Dave Brubeck Take Five: Remembering a Jazz Music Legend

To people growing up in 1950s America, Dave Brubeck defined jazz music. His songs were in the top 40, his face was on the cover of TIME Magazine, and he performed on college campuses across the country. Ask your average 20-something today about Brubeck and many of them, jazz music lovers aside, won't have a firm sense of who he is. 

With Wednesday's news of Brubeck's death I encourage my fellow millennials to take a few minutes and listen to some of Brubeck's music. Brubeck changed jazz. He worked around the normal restrictions placed on jazz music, and wrote and played in tricky meters that at the time just weren't considered jazz-y.

His most universally recognizable, song "Take Five" is demonstrative of that classic Brubeck timing. During a period when Americans were used to hearing songs in 4/4 time, Brubeck's "Take Five" transpired in 5/4. 


In the 1950s, Brubeck first broke into the top 40 with a song called "Blue Rondo a la Turk" which he played as part of a quartet. Once again, timing was everything. This time, it was 9/8 time. 


The beauty of Burbeck's music speaks for itself. His death, at the age of 91, is a loss for the world of music, jazz music especially. Hopefully, our generation will keep playing Brubeck's songs and pass along the beauty of transformative work.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Elena Sheppard

Elena is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Mic. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Time Out New York, The New York Times Upfront, ABC News, and various travel publications. She is also a Princeton alum, a former Thailand resident, and a Brooklyn native.

MORE FROM

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

These are the 9 best 'America’s Got Talent' Golden Buzzer moments of all time

A look at the acts that have earned the show's distinct honor.