Morello shuffles to
the left of
Brubeck’s punches, clipped, in five.
Unnoticed, Eugene drones
a woody tonic

Desmond playfully laments;
fluid phrases skirting
belly punches.
A dominant taunt,
a half-diminished leer;

he blows a kiss
and strolls the blues
as Morello throws his sticks;
Brubeck jabs and backs away
and let’s ol’ Joey have his day.

The shuffle’s reinstated
and laments are more
lamenting; the drone
is not a drone because
Brubeck punches timelessly in five.


Written in December 1989 and survives pretty much as is.  It should be obvious to all and sundry that this is an ode to Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five,’ one of the great pop jazz tunes of the last age.  I couldn’t conceive of trying to revise this at this point.  It serves as an early reminder of where I was looking for opportunities for improvement.  Nothing I could write could out due the artistry of that recording.  To me it’s a nearly flawless piece of music, a snapshot of what is possible when everyone involved is working towards the spontaneous creation of something great, while highlighting the need for each member to shine individually and within the whole at the same time and make those transitions seem effortless.