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Crate Digger’s Gold: Gabor Szabo – Rambler

January 1, 2015

Gabor Szabo

I was bragging the other day to another crate digger that I have never unintentionally purchased a duplicate of an album in my collection.  Amazingly I occasionally find albums I did not know I even had.  The other day I was looking for another record and I found this album.  I have no recollection of buying it, but given its location in the pile it must be from the last year.   I assume I picked it up because it was a CTI release.  When I picked it out of the pile I could not even tell you what instrument Szabo played (electric guitar).

I have no idea if this is album is representative of Szabo’s work, but this is very sweet soul jazz fusion LP.  After Googling Szabo I learned he had recorded “Breezen'” before George Benson and in fact accused Benson of stealing his arrangement.  Carlos Santana is said to be a huge Szabo fan.  So I am guessing this album is fairly representation and I will be looking for more.

The album opens with a composition by the session’s bassist Wolfgang Melz (who wrote 5 of 6 of the albums cuts) called “Rambler.”  It has that folk jazz flavor that Bill Frisell has perfected.  The whole album is graced by Bob James arrangements and keyboards. It is kind of dated sound, but I find that kind of cool.  Very 70s.

“It So Hard To Say Goodbye” is a beautiful melancholy song that sounds like its title.  This is not far of from a Pat Metheny ballad.

“New Love” has that mid-70s George Benson feel – very smooth pop jazz.  Szabo has his own tone and voice – he does not sound anything like Benson – just that similar pop jazz style.  Very melodic stuff.

“Reinhardt” starts side two and is the coolest song on the album (see YouTube below).  It has a Gypsy jazz sound (named after Melz’s son vs. the  Django) with all kinds of cool disjointed twist and turns.  It reminds me visually of odd angles (a good match to the album cover).

“Help Me Build a Lifetime” could easily be a Jimmy Buffett song – it is like a nice day at the beach.

The LP ends with “All Is Well” that would not sound out-of-place on Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark album. My next favorite cut on the album.  It has that classic waves lapping at the shore feel to it.  This is the only non Melz (Robert Lam) composition on the album, but it is not out of place.

This is what crate digging is all about – buying an LP you know nothing about for a couple of bucks based solely on the label (for me CTI is so reliable) and being blown away by it. I will be definitely digging into Szabo’s catalog.



One Comment
  1. Only have ‘Macho’. Time for a re listen. A remember one cut ‘Transylvania Boogie. It has that funk sound, Headhunters feel. Loved that cut. Thanks for the nudge and another great “crate dig”

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