Pakistani Musicians Play a Delightful Version of Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Classic, “Take Five”

How’s this for fusion? Here we have The Sachal Stu­dios Orches­tra, based in Lahore, Pak­istan, play­ing an inno­v­a­tive cov­er of “Take Five,” the jazz stan­dard writ­ten by Paul Desmond and per­formed by The Dave Brubeck Quar­tet in 1959. Before he died in 2012, Brubeck called it the “most inter­est­ing” ver­sion he had ever heard. Once you watch the per­for­mance above, you’ll know why.

Accord­ing to The Guardian, The Sachal Stu­dios Orches­tra was cre­at­ed by Izzat Majeed, a phil­an­thropist based in Lon­don. When Pak­istan fell under the dic­ta­tor­ship of Gen­er­al Zia-ul-Haq dur­ing the 1980s, Pakistan’s clas­si­cal music scene fell on hard times. Many musi­cians were forced into pro­fes­sions they had nev­er imag­ined — sell­ing clothes, elec­tri­cal parts, veg­eta­bles, etc. What­ev­er was nec­es­sary to get by. Today, many of these musi­cians have come togeth­er in a 60-per­son orches­tra that plays in a state-of-the-art stu­dio, designed part­ly by Abbey Road sound engi­neers.

You can pur­chase their album, Sachal Jazz: Inter­pre­ta­tions of Jazz Stan­dards & Bossa Nova, on Ama­zon and iTunes. It includes ver­sions of “Take Five” and “The Girl from Ipane­ma.”

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’ Per­formed on a Gayageum, a Tra­di­tion­al Kore­an Instru­ment

Talk­ing Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” Per­formed on Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Instru­ments

An Uplift­ing Musi­cal Sur­prise for Dave Brubeck in Moscow (1997)

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Comments (77)
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  • Derek C. F. Pegritz says:

    There sim­ply are not words expres­sive enough to describe how frig­gin’ AWESOME this is. I bet John Coltrane, with his abid­ing inter­est in Eastern/Western musi­cal crossover, would’ve dug this the mostest!

  • Anonymoose says:

    This is bril­liant. Just exquis­ite.

  • ayo says:

    I rolled my eyes when I first saw the title think­ing, “What is so great about jazz play­er of a dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ty play­ing jazz?” Once I start­ed play­ing the video and saw the instru­ments with which they were play­ing some Brubeck, I was amazed. Thanks for shar­ing, this was fan­tas­tic.

  • captaincasual says:

    Some­thing of the imme­di­a­cy of the Desmond/Brubeck per­for­mance is lack­ing…

  • peter shockledge says:

    How won­der­ful was that !!!!!!!! Just goes to show that all men are equal in the eyes of music, Sim­ply fan­tas­tic thank you.

  • Naresh Kotak says:

    Just Fantastic.Loved every bit of it. What a tal­ent­ed group of artists.
    Thank you.

  • maryanne says:

    Just loved it. thank you.

  • Roy Haliday says:

    This piece here about Brubeck­’s engage­ment with Indi­an musi­cians throws fas­ci­nat­ing new light on this Pak­istani record­ing:

  • Gogi Bajaj says:

    Music musi­cians sans bar­ri­ers

  • Beg says:

    Sim­ply bril­liant exe­cu­tion, par excel­lence!!

  • Tondalaya gillespie says:

    Fantasttic.…al-hamdilillah.…shabash hai!!!!!

  • Tim says:

    I can only say “amen” to all the pos­i­tive respons­es here.

  • Aine de Barra says:

    What an inspir­ing and won­der­ful way to lis­ten to this epic piece of jazz.. Beau­ti­ful

  • Yael Parnes says:

    Take five has always been one of my favourite pieces of music. I had no idea what to expect from this ver­sion, but I am glad I have heard it. It’s sim­ply amaz­ing.

  • Jauhar Munir Shaikh says:

    Amaz­ing ! Just shows how music has no bar­ri­ers. Hope to see more from this tal­ent­ed bunch .

