He responded with Time Further Out (1961), an album far more creative than the title suggests. Subtitled Miro Reflections, the idea was to musically interpret the painting that adorns the cover. Artist Joan Miro called it PAINTING 1925.
Brubeck continues his experiments with modes of time - everything from blues to ragtime, boogie woogie to the waltz are explored. Personal favorites are “Bluette,” and the wild 7/4 “Unsquare Dance.” What the connection these tunes have to the abstract cover art are anyone’s guess, but they all sound fantastic. This reissue adds two bonus cuts, “Slow And Easy,” and a live version of “It’s A Raggy Waltz” from Carnegie Hall.
Countdown: Time In Outer Space (1962) was next. Despite the title, this is anything but Space Age Bachelor Pad music. Brubeck may have been listening to the marketing department in regards to naming his albums, but nobody got in the way of his music. This is one of the most creative records of his career, and also one of the least well known.
It begins with “Countdown.” Listening to the introductory tympani solo was one of the strangest things I have come across in quite a while. Evidently this album made its way to Australia, and into the record collection of the Young family. The Angus Young of AC/DC fame family that is. Subconsciously or otherwise, the famous opening riff of that group’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” was lifted note for note from Brubeck’s “Countdown.” It is bizarre, but there is no mistaking it.
Elsewhere, we find the Quartet covering the classic “Someday My Prince Will Come,” to excellent effect. Incidentally, fellow Columbia Records artist Miles Davis had issued his version of the tune as the title track of an album the previous year.
There are also four pieces on Countdown from Brubeck’s first ballet, A Maiden In The Tower. They are titled “Fast Life,” “Waltz Limp,” “Three’s A Crowd,” and “Danse Duet,” and form a remarkable miniature suite. The bonus track appended is titled "Fatha," presumably a tribute to pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines.