(Shelly's Manne-Hole in
Los Angeles; June 9, 1970): Richard Thompson
(key); Gabor Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); Jim Keltner
(d); Lynn Blessing (vib); Hal Gordon (per)
Down Beat announced (August
1970) Szabo's signing with Blue Thumb Records where
he was due to work with producer Tommy LiPuma. The
article also announced Szabo's new working group with
Richard Thompson (key), Wolfgang Melz (el-b), Jim
Keltner (d), Lynn Blessing (vib) and Hal Gordon (per)
which debuted June 9 at Shelly's Manne-Hole in Los
Angeles. A 6/20/70 performance review by Eliot Tiegel
in Billboard indicated the sextet performed
"Sombrero Sam," "Stormy,"
"Something," "Your Honey,"
"Nowhere Man" and "Comin' Back."
Tiegel seems impressed, stating, "(a) new
melodic force has been unearthed in jazz, blending
the softness of Gabor Szabo's amplified guitar, the
lilting two mallet patterns of vibist Lynn Blessing
and the dramatically strong style of Fender bassist
Wolfgang Melz." Tiegel indicates the quintet --
"the most percussive he's ever had" -- had
been working together for three months at this point.
Gabor Szabo Quintet (July
1970): Richard Thompson (key); Gabor Szabo (g);
Wolfgang Melz (el-b); Bob Morin (d); Lynn Blessing (vib);
Hal Gordon (per).
Gabor Szabo Quartet (October
6-20, 1970): Gabor Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz
(el-b); John Rae (vib); John Dentz (d).
Gabor Szabo Sextet
(November 1970): Gabor Szabo
(g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); John Dentz (d); Lynn Blessing
(vib); Felix (Flaco) Falcon (cga); Sandra Crouch (per).
Gabor Szabo Quartet
(December 15, 1970): Gabor
Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); Lynn Blessing (vib);
John Dentz (d).
A December 15, 1970, performance by
a Szabo quartet was reviewed by Eliot Tiegel in the
December 26 issue of Billboard. Sensuous,
hypnotic and inventively exciting," Tiegel
writes, "this group marries the best of jazz and
pop influences." The performance, which Tiegel
exclaims "built in brilliance and
originality," featured the Melz compositions
"Help Me Build A Lifetime" and
"Rambler" (not recorded by Szabo until
1973) as well as "Michael from Mountains,"
"Pretty Girl Why," "My Spanish
Heart," "Sombrero Sam," "Magical
Connection" and "[Love]Theme from
Gabor Szabo Quintet (March 1971): Bob Harris (p);
Gabor Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); John Dentz (d);
Lynn Blessing (vib).
Gabor Szabo (El
Matador, San Francisco: August 3-8, 1971): Gabor
Szabo (g) with others unknown.
Gabor Szabo with
Hollywood: Prob. ca. early 1972): Charles Lloyd
(f); Tony Ortega--3 (f,echoplex); Tommy Eyre (key); Gabor
Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); John Dentz (d); Mailto
Correa [Mayuto] (cga,per): see GABOR
Gabor Szabo (The Fresh Air, The Walrus; Seattle:
late June 1972): Tom Coster (key); Gabor Szabo,
Tom Bryant (g); Peter Marshall (b); Mimi Gina (d).
According to Robin
Talbot White's Seattle
Flag article, 'Szabo: Chromosomal Guitar',
"Gabor's current back up group is a handpicked
assembly from the Bay area." Tom Bryant's guitar
is characterized as "Hendrix-like" and
"Tom Coster's earthy keyboard grounds it
all." The Fresh Air, on Seattle's Capitol Hill,
is described by Ms. White as a strange place with its
cavernous interior" but Szabo's music made
patrons forget their surroundings and move in their
seats, stood and danced involuntarily. The Walrus, in
Seattle's Phinney Ridge district, is "a more
intimate club that seemed to physically grow as Gabor
carried the audience away."
Gabor Szabo (Stampen; Stockholm, Sweden: August 10,
1972). Jan Allan (t,flhrn); Staffan Abeléen
(p); Gabor Szabo (g); Sture Nordin (b); Ronnie Gardiner
Detail from an ad in Expressen,
provided by Göran Åkerstedt.
Gabor Szabo Quintet
(November-December 1972): Joanne
Grauer (p); Gabor Szabo, Jimmy Stewart (g); Louis Kabok
(b); John Clauder (d).
Szabo teamed with Jimmy Stewart and
Louis Kabok again in late November (though December
3) for an engagement at Howard Rumsey's Redondo Beach
Club as part of the Concerts by the Sea series.