  • MS says:

    How inspir­ing! This is a great ren­di­tion. Kudos on a job well done!

  • Tahir Saleem says:

    I can­not wait for their ren­di­tion of the James Bond Theme!

  • Dennis Brunet says:

    Just amaz­ing.

  • Raj says:

    Music has no bound­ries in East or West or Pak­istan or Hin­dus­tan! Fan­tas­tic

  • Music is life, Life is music ! If you understand than you want to understand more says:

    Very inspi­ra­tional ‚amaz­ing skills and talent.Enjoyed !!!

  • Dean says:

    Absolute­ly fan­tas­tic ren­di­tion of this great clas­sic. Bra­vo!

  • haroon Mahomed says:

    Gr8 stuff

  • yusuf cajee says:

    Politi­cians Beware, Musi­cians are on a warpath to destroy the myth that East can’t mix and live with the West in har­mo­ny! STOP the WARS!Let the peo­ple learn from each oth­er; not just the greedy cor­po­rates to enrich their cof­fers.

  • Paul Williams says:

    Won­der­ful ! I can’t wait to get their CD.
    Your pre­vi­ous email­er is right the inter­na­tion­al lan­guage of music tran­scends any­thing politi­cians can achieve.
    I don’t under­stand why mus­lims I know are dis­cour­aged from study­ing music.

  • Alexov says:

    Paul Williams won­ders why mus­lims are dis­cour­aged from study­ing music? If that is, in fact, true, it would prob­a­bly be because it might be hard to find the will of Allah in the deci­sions of musi­cians who play accord­ing to their own will. And of course we also see, the world over, how musi­cians are adored by the mass­es, who obvi­ous­ly should only be ador­ing Allah. Look at all the dec­o­ra­tive art in the Mus­lim world, and you’ll not find any sig­na­tures at the bot­tom. But in music, the artist is revered and well known, either local­ly or world­wide.

    • Joe degimedia says:

      It is strange how many posts on here are ques­tion­ing the reli­gion or cul­ture of the musi­cians. Do musi­cians in oth­er cul­tures have to jus­ti­fy their reli­gious beliefs?

    • Joe degimedia says:

      It is strange how many posts on here are ques­tion­ing the reli­gion or cul­ture of the musi­cians. Do musi­cians in oth­er cul­tures have to jus­ti­fy their reli­gious beliefs?

  • nicholas robinson says:

    Like I just told a good musi­cian friend, to see a bunch of Pak­istani men sit­ting around NOT plan­ning jihad — not only NOT plan­ning it but actu­al­ly play­ing the “for­bid­den” “West­ern” music almost made me weep with grat­i­tude — that there are actu­al­ly still a few sane peo­ple left on the plan­et. The courage it took just for them to do what they’ve done is incred­i­ble, con­sid­er­ing what the Tal­iban would do with them if they were ever caught.

    It’s real­ly sad that I’m low­ered to the depths of think­ing in those terms but real­ly fan­tas­tic that these guys are doing what they’re doing. I’m going to buy their album — they’re all incred­i­bly good musi­cians!

    And that Kore­an instru­ment is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard. Next thing you know, there will be a gang of Bornean head­hunters play­ing “Help!” on wood blocks.

    • VRM says:

      Nicholas­nY­ou are show­ing your igno­rance and short sight­ed­ness. You west­ern­ers are not only myopic, but are so igno­rant, that it makes one laugh. The Kore­an instru­ment that you talk about is the Indi­an Sitar. Do some research before putting pen to paper, and if you do not know of things, keep your mouth shut, instead of mak­ing a fool of your­self.

    • VRM says:

      Nicholas­nY­ou are show­ing your igno­rance and short sight­ed­ness. You west­ern­ers are not only myopic, but are so igno­rant, that it makes one laugh. The Kore­an instru­ment that you talk about is the Indi­an Sitar. Do some research before putting pen to paper, and if you do not know of things, keep your mouth shut, instead of mak­ing a fool of your­self.

