So what is Time Out itself, then? Sometimes I wonder if it is the greatest jazz record I have ever heard. Then I put it next to an album released that very same year by Miles Davis: Kind of Blue. I wonder if 1959 was the greatest year jazz has ever known.
What I come away with from all of that though are either two brilliant recordings, or two gospels. The reason both of those albums remain among the bestselling jazz albums of all time is because they are a state of mind—and I hope Analogue Productions gets the chance to work on Kind of Blue. But for now, they (and we) have Time Out. They are two sides of the same coin—Miles, Coltrane, and Bill Evans reflected. Brubeck is jump-starting the next generation with Time Out.
As beautiful as some of Paul Desmond’s solos are on Time Out, the focus is ahead. And it still feels that way. Listen to it. Brubeck’s music is as abstract, and as forward-looking today as it was in 1959. Nobody makes images, or music like this. The forward movement inherent in “Blue Rondo A La Turk,” “Take Five,” or “Pick Up Sticks” is permanent, as are the quieter moments such as “Strange Meadow Lark,” or “Kathy’s Waltz.”
I cannot imagine there is a better sounding recording of Time Out than this SACD. And, it also happens to be one of the greatest jazz albums I have ever heard.