Guitarist Gabor Szabo's debut as a leader (after an important stint with the Chico Hamilton Quintet) is surprisingly successful. The reason this LP is a bit of a surprise is that the repertoire (in addition to two originals apiece by the leader and Gary McFarland) has a few unlikely songs by the Beatles ("Yesterday" and "If I Fell") and Burt Bacharach (including "Walk On By"). Usually jazz adaptations of rock songs in the 1960s are lightweight, but Szabo's original sound, the unusual instrumentation (two or three guitars, Sadao Watanabe on flute, Gary McFarland on marimba, bass, drums and percussion) and McFarland's clever arrangements uplift the music. The playing time at 35 minutes is a bit brief, but the performances are better than expected.
In the late '60s, many jazz artists were ignoring the rock and soul hits of the day – when called upon to interpret popular songs, they stuck to their favorite Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin standards and didn't see Beatles or Marvin Gaye hits as vehicles for jazz improvisation. But there were some jazz artists who didn't feel that way; Grant Green, Herbie Mann, and Charles Earland – just to give three examples – saw no reason why rock and soul tunes couldn't receive instrumental jazz makeovers. And on 1969, Gazor Szabo puts a jazz spin on popular songs of the 1960s, including "Walk Away Renee" (a major hit for the Left Banke), the Beatles' "In My Life," and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now".
Collection of unreleased Hungarian recordings of Gábor Szabó from 1978-81. Features tracks from a concert in Hotel Hilton, Budapest, in collaboration with Hungarian artists like Kati Bontovics, Gyula Babos, János Másik and István Lerch and his last recording titled 'From A Dream', recorded in the studio of the Hungarian TV.
Released in 1981 on a small Hungarian label, this 1978 session recorded in Hollywood is the guitarist's final record. "Out of the Night" interestingly pairs him with pianist Chick Corea. But the remainder of the record is a standard late-'70s fusion date without Corea, highlighted by the Return to Forever intrigue of "A Thousand Times."
Released just six months after Gypsy '66, Gabor Szabo's second album as a leader (after leaving a sublime Chico Hamilton band that also included Charles Lloyd) remains one of his finest moments in the studio. Szabo utilized the tales of bassist Ron Carter and his old boss Hamilton on drums, as well as a pair of fine Latin percussionists – Willie Bobo and Victor Pantoja. The groove quotient was very high on Spellbinder, maybe even higher than on later albums such as Jazz Raga or Sorcerer. This set is all Szabo, drifting, wafting, and soaring above all that rhythm; the track selection provides ample space for Szabo's highly individualized Eastern modal style to shine. The set opens with the title track, a snaky guitar masterpiece with plenty of droning strings and pinched chords that are followed by open string flourishes.
Macho is an album by Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó featuring performances recorded in 1975 and released on the Salvation label. The Allmusic review states "This is a tough, streetwise, commercial jazz album that has plenty to offer to anyone with an open mind. In the pocket, groove-soaked, and flawlessly executed".