Drummer Talk

Transcription – Joe Morello’s “Take Five” Solo

One of the most influential jazz recordings of all time, Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” off the the 1959 record, Time Out features one of the most influential drum solos of all time. There’s a reason Time Out remains to top selling jazz album of all time.

time_out_coverPerformed by the amazing Joe Morello, the solo on “Take Five” is a thesis on theme and variation and motivic development.

This transcription picks up at measure 87 (around 2:33) of the track.

The solo begins with an opening 16th note crescendo motive that is built upon both dynamically and with additional development on the toms.


It eventually leaves this riff in favor of an accented dotted quarter/eighth accent pattern that is peppered with tom work as well.


This accent motive is explored further with additional development before settling back down with the sax’s return entrance.


On paper, this looks like a very straight-forward solo, with very little rhythmic complexity; however, between the odd 5/4 meter and the trans-barline phrasing, seemingly simple patterns can be tricky to pull off faithfully. Difficulty Level: 7/10

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Original Track

Live Performance



All Drummer Talk Transcriptions adhere to the PAS standard for drumset notation.
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