Fidelity Recording Studio; Studio City, California: March 27, 1979
Leon Bisquera (key); Gabor Szabo, James Harrah (g); David Roney (el-b); Hugh Moran (d); Everette Bryson (perc).
Fidelity Recording Studio; Studio City, California: June 6, 1979
Lawrence Sonderling, Bobby Dubow, Ken Yerke, John Wittenberg, Sheldon Sanov, Carol Shive (vln); Pamela Goldsmith, Arthur Royval, Michael Nowak (viola); Ronald Cooper, Ray Kelley (cello); Josephine Dapar, Ralph Mullins, Jean DelCrosso (copyist); Frank Cole (contractor); David Campbell (arr, cond).
Fidelity Recording Studio; Studio City, California: June 12, 1979
Gary Grant, Jerry Hey (tp, flhrn); William Reichenbach (tb); Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams (reeds); Josephine Dapar, Suzanne Ruffalo (copyist); David Campbell (arr, cond).
Fidelity Recording Studio; Studio City, California:
March 30, 1979
Fidelity Recording Studio;
Studio City, California: June 30, 1979
Fidelity Recording Studio; Studio City, California
Gabor Szabo (g); Chick Corea (p).
Released in 1981 on Pepita Records, a "popular" division of the state-owned label, Hungaroton, FEMME FATALE was originally recorded in 1979 at Fidelity Sound Recording Studios in Studio City, California, for the Atlantic Records label, which rejected it.
“Fidelity Sound Recording Studios was owned by Artie Ripp,” according to FEMME FATALE’s second engineer, Joey Latimer. “The reason this album was recorded there is that David Campbell, father of current artist Beck, was doing a lot of work there as a producer and arranger because he liked working with staff engineer Joel Soifer. Since David was active in Scientology during that time, he brought several artists to the studio who were also into Scientology. These included Chick Corea, Gayle Moran, Stanley Clarke and Jimmie Spheeris.
“It was my understanding that Gabor had been abusing during that period and Chick and others got him to go to the Scientology center to ‘clean himself up.’ He did clean up and then they brought him into our studio to record. That was a good thing because he was very present during the sessions, smoking cigarettes and drinking a lot of coffee.
“I recall that David Campbell contracted the studio, musicians, and arranged some of the charts. Chick may have also been involved in that, too. Anyway, during the recording of the tracks David, Chick, and Gabor collaborated on the producing. When we finished recording each track, pretty much live in the studio as I recall, they would then ask each other, ‘What did you think?’ If it wasn’t agreed that it was ‘the track’ then we would do another take.
“After the project was recorded, we stored the tapes in our tape vault and never heard anything about the album coming out. One day, a few months later, Gabor shows up out of the blue and demanded the tapes from the sessions. He said something about having a major falling out with the folks from Scientology and he was very angry. He said he was going back to Hungary, to where he came from. Not long after that we heard in the news that he had died there.”
The melodic date has its share of interesting moments, even though more material from these sessions probably exists. "Out of the Night" intriguingly pairs Szabo with pianist Chick Corea for a sparkling duet performance and the Flamenco fusion of Szabo's excellent Return To Forever-like "A Thousand Times" stands up well enough to have become a staple of the guitarist's live performances.
Szabo's melodicism is especially apparent on Jobim's "Zingaro" and the pretty "Serena" as well. Recorded more than three years before his death, FEMME FATALE is Szabo's last known recording, though he was said to have recorded during his 1981 stay in Hungary. But it is an especially pleasing, if too brief, effort gleaming with the guitarist's appealing melodic skill.