    • Joe degimedia says:

      Hold the mir­ror up to the USA bud­dy…

    • Joe degimedia says:

      Hold the mir­ror up to the USA bud­dy…

  • Yasmin Bokhari says:

    Beau­ti­ful piece of music. Pak­istan has great tal­ent. Very inspir­ing indeed. Can’t wait to hear more.

  • Majid says:

    Nicolas…alas you are so sad­ly off the-track that it is very fun­ny! You lump a vibrant nation of 180 mil­lion peo­ple the actions of a few thou­sand extrem­ists. Pak­istan has a vibrant cul­tur­al scene that spans all forms of artis­tic expres­sion. Cities like Lahore (18 Mil­lion), Karachi (30 Mil­lion +), Islam­abad etc. have always had a bent towards exper­i­men­ta­tion in music, dance etc. by express­ing Pak­istani inter­pre­ta­tions of west­ern music and dra­ma. Remem­ber that there is a long his­to­ry of the arts in Pak­istan dat­ing back to Mohen­jo Daro & Hara­pa.

    • johne says:

      M. I under­stand your frus­tra­tion. Most of us are very aware of the Indus Val­ley Civil­i­sa­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we are more aware that there are far too many weirdos in Pak­istan who seem to doing exact­ly what Nic is talk­ing about. Of course there also peo­ple in Vir­ginia who are also plot­ting sim­i­lar crimes in their quest for so called democ­ra­cy. Just look at what they have done to Iraq!nThe down side to all this that peo­ple like me will nev­er vis­it places like Lahore in case we get blown up as we wan­der the streets- or get hit by a drone.

  • Rana says:

    Amaz­ing.… Nice music… Thanks lot..

  • Damian says:

    Fan­tas­tic ver­sion …

  • William Lanteigne says:

    I’d like to hear their ver­sion of “Rhap­sody in Blue.”

  • tgottschling says:

    Nice sound for a beau­ti­ful day with an Octo­ber sky.

  • Very good! I loved it!

  • Jayarava says:

    One of the inter­est­ing things about this is that they stay in 5/4 time for the impro­vised sec­tions, where Brubeck and co slip into 4/4 at that point.

  • Peace to All says:

    WOW for the first time ever I am tak­en aback by the tal­ent and beau­ti­ful ren­di­tion. This is a pos­i­tive as music has no bound­aries. Pak­istan you do have san­i­ty that’s being hid­den by a few. Come out and over­come the evil in your coun­try. May the music you make con­quer all evil. The world and Pak­ista­nis in gen­er­al would love you to spread Peace through your music.nYou have cer­tain­ly made an impact on me. More than I can say for your bul­lets, mis­siles and bombs. You have re- dis­cov­ered your strength all pow­er to you. Thank you and a hun­dred stand­ing ova­tions to you.

  • VRM says:

    Bril­liant. Music is uni­ver­sal

  • Simon Lopez says:

    The lack of females is dis­turb­ing.

    • susimann says:

      the lack of females in the music indus­try is dis­turb­ing period..I don’t for exam­ple remem­ber the female mem­bers of the Dave Brubeck quar­tet. Why not just enjoy it for the for the skill­ful musi­cian­ship it is rather than look­ing for spu­ri­ous rea­sons to crit­i­cize??

      • robert smith says:

        Simon made a valid point. They may be good musi­cians but they also seem to have a flair for gen­der aparteid.

        • Joe degimedia says:

          I have to agree with susi­mann, how many famous jazz musi­cians from the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry were female? That being said, maybe simon has a good point. Per­haps we should look deep­er into this issue.

          • robert smith says:

            Joe, I guess you’ll nev­er know how many famous female Pak­istani jazz musi­cians there are as they are not allowed to prac­tice or play next to men!

  • Alison says:

    That is absolute­ly fan­tas­tic! I’ve always loved this piece of music and this is a won­der­ful spin on it.

  • Abbas says:

    If any­body is inter­est­ed in Pak­istani fusion music they should check out Coke Stu­dio Pak­istan. Awe­some music. nFor starters try ’ Kangna” a Qawal­li by Farid Ayaz.

