Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Gabor Szabo - The Sorcererdotdotdotdot
artworkGabor Szabo was a very talented guitarist with a checkered catalog. Some of his work was just plain syrupy, even insipid MOR. Other tracks would leave you with your jaw slackened. Listening to a track like "Mizrab" now seems almost ghostly. Like a precursor to the Mermen, he was able to create amazingly sensual sub-psychedelic work that is the sharp left turn that drew the Mermen into uncharted territory from their initial classic inception.

It explains a lot. This is a reissue with three bonus tracks added from the same live session, recorded at the Jazz Workshop in Boston in 1963. It's darn scary to realize what was around him at the time. "Mizrab" is pure futurist innovation. One of the hallmarks of this lineup is the interesting interplay between the two guitars, much like Jim Thomas of the Mermen achieves solo.
Picks: The Beat Goes On, Little Boat, Lou-ise, What Is This Thing Called Love?, Space, Stronger Than Us, Mizrab, Comin' Back, Los Matadors, People, Corcovado

Track by Track Review

The Beat Goes On dotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

This is a semi psychedelic and jazzy interpretation of the Sonny and Cher hit that got the sludge treatment at the hands of Vanilla Fudge. This is at once intensely artful and fluffy. It shows what you can do by treating even the frothiest pop mung seriously. The infectious rhythms and flights of fancy that Gabor Szabo takes off on gets the audience clapping in sync.

Little Boat dotdotdot
Exotic Jazz (Instrumental)

"Little Boat" is almost Soca in it's melody structure, and definitely combo jazz in it's feel, with it's Latin percussion and Wes Montgomery feel.

Lou-ise dotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

"Lou-ise" is one moody piece, with a suave and delicate melody and exotic rhythms. Very pretty playful, yet sad.

What Is This Thing Called Love? dot
Elevator Jazz (Instrumental)

I can't quite get behind this track. It's elevator jazz leanings are just more than I can take.

Space dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

Ever so slight and delicate feedback in an amazing pre-psychedelic mind shaping mood piece that uses feedback in the subtlest way. It's like Jim Thomas (Mermen) with just one head and the volume turned down. The harmonics and the minor key create a misty and sad soundscape where the imagination hides behind every bush. Moving and delightful.

Stronger Than Us dotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

Slow and moody, this is a tasty excursion into a land of sunsets and long rides, of fishing villages and soft shoulders.

Mizrab dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

Yikes! This is a monster. It is the missing link between the surf and the Mermen, between the psychedelic form and the art of compositional texturing. The Latin rhythms and the second guitar drones offset a melodic and dissonant ethereal adventure, aquatic and intriguing. There's not much better work from this period, and certainly it ties together pieces of the past.

Comin' Back dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

This guitar minuet is dissonant and intentionally irritating. It sets up a scene of abnormality and sonic reduction. Quite a challenge.

Los Matadors dotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

An excellent Latin based number with the feel of the bull fight's sadness and courage. There's a definite surf tune lurking here. Its meandering riff and infectious rhythms captivate.

People dot
Elevator Seduction Slush (Instrumental)

I'm sorry, but no one can make nice of Barbara Streisand music... slushy seduction slush.

Corcovado dotdotdot
Pre Surf Sub Psychedelic Jazz (Instrumental)

Moody and drone based, this is a softly seductive piece with aquatic tendencies. Mostly sad, this moves suavely through several changes and plays on the sidewalks of your mind.