I’ve been sitting here tonight trying to figure out why the name Garor Szabo sounds familiar and then it clicked! This is the artist responsible for the quite enchanting 1968 rendition of Lee Hazelwood’s Some Velvet Morning (a song you need to play all the way through as it just gets better as it goes along, trust me!!).
Born Szabó Gábor István in 1936 in Budapest, Hungary, Szabó Gábo was an influential Hungarian jazz guitarist known for fusing his native Hungarian music with jazz and pop-rock. So inspired was he by the jazz music he heard on Voice of America radio broadcasts, Szabó began playing guitar at the age of 14. By the time he was 20 he had moved the US to study music and in 1958 he was was invited to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival. Szabó then went on to perform with the quintet of Southern California drummer Chico Hamilton from 1961 to 1965.
From 1966 onwards he went onto record a well-received collection of albums under his own name on the Impulse! label and in the late 1960s he co-founded the short-lived Skye Records label along with Cal Tjader and Gary McFarland. Later he signed with US labels, Blue Thumb Records and CTI Records. Today’s song is one of only a few of Szabó Gábo’s tracks I’ve heard so far, but I love the percussion and can definitely see why the title track from his 1966 Spellbinder album is named as such!…..you could get lost for days in these pulsing Latin jazz rhythms! Check it out above.