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. (Watch them perform it here.) 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. It includes versions of “Take Five” and “The Girl from Ipanema.”
Note: This post originally appeared on our site over a decade ago. For obvious reasons, we’re bringing it back.