MUSiC: Gabor Szabo, live in Hungary

Amongst other stuff – largely Jap’ jazz-fusion – I’ve been really digging Gabor Szabo recently. Perhaps especially his Magical Connection album, of 1970. I’ve known and loved a lot of his stuff for many years. But some recent re-releases have re-kindled the flame.

Searching for more stuff by him, I stumbled upon this concert (see the YouTube vid’, above). And, with wonderfully serendipitous synchronicity, he kicks off this performance with that very same John Sebastian number.

What a totally groovy album cover!

One real downer, however, is that all the music I’m currently loving, turns out to be pricey. And I’m stone cold broke! The Szabo albums I’m after are all circa £15 a pop (not inc shipping), and the Casiopea albums (and other Jap J-Fusion stuff) are more like £30 each. Aaargh!!!

I’m currently agonising over the temptation to shell out £30+for the two Ebalunga Szabo reissues, Dreams and Bacchanal

At the time of writing this part of this post I’m returning to this concert footage for a second time (and it certainly won’t be the last!), and I’m even more blown away than first time around.

Searching around the internet for the credits, it was Doug Payne to the rescue! I also found out that someone put the audio out on CD (limited edition). I’d love to have that! But for now, here’s track listing, and personnel:

Magical Connection (John Sebastian)
My Foolish Heart (V. Young/N. Washington)
Fly Me To The Moon (Bart Howard)
As Eso Ed En (The Rain & Me) (T. Somló/A. Adamis), w. Kati Kovács, voc.
Sombrero Sam (Charles Lloyd)
Django (John Lewis)
Thirteen (Szabo)
My Love (Paul & Linda McCartney), w. Kati Kovács, voc.
Reinhardt (Wolfgang Melz)
Guitar - Gabor Szabo
Electric piano - János Másik
Acoustic/electric bass - Aladár Pege
Drums/percussion - Imre Köszegi
Congas/percussion - István Dely

The material Szabo chooses is perfect, and the musicians he picked – and he was free to choose whomever he pleased! – are astonishingly good. Bassist Aladár Pege, a new name to me (but apparently Hungary’s premier bassist at the time), is pretty astonishing!

The only slight dip for me comes with Kovács’ vocals on the McCartney’s number, My Love, which are just a bit too ABBA for my tastes. But the music, probably more how the band interpret it than the original piece, is still great.

Intriguingly Szabo plays two numbers, Django and Reinhardt, respectively, in the set, kind of tipping his tile to the great Gypsy jazz pioneer.

I feel obliged to include a link to Doug Payne’s excellent and informative entry on this stuff, so here it is. This includes a translation of the interview Szabo gives (which is in Hungarian, naturally!), which is an interesting read.

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