  • Razzak says:

    Coke Stu­dio Pak­istan is fan­tas­tic. Plen­ty of females too.nTry ‘jug­ni’ by Arif and Meesa Shafi!

  • Razzak says:

    Check out this video on YouTube:nn

  • Calmcarl says:

    Thank you, that is exquis­ite.

  • nooruddin says:


  • D Laird says:

    Loved this, what a great sound.

  • Luciana Villar says:


  • Mary Jones says:


  • Ash says:

    This is epic! Unfor­tu­nate­ly there are some peo­ple here who are dis­cussing reli­gion instead of music. Peo­ple who are say­ing that music is not allowed to be played in Pak­istan or those who think that female singers are not allowed to sing with men are absolute­ly wrong. They believe what their media is telling them when in fact the truth is just the oppo­site. The music scene in Pak­istan is very vibrant and there is no dearth of female singers here who not only sing with men but also per­form around the world. There are no restric­tions by the ter­ror­ist like some peo­ple believe, in fact those ter­ror­ists don’t have any con­trol or say in what any­one should be doing and how things should work. Pak­istan is not being run by Tal­iban. They are mere ter­ror­ists who car­ry out ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties but peo­ple are liv­ing freely and they can do any­thing they want to. In the end I would like to say thank you for shar­ing this amaz­ing video!

  • Caleb says:

    Absolute­ly bril­liant, I love this. Very tal­ent­ed group, would love to buy a record­ing. Thanks for post­ing

  • Muza­ko ak chance cahiye ,
    May rap song’s gata hu,
    Agar aap muza­ko ak chance dey tho may aap ko aucha karke dikhu gaa, (ONE CHANCE)??????????

  • Lesli Sharples HND Bus, BA(Hons), ARBS, MA says:

    This ver­sion is the best I have ever heard!!!, huge thanks to all involved. I first came across it on Jazz FM Radio­play­er (online) but missed the title orches­tra. I searched it and here I am now. This piece is absolute­ly awsome! Lesli.

  • Fayçal says:

    Thank you for shar­ing this amaz­ing east­ern-west­ern ver­sion (it means inter­cul­tur­al) of TF.
    Bril­lant and com­fort­ing. I join all the pos­i­tive and enthu­si­as­tic com­men­taries.

  • tgottschling says:

    Strange com­ment.

  • Attila Kígyósi (Hungary) says:

    This music is the real Won­der. Reminds me, there will be a world when we will not need words, lan­guages. It is called heav­en or NOW or any­thing else. This music will be there. Lennon dreamt such kind a world like this one.

    Have the glo­ri­ous light!

  • Ronald Joseph Kule says:

    Any­one who does not like this cov­er is… DEAF!

  • Nancy B says:

    Splen­did ver­sion. Very beau­ti­ful­ly orches­trat­ed. Hap­py to have found this page

  • marg coursey says:

    my mot­to since i 1st became famil­iar with the tune “take five”

  • Carolyn Zaremba says:

    What is the name of the sitar play­er? He’s tremen­dous. All of them are. Well done, indeed! Love it!

  • Bernard Dessoy says:

    I am a jazz musi­cian myself and a fan of good jazz music, who­ev­er plays it.
    The reli­gious aspect inter­ests me, I am not reli­gious but I have read the Bible and the Koran and there is no con­dem­na­tion of music. If only Allah is to be wor­shipped, why do Mus­lims wor­ship Mohammed? As I under­stand it he is mere­ly a mes­sen­ger. If there is a cre­ator, what is wrong with cre­at­ing music?
    Female jazz musi­cians? How about Elianne Elias, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzger­ald, Rober­ta Gam­bari­ni, Lau­ra Fygi, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh etc. etc. etc.
    Long live Jazz, one of the most cre­ative of art forms.

  • Jasi Magon says:

    It will be nice to be a mem­ber of your asso­ci­a­tion and will be pleased to learn more about your asso­ci­a­tion.
    I thank you very much and wish you all A Very Hap­py New Year.
    With best regards .
    Jasi Magon

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