Leonard Feather, in his November 25, 1972, Los
Angeles Times review, noted the frequency of
changes to Szabo's band (he "consumes combos
faster than that other more glamorous Hungarian
changes husbands"). Szabo, joined here by
keyboardist Joanne Grauer and drummer John Clauder,
who, according to Feather, "lacked
imagination," played material based on a
"currently fashionable, decreasingly tolerable
one-chord foundation" ("Pretty Girl
Why") as well as harmonically sophisticated
covers of "Come Rain or Come Shine" and
Gabor Szabo (March-April 1973)
According to an interview with
guitarist Pete Cosey (Guitar Player, July
1990), Miles Davis began a tour with the guitarist
that started in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, proceeded
to Portland, Oregon, Seattle and "then (we) did
some dates along the Southeastern seaboard with
Carole King and Gabor Szabo opening up for us." Certainly,
Szabo opened for Davis at Seattle's Paramount Northwest theater on
Thursday, April 5, 1973.
Lena Horne ("Flip Wilson" TV Show:
1973): unknown (f); George Wyle (p); unknown
(org); Gabor Szabo (g); unknown (b); Lena Horne (vcl)
Ms. Horne performs the lovely
"I Got To Have You," accompanied onstage by
Szabo, pianist (and "Flip Wilson" musical
director) George Wyle and an unknown bassist.
Gabor Szabo Quartet (El Matador; San Francisco: Summer
1973): Gabor Szabo, Jimmy Stewart (g); Louis
Kabok (b); Bob Warren (d).
Briefly re-teaming with former
colleagues Jimmy Stewart (g) and Louis Kabok (b), a
revitalized Szabo quartet performed several West
coast shows during the summer of 1973. Phillip
Elwood, jazz critic for the San Francisco Examiner,
caught the group (with Bob Warren on drums) during a
week-long engagement at San Francisco's El Matador.
Freeing himself of his flirtations with hard rock,
Szabo, wrote Elwood, "is playing in a freer,
more flowing and more inventive manner than in many
of his more recent local dates." Ellwood went on
to say "(t)he 1973 Szabo is a frankly romantic
artist. His long, lilting guitar lines -- sometimes
like a sitar -- blend beautifully in melodic themes
with Stewart's guitar...each number included superb
duet interplay between the two."
Gabor Szabo (Lighthouse; Hermosa Beach, California:
August 7-26, 1973): Joanne Grauer (8/7-8/12),
Richard Thompson (8/14-8/19), Mike Wofford (8/21-8/26)
(p); Gabor Szabo (g); Dennis Parker (uncredited b); Bob Morin (uncredited d).
Leonard Feather, in his August 14,
1973, Los Angles Times review
("Eclectic Guitarist at Hermosa Beach
Club"), wrote about a show performed by the
earliest of three Szabo units presented during this
three-week engagement. Featuring Joanne Grower (sic),
"the most interesting and creative of these
three," the group played "Magical
Connection" and Wolfgang Melz's
"Rambler." Ms. Grauer was also featured in
a solo piano version of Michel Legrand's "Lady
Sings The Blues" ("a work of art more
impressive than the original," according to
Feather) and the band played one of her originals,
"Frog Child." Szabo played an unaccompanied
version of John Lewis's "Django" that
segued "suddenly" into "Sombrero
Sam." Feather concluded that Szabo "is in a
transitional period; no doubt more stable personnel
would expedite the arrival at a firmer group sound
According to Dennis Parker (December 2005): Bob Morin was the
drummer at the Lighthouse (in August of '73) and I
was the electric bassist.
Gabor Szabo Quartet (Carnegie Hall; New York, New York:
September 21, 1973): Mike Wofford (key); Gabor
Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (el-b); Bob Morin (d).
While in New York to record RAMBLER, Szabo recruited three associates to
perform with him for an appearance at Carnegie Hall.
The quartet was part of a guitarist's triple-bill
concert. The Friday evening event began with John
Fahey's solo performance, progressed to Laurindo
Almeida's classical/pop/Hollywood fusions and capped
with Szabo's performance. Playing electric guitar,
Szabo was accompanied by Mike Wofford (key), Wolfgang
Melz (el-b) and Bob Morin (d). John Rockwell, in his
September 24 New York Times review, noted that
Szabo's accompanists were "accomplished"
and the music the group produced "sounded a bit
too smooth and derivative at times." Yet, he
added, "at others it managed to work up to a
good bit of virtuosity and excitement."
Gabor Szabo Quintet
(January 1974 ??? ): Tony
Ortega (f,echoplex); Joanne Grauer (p); Gabor Szabo (g);
Wolfgang Melz (b); John Dentz (d).
Gabor Szabo Quintet (January
1974 ??? ): Tony Ortega (f,echoplex); George
Cables (p); Gabor Szabo (g); Wolfgang Melz (b); John