world does, too. How about you?!

Have a heart that never hardens and a touch that never hurts. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
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