THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET Time Out (Classic Records)
This is an audiophile 180 gram vinyl reissue of the 1959 album that, arguably more than any other, introduced jazz to an alien white middle class audience. Sonically Classic Records have done these tapes proud, resulting in a "Time Out" that sparkles far brighter than the CD version, happily losing the dodged, distorted saxophone opening to "Blue Rondo A La Turk" that always smarted whenever I listened to it.
The success of "Time Out" rides on the back of one tune. "Take Five" is probably the most popular modern jazz single in history (it reached number six in Britain, an environment where artists such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane failed to trouble the chart compilers at all), and forty years later it still sounds marvellous - the way Joe Morello's drum solo sneaks out from under Brubeck's thumping piano vamping denies analysis.
The remainder of the album plays similar tricks with time signatures, with varying results. "Blue Rondo A La Turk" is the other tune you'll recognise, which flits from exuberant 9/8 folk rhythms to stomping blues with scant regard for convention. Sometimes, however, the melodies on "Time Out" sound more like the desperate patterings of laboratory rodents as the quartet prod them into increasingly unnatural behaviour under the guise of research - experimental, in the least attractive sense of the work, although possibly little different from the activities of today's post-rock artists such as Tortoise. Nevertheless, even though "Time Out" might not have bred a legacy of popular music travelling in twisted time signatures, it still sounds (mostly) fresh and fun today, and for that at least it deserves your attention.