Top Artists – Gabor Szabo

Gabor Szabo – Mizrab – Not Recommended

xxxxx

Music Grade: D (at best)

Not recommended, a weak effort from CTI in 1972. Neither the music nor the sound, at least on the copies we played, is worth your time. 

This has been a public service review from the record loving audiophiles here at Better Records.

Gabor Szabo with Gary McFarland – Gypsy ’66

xxxxx

 

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy for the instruments or vocals in the center.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

And most of the time those very special pressings have much more energy. When you hear a copy that does all that, it’s an entirely different listening experience.

Heavy Vinyl

Speakers Corner did a very good version of this album on Heavy Vinyl back in 2002, which we recommended at the time.

Our Hot Stamper pressings will of course be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings fall short, with very few exceptions. (more…)

Gabor Szabo – Dreams – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

xxxxx
xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This original Black Label Skye LP has an EXCELLENT SIDE TWO backed with a pretty good side one.

Szabo has made a number of mediocre albums, some of which are poorly recorded, but thankfully this is not one of them. In fact, this is some of the best sound and music he produced for Skye. Side two is open and spacious with a HUGE three-dimensional soundfield that really allows you to hear into the music.

Side one is pretty darn good as well. While not quite as three-dimensional as side two it still retains some of that quality. Listen to all the crazy studio recording effects on the first track. (more…)

Gabor Szabo – More Sorcery – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

xxxxxxxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is a Minty looking Original Impulse Stereo LP with EXCELLENT sound and quiet vinyl.

This is a live recording that’s got that small jazz club feel. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds runs almost ten minutes and gives everybody involved a chance to stretch out. People is also exceptionally good here.

It’s hard to find a recording Szabo did that isn’t full of Tubey Magic, huge studio space and right-on-the-money instrumental timbres. This album is right up there with the best of his recordings, courtesy of the two top engineers noted below. (more…)

Gabor Szabo – 1969

xxxxx
xxxxx

  • 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

(more…)

Gabor Szabo 1969 – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

xxxxx
xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

Superb choice of material, with a heavy emphasis on Beatles tunes. Now how can you go wrong with Beatles tunes? Those four Beatles tunes are the highlights of this album: “Dear Prudence”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “In My Life” and “You Won’t See Me”, as well as two folkie tracks by Joni Mitchell: “Both Sides Now” and “Michael From Mountains”. A heartfelt ballad is handled with quiet and warm intimacy: Buffy Saint-Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go”. More uptempo pop classics like Bobby Hyland’s “Sealed With A Kiss”, The Classics IV’s “Stormy” and The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” round out the best of the rest.

That’s an awful lot of good material to work with! This is not Jazz Jazz, this is Pop Jazz: pop tunes played in a jazzy style. I love the stuff.

Paul Desmond – Skylark – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

More Paul Desmond

More Skylark

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

An A+++ side one backed with an A+ to A++ side two, both on quiet vinyl! We just finished our first big shootout for this fun album that features Gabor Szabo on guitar and this was one of the best copies we heard, especially on the first side where nothing else could compare.

Side one has got that CTI magic that you only get on their very best pressings. The sound is lively, full-bodied and tonally correct from top to bottom. It’s also very open and transparent, giving you lots of space between the various instruments. The top end is Right On The Money — listen to how natural and correct the ride cymbal sounds on the opening number. Most copies we played had a tendency to sound recessed and reserved, but this one has the kind of presence and energy that this music needs to sound ALIVE. A+++ all the way! (more…)

Chico Hamilton – The Further Adventures of El Chico

More Chico Hamilton

The Further Adventures of El Chico

xxxxx

  • Insanely good Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish and the first copy to ever hit the site! 
  • These sides, recorded brilliantly by one of our favorite engineers, Bob Simpson, are big, full-bodied and present, with plenty of Tubey Magic and set on a a huge, three-dimensional soundstage
  • The record features the amazing Gabor Szabo along with other top players like Clark Terry and Ron Carter
  • Great pop jazz with excellent sound; if you’re a fan of Gabor Szabo, this music will be right up your alley

(more…)

Chico Hamilton – The Further Adventures of El Chico

More Gabor Szabo

More The Further Adventures of El Chico

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This very nice looking Impulse LP with No Bar Code features the amazing Gabor Szabo along with other top players like Clark Terry and Ron Carter.

Good pop jazz with excellent sound (except for the first track), and it plays quietly.

If you like Gabor Szabo, this record might be right up your alley.

The fold-open cover, with a paste-on back, has a small Promo hole in the bottom left hand corner. This record looks brand new!

“Chico Hamilton, a subtle and creative drummer, will probably always be better known for the series of quintets that he led during 1955-1965 and for his ability as a talent scout than for his fine drumming.” — AMG

Gabor Szabo with Gary McFarland – Gypsy ’66 – Heavy Vinyl Reviewed

More Gabor Szabo

More Gypsy ’66

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: B?

We haven’t played a copy in years, but we think this is probably one of the better Speakers Corner jazz albums.  They cut this album on Heavy Vinyl back in 2002, which we recommended at the time.

Our Hot Stamper pressings will of course be dramatically more transparent, open, clear and just plain REAL sounding, because these are all the areas in which heavy vinyl pressings fall short, with very few exceptions.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Yesterday
The Last One To Be Loved
The Echo Of Love
Gypsy ’66

Side Two

Flea Market
Walk on By
If I Fell
Gypsie Jam
I’m All Smiles

AMG Review

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.