Take four

Take Five is perhaps the most famous piece of music in 5/4 time. Tito Puente’s cover of the song is not in 5/4 time.

Puente's drums
RadioFan at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA

Take Five is the best selling jazz single in history, and it’s a great little tune too. I have a few covers of Take Five, and it’s always impressive to see how it sounds in different musical styles and traditions.

Sachal Studios Orchestra’s Pakistani version:

12 Girls Band’s Chinese version:

Rodrigo y Gabriela’s nuevo flamenco guitar version:

Almost all covers of Take Five follow the original’s distinctive time signature: 5/4 time, or five beats to the bar. As you might remember, I’m a sucker for unusual time signatures.

One exception to all this came from Tito Puente, the renowned master of the mambo and Latin jazz. His cover of Take Five, which you can listen to below, adds extra beats that transform the signature from 5/4 time into regular duple time: 8/8, or 4/4. It seems purposefully contrarian to take the most famous part out of one of the most famous jazz pieces, but it really works. Give it a listen:

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