Gabor Szabo Live With Charles Lloyd (1974))

  1. Spellbinder (Gabor Szabo)
  2. Sombrero Sam (Charles Lloyd)
  3. Stormy (Buddy Buie/James Cobb)
  4. People (Jule Styne/Bob Merrill) 

Gabor Szabo – guitar
Charles Lloyd – flute (2)
Tony Ortega – flute, echoplex (3)
Tony Eyre – keyboards (4)
Wolfgang Melz – electric bass
John Dentz – drums
Mailto Correa (a.k.a. Mayuto) – congas, percussion

Recorded in 1972, live at The Troubadour, Hollywood, California.

Produced by Tommy LiPuma
Engineered by Bruce Botnick

1 to 4 issued on LP in 1974 as Blue Thumb BTS-6014

Gabor Szabo Live With Charles Lloyd features the guitarist where he always shined brightest – live. It is the third of only three live albums issued during Gabor Szabo’s lifetime.

Likely recorded in 19721 – around the time Szabo and Lloyd reunited for the reed player’s Waves album – but not released until nearly three years later, in July 1974, when Szabo had already released two records on the CTI label.

The all-too brief record features four good, long-ish performances of reliable Szabo staples, including “People,” “Stormy” and, of course, “Spellbinder.” Lloyd makes his only appearance here on his own ‘”Sombrero Sam,” which Szabo previously recorded on the 1970 album Magical Connection (and would also include on his 1974 Hungarian program).

According to bassist Wolfgang Melz, the concert featured much more of Lloyd and Szabo together than is heard here – as suggested by the brief snippet of tenor sax caught during the fade of “Sombrero Sam.” 

Chances are, Blue Thumb captured other Szabo concerts during his 1970-72 tenure with the label as well. But odds are strong that none of this material – including the four tracks heard on this live album – survived the June 1, 2008, fire at the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot (the full extent of which had not been reported on until an extensive investigative piece by freelance journalist Jody Rosen in the New York Times Magazine in June 2019).

“Lovely music from the guitarist and guest flutist,” wrote Billboard at the time, “with the emphasis on melodic lines. These cuts, done nearly three years ago at the Troubadour, showcase each performer’s virtuosity. Bassist Wolgang Melz and drummer John Dentz add a vital kick to the arrangements. Best cuts: “‘Spellbinder.” “Stormy.”

Despite the provocative cover, Gabor Szabo Live With Charles Lloyd failed to attract the attention or popularity of the guitarist’s first live album, The Sorcerer (1967) and quickly disappeared. Likewise, the record was never reissued on LP, CD or even in streaming services. Once upon a time, though, this was the easiest Gabor Szabo album to find in second-hand record shops.

  1. Károly Libisch lists a mid-January 1972 Szabo date (with this group) at The Troubadour in the Appearances section of his book Feketére Festve. ↩︎