Gabor Szabo: Spellbinder
Gabor Szabo (guitar)
Spellbinder (Impulse MVCJ-19130)
Composed by Gabor Szabo.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 6, 1966
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
From his 1961 debut with Chico Hamilton, Hungarian émigré Gabor Szabo was an iconoclast. At a time when most jazz guitarists used hollow-body electrics with conventional tuning, Szabo played an acoustic instrument with open tuning and pickups for amplification. This enabled his distinctive style built around drones or pedal points—a single tone (usually the tonic or dominant) sustained or repeated in the bass— above which he layered solos of exotic, raga-like entrancement. Backed by Latin percussionists, Szabo's Hungaro-Cuban "Spellbinder" suggests Columbus may have found a short route to India after all. This benevolent spell fades away much too soon, but is binding to this day.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz