Saturday 11 May 2019

Star Wars and all that jazz (à la Dave Brubeck)

Published on Jun 2, 2008 by buckinny
YouTube: Dave Brubeck - Take Five

Wikipedia: Take Five
"Take Five" is a jazz standard composed by Paul Desmond and originally recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet for their 1959 album Time Out. Made at Columbia Records' 30th Street Studio in New York City on July 1, 1959, fully two years later it became an unlikely hit[a] and the biggest-selling jazz single ever. Revived since in numerous movie and television soundtracks, the piece still receives significant radio airplay.

Musical style
Written in the key of E♭ minor, "Take Five" is known for its distinctive two-chord (E♭m / B♭m7) piano vamp; catchy blues-scale saxophone melody; inventive, jolting drum solo; and unusual quintuple (5/4) time, from which it derives its name.

Although released as a single on September 21, 1959, "Take Five" fulfilled its chart potential only when reissued in May 1961, that year reaching No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 (October 9), No. 5 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart (October 23) and No. 6 on the UK Record Retailer chart (November 16). The single is a different recording than the LP version and omits most of the drum solo.

May the Five/Fourth Be With You
On May 4 2019, I ran across the following meme on social media. Amused, I passed it along to family and friends.

I then had second thoughts and made some inquiries. Much to my horror, nobody got the joke. I'm not a stand-up comedian, but I can imagine being at the mic and hearing a room full of crickets. At least they're not booing and throwing rotten tomatoes.

For the uninitiated, let me explain everything. If you know some of this, bear with me as it may now be better to over-explain.

"May the force be with you" is a catchphrase from the Star Wars movie franchise. May 4th is considered "Star Wars Day" based on the pun "May the Fourth be with you". (Wikipedia)

The jazz composition "Take Five" is written in the time signature of 5/4, a pun on the expression "take five (minutes as a break)".

5/4 also works as May 4th, May being the 5th month of the year.

Well, that pretty much beats this joke to death. Is there anything left for even a chuckle? I'm reminded of times where I've had to explain a piece of humor, and the other person finally says, "I get it now." Unfortunately, when they say "I get it", that's usually accompanied by a smile of sympathy with the subliminal message, "You tried. I'm being polite. But that sucked, and I mean royally."

If I ever get a time machine, I'll now go back and do two things:

1. Kill baby Hitler*.

2. Unsend my email with the Dave Brubeck Day meme.


* Yes, killing baby Hitler is a thing. See TV Tropes.

Cultural References
In discussing Dave Brubeck with my brother (He didn't get the 5/4 joke.), he mentioned seeing the following meme. We talked about humor based on cultural references. I'm not a follower of sports, but like most in North America, I'm familiar with the game. I don't necessarily have to know the player pictured: Chin-lung Hu (b 1984), Taiwanese professional baseball player (Wikipedia). However, I do have to know the 1938 Abbott & Costello radio routine "Who's on first?". (Wikipedia). If I don't, this meme makes no sense.

I've never seen the TV series Breaking Bad, or the Lord of the Rings films, or even the Netflix series Game of Thrones. And yet, I know enough that I understand what GOT means (acronym of Game Of Thrones). I realise that to appreciate any late night comedy TV monologue, we need to understand cultural references as a number of the jokes reference politics and entertainment. We have to know what's going on. We have to be aware of the latest news.

May the farce be with you.

Published on Jan 22, 2012 by Tori Chitic
YouTube: Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Live in Belgium 1964: Paul Desmond (alto sax), Joe Morello (drums), Eugene Wright (bass) and Dave Brubeck (piano)

I ran across another musical joke. It's been years since I did anything musical, so I had to double check the key signature for B minor. (Wikipedia). Yup, two sharps: It's relative major being D major. Once again, if you don't know anything about the technical side of music, this joke won't be funny.


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