In 1959, The Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded Time Out, an album that’s become a classic. It was significant in that all of the songs were recorded in odd meters, i.e. not in 4/4 (common), 3/4 (waltz), or 2/2 (cut) time, which account for about 90% of the songs in popular music. The best-known song off the album is “Take Five,” and it’s also one of the first jazz tunes that got under my skin. WGN-TV in Chicago used it as the theme for its late movie; I had a habit of being up late enough to watch it. If you’ve never heard it, where have you been? Seriously, here’s the Brubeck Quartet’s version of it. As always, this isn’t in the running; I’m just putting it here so you can hear the original.

This song has been covered a number of times. Two of the versions are below, and you get to pick which one is your favorite.

CONTESTANT #1: Tito Puente

CONTESTANT #2: Al Jarreau

I never knew this song had lyrics, but then, Al doesn’t need lyrics.

Now, it’s time to vote…

Which version of “Take Five” did you like better? Tito Puente’s version with all the appropriate Latin percussion, of which he is a master? Or Al Jarreau’s vocal/scat version, of which he’s a master? Let me know in the comments which was your favorite, and maybe the reason you liked it. Then, when you’ve finished with that, how’s about checking out the other Battles going on today?

Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Tossing It Out
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting and Editing
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

If I’ve missed anyone, the most up-to-date list is on either of the first two blogs above.

I’ll announce the winner of today’s battle this Saturday, February 6, so be sure and have your vote in no later than Friday at midnight. Best of luck to Tito and Al!


Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

19 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Take Five””

  1. Classic song from a fantastic album. Sometime in the past Stephen T McCarthy used the Puente version against Brubeck’s original if I’m not mistaken

    Al Jarreau is such a talented guy. I like his version though I could probably only take a few listenings to it or just occasional.

    ON the other hand the version by Puente is such a musical tour de force that I’ve gotta go with this one. Tito Puente it is!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


  2. Very odd that you’d post this today. I’ve been thinking that my ringtone song on my husband’s cell should be… Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. And then, here you are writing about that very song. Trippy.

    But as for Tito v Al, the real reason you wrote this post, I have no opinion. I’m a Brubeck sort of girl. 🙂


  3. I don’t remember this song as WGN’s late movie theme and surely I’ve heard it before. WGN is a popular station around the country and I’m sure that I’ve watched their late movies of yesteryear. I guess I just didn’t pay attention.
    As for your battle: Tito Puente all the way! I’m not a huge jazz fan and don’t like the scat style. Al Jarreau deserves praise though. He does a good job with his version. But I could listen to Tito’s version all day!

    Great battle John.

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. WGN probably replaced “Take Five” as the theme for the movie after a while. I know it was the theme they used in the ’60’s and ’70’s. Also, when I say “late movie,” I’m talking about the one they’d show around 1 AM, not the one at 10 PM. Is that the one you were thinking of?


      1. Well, not sure. I’ve always been a night-owl so I’m typically up at all hours of the night. Like right now it’s about 1:30am and I’m working on my taxes…


  4. John, I have heard this oldie. I’m not sure how it was introduced to me now. It’s interesting this song has lyrics. I didn’t know this, either. Of course, I think I prefer the instrumental version the best still. Give my vote to Tito Puente. I just love all the brass! Good BOTB!


  5. I love Al Jarreau music, and I love the song Take Five. But for some reason, the two don’t mix well. I have heard Al’s version before, but have never enjoyed it fully. But Tito does the song amazingly well. I love his version and I’m giving my vote to him. Thanks for this battle, it was a great song choice. I need to do another jazz battle on my blog soon.


  6. I like Al Jarreau, and he does a great job with ‘Take five’, but after a few minutes the vocals did start to annoy me.

    Tito Puente on the other hand…I could listen to all day. Give him the nod from me.


  7. JOHN ~
    Yep, Lee was right, I used this TITO PUENTE version in a BOTB against the Brubeck original back on July 1st of last year. It was actually a fairly close contest (considering the Brubeck original is THE flat-out Jazz classic of all time) with Brubeck winning 16 to 11.

    Although I’d grown up hearing Jazz, from my Parents’ record collection, it was really Brubeck’s ‘TAKE FIVE’ (which I discovered through the ‘American Pop’ movie soundtrack) that really turned me into a Jazz fan. Nothing could top the Brubeck original.

    But I think TITO PUENTE’s cover is “FANTASTICO!” – man, that is some seriously HOT SALSA! In my own BOTB contest, my vote went to Brubeck, of course, but it was really kind of a 60%-40% decision.

    I do like Al Jarreau, but in this Battle, my vote goes 100% to 0% in favor of TITO PUENTE.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  8. I remember when Stephen hosted this battle. I can’t recall who I voted for back then. If I remember right, it was Tito Puente. It was a close race for me. However, today Tito Puente easily gets my vote.


  9. OK, I am being honest-I could not listen all the way through with Al Jerreau-he was driving me bonkers! If you want to torture me, that is the way:) I love Tito Puente’s version-it was great so put me down for Tito


  10. Sorry I missed this battle before you tallied the votes – I am way slow to get around to listening and voting these days, but hopefully that clears up soon. I will make yours my first stop during the next Battle!


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