Chic Chic Chico (1965)
Chico Hamilton

  1. Chic Chic Chico (Manny Albam)
  2. Corrida de Toros (Gabor Szabo)
  3. Tarantula (Gabor Szabo)
  4. What’s New (Bob Haggart/Johnny Burke)
  5. St. Paddy’s Day Parade (Chico Hamilton)
  6. Carol’s Walk [a.k.a. Sophisticated Thrilling] (Chico Hamilton)
  7. Swampy (Gabor Szabo)
  8. Fire Works (Gabor Szabo)

Charles Lloyd – flute (1)
Bill Green – flute, piccolo (2-8)
Jimmy Woods (1), Harold Land (2-8) – tenor sax
John Anderson – trumpet (2-8)
Lou Blackburn – trombone (2-8)
Henry Sigismonti – French horn (2-8)
Gabor Szabo – guitar
Albert Stinson – bass
Chico Hamilton – drums
Willie Bobo – Latin percussion (1)

Produced by Bob Thiele and Sid Feller

Recorded January 4, 1965 (2-8), in Hollywood, and March 15, 1965 (1), in New York City.

1 to 8 issued on LP in 1965 as Impulse A(S)-82

Note: “Carol’s Walk” is an adaptation of one of the more prominent themes – known elsewhere as “Sophisticated Thrilling” – from Hamilton’s score to Repulsion.

Charles Lloyd left the Chico Hamilton Quintet in 1964 to join the Cannonball Adderley group, moving Gabor Szabo forward as featured soloist and composer. The material is not always as compelling as it could be – or was. And Hamilton beefs up the band with five West Coast horn men; an effect that tamps down the original quintet’s punch.

Szabo’s playing throughout is, as usual, notable, but the material weakens the overall impression. Land, a strong and talented West Coast tenor player, was a logical addition to the Hamilton group; yet he seems misplaced as a foil for Szabo.

The guitarist’s four contributions to the Hamilton canon, his first since the definitive “Lady Gabor,” strive toward a compositional and arranged outline rather than the sketches Szabo would perfect later in his career. More significantly, all four titles seem reasonably indebted to the clever Monk-like simplicity of Charles Lloyd’s compositions.

“Corrida de Toros” (translates as ‘bullfight’) is, very much in the tradition of “Passin’ Thru,” a familiar Szabo/Lloyd theme. Szabo mixes his unique fingering techniques with a dramatic flair and pulls off the album’s strongest overall performance.

More carefully scripted is the unusually complicated barrage of “Tarantula.” This busy number loudly pronounces itself as an exercise rather than a performance; intending, apparently, to prove Szabo’s ability to “compose” a jazz piece.

“Tarantula” is appreciable most in the sense that it sets up Szabo’s lovely introductory performance of “What’s New.” The short, catchy “Swampy” is a two-part homage to Charles Lloyd and offers little room for improvisation.

“Fire Works” begins interestingly with a two-chord, minor-key blues pattern. Szabo’s single-note improvisation here, unusual and harmonically challenging, establishes a looser improvisational formula Hamilton would later exploit on the more Latin-oriented El Chico album. Half way through the song, though, the horns enter obtrusively and it all ends in a cluttered, thoughtless mess. Significantly, Jimmy Woods is not present on these recordings.

Chic Chic Chico‘s most notable moment surely comes on Hamilton’s “Carol’s Walk,” one of the more song-like pieces from the Hamilton soundtrack to Repulsion (1964) – known there as “Sophisticated Thrilling.”

Named for Catherine Deuneve’s character, Carol, as she strolls down a London street, seemingly in a world of her own, “Carol’s Walk” has a West Coast cool feeling that recalls Hamilton’s music of a decade before. The jazz sophistication is also perfectly at odds with the Swinging London Carol clearly does not know exists.