Gabor Szabo

Jazzpódium '74: Live in Budapest

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He will probably forever be best known by stateside rock fans for his composition "Gypsy Queen" (which Carlos Santana incorporated into his classic rendition of "Black Magic Woman"), but guitarist Gabor Szabo gained a great amount of popularity in his homeland, Hungary, with a musical style that combined jazz, rock, and music from his native region. Nearly 30 years after his death, two vintage Szabo recordings were issued from the Light in the Attic label circa the early 21st century -- Jazzpódium '74: Live in Budapest in 2009 and Jazz Raga in 2010. While Jazz Raga is a 1960s-era studio recording that contains some unmistakably Middle Eastern-like sounds, Jazzpódium '74: Live in Budapest is a stripped-down live recording that focuses primarily on Szabo's smooth, jazzy guitar lines. As its title suggests, the recording is from a 1974 performance, in this case from the taping of a television special (broadcast in two parts the following year in Hungary). And despite jazz fusion being all the rage at the time, Szabo sticks to tasteful jazz guitar à la one of his heroes, Django Reinhardt (who he even pays tribute to here on the appropriately titled tune "Reinhardt"), with such tunes as "My Foolish Heart," "Sombrero Sam," and "Thirteen." Although live recordings are not always necessarily the best way to be introduced to an artist, this does not prove to be the case with Jazzpódium '74: Live in Budapest, as the woefully underrated talents of Gabor Szabo are put on display throughout this eight-track set.