Joe Morello on ‘Take Five’: They’re Still Playing the Damn Thing

SKF NOTE: The back story to this interview is here. In this segment, Joe Morello tells how the classic “Take Five” came to be. Caveat: Everything Joe says here was said in good humor – which can be lost with the written word.

Joe Morello: Then the 5/4 thing, where that got started…. When we were living in California where I first joined Dave [Brubeck], he use to feature me on the drum thing every night and do that “Sounds of the Loop.” And I got tired of it. So when the group would cut out [of “Sounds of the Loop“], I’d go into 5/4, see? Just to try different rhythms.

So I told Dave, “Why don’t you write me a drum solo in 5/4?” He said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ll do it. We’ll do it.”

So, I bugged him for about a year, and [Paul] Desmond said, “Well, I’ll write something.” And that’s how “Take Five” came along. It was just a throwaway. Just a setup for a drum solo. Desmond use to play a few choruses and then – out!

So the thing became popular and it started getting a lot of airplay. So, Columbia made a 45[-rpm], and that’s the story of that. That song, at the time, sold seven million albums and then singles. And it’s still selling, believe it or not. They’re still playing the damn thing.


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3 Responses to Joe Morello on ‘Take Five’: They’re Still Playing the Damn Thing

  1. Pingback: Joe Morello – The “Take Five” Cymbal Documentary | Scott K Fish

  2. Pingback: Brubeck on Roach and Odd-Time Signatures | Scott K Fish

  3. scottkfish says:

    Former MD Features Editor Rick Mattingly today wrote me this reply: “Morello told me that when they first started doing “Take Five,” Brubeck had trouble soloing in 5/4, so that’s why he just vamped through the whole thing and didn’t solo.”

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