Gabor Szabo – 1969

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  • A KILLER sounding copy and the first to hit the site in many years — Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
  • Both sides here are incredibly rich and full-bodied yet still clean, clear and spacious with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music
  • Superb choice of material, with a heavy emphasis on Beatles tunes — “Dear Prudence”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “In My Life” and “You Won’t See Me”, all make an appearance here
  • “Szabo acknowledges that worthwhile popular music didn’t die with George Gershwin… [he] deserves credit for bringing a jazz perspective to songs that so many other improvisers were ignoring.” – All Music

This vintage Skye pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on 1969

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar notes, not the smear and thickness so common to most LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The guitar isn’t back there somewhere, lost in the mix. It’s front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put it.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dear Prudence
Sealed With A Kiss
Both Sides Now
Walk Away Renee
You Won’t See Me
Michael From Mountains

Side Two

Stormy
In My Life
I’ve Just Seen A Face
Until It’s Time For You To Go
Somewhere I Belong

AMG  Review

… 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.” Again, there were many jazz artists who wouldn’t have touched these songs in 1969 — they would have insisted on providing yet another version of “Our Love Is Here to Stay” or “My Funny Valentine.” But Szabo acknowledges that worthwhile popular music didn’t die with George Gershwin. The Hungarian guitarist doesn’t always stretch out as much as he could on this album; at times, he ends a solo that probably should have lasted a few more minutes. But Szabo still deserves credit for bringing a jazz perspective to songs that so many other improvisers were ignoring.