1959 was a great year for jazz album releases. We've already looked at 'Kind Of Blue', the modal watershed from Miles Davis. Another classic album was recorded that same year, also at Columbia Studios in New York City: The Dave Brubeck Quartet's 'Time Out', which offered up a blend of West Coast style cool jazz while showcasing time signatures which were not in common usage in jazz at that time. One track from the album, the only one not written by Dave Brubeck, actually became a Top 40 hit single a couple of years after its initial release, and remains the top selling jazz single to this day: 'Take Five', composed by the group's alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. 'Take Five' is a tune with a high recognition factor even among folks who are not jazz fans, and one which is a nice addition to any musician's repertoire. As such, it will be the subject of this month's PMW. First, we will be in an odd meter throughout: 5/4 swing time, counted as 3 + 2. Next, building on our explorations from the last two PMWs, the A section of the tune is basically a modal vamp over 2 chords, Eb minor 7 and Bb minor 7. The B section, however... the Real Book lead sheet has quite the string of chord changes which some might find intimidating, so for our purposes here we will distill them down to their most basic essence: a modulation to Ab minor, and a i IV v in that key: Ab minor 7 Db 7/Ab Eb minor 7/Bb Eb minor 7 (the 'slash' chords indicate that the root of the voicing is not the tonic, but rather the 5th in both cases) That set of changes repeats 3x before the turnaround: Ab minor 7 B7 Bb7 That's right, folks... we've got a dominant chord (V7) this month! Here's a downloadable backing track: Here's a downloadable track with just bass and drums for anyone that wants one: And for anyone who might happen to be unfamiliar with the tune (LOL), here's a rendition by The Brubeck Quartet: Notice that they take their solos over only the modal vamp... Here's the Real Book lead sheet with the melody written out and the full changes for the B section as well, just in case you'd like to try them out on your own. The melody is a bit tricky to execute on guitar. Here's a hint as to how i play it: i begin the A section's 'call' in 8th position on the 4th string, and play everything on strings 4, 3 and 2, shifting down to 6th position to cover the 'response'. For the B section, i start on the 1st string at the 11th fret, and use only strings 1 and 2 for the entire thing. There's some use of repeated extended fingering patterns in descending sequence and some rapid back and forth position shifting on one finger involved... but it makes it sound more legato. If playing the actual melody is a bit too off-putting for you, feel free to make up your own. Go on and DIY that thang! The 'contrafact' (creating a new melodic theme over pre-existing familiar chord changes) is a common enough thing in jazz anyhow, and i wouldn't want that to be a deal breaker for any would-be participants! Good luck, have at it, and have fun!