"Take Five" is a jazz piece written by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet on their 1959 album Time Out. Recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studios in New York City on June 25, July 1, and August 18, 1959, this piece became one of the group's best-known records, famous for its distinctive, catchy saxophone melody and use of the unusual quintuple (5/4) time, from which its name is derived. While "Take Five" was not the first jazz composition to use this meter, it was one of the first in the United States to achieve mainstream significance, reaching #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey, the precursor to today's Adult Contemporary charts, in 1961, two years after its initial release.
"Take Five" was re-recorded and performed live multiple times by The Dave Brubeck Quartet throughout the group's career. In addition, there have been many covers of the piece. Some versions also feature lyrics, including a 1961 recording with lyrics written by Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola, sung by Carmen McRae. Al Jarreau performed an unusual scat version of the song in Germany in 1976.
"Take Five" has been included in countless movies and television soundtracks, and still receives significant radio play.
Upon his death in 1977, Desmond left the rights to royalties for performances and compositions, including "Take Five", to the American Red Cross, which has since received combined royalties of approximately $100,000 per year.