Live at Shelly’s Manne Hole (1968)
The Gabor Szabo Septet
Gabor Szabo, Jimmy Stewart – guitar
Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli – trumpet
Louis Kabok – bass
Jim Keltner – drums
Hal Gordon – percussion
Produced by Gary McFarland
Engineered by Wally Heider
Recorded live at Shelly’s Manne Hole; Los Angeles, California: January 1968
The Szabo quintet teamed with brothers Pete and Conte Candoli for a January 1968 performance at Shelly’s Manne Hole in Los Angeles. The performance was recorded by Wally Heider and intended as Szabo’s first release on his newly-formed Skye label.
“The group created its own interval,” Jimmy Stewart reported. “We locked into our own pitch center, but the horns were fighting it in the mix. We just couldn’t get it to happen.” As a result, the recording was abandoned and discussions began at Szabo’s home in Hollywood about a studio recording which later resulted in Bacchanal.
The live recording, however, was announced in the March 7, 1968, DownBeat as the first production of the Skye Recording Co., Ltd. Based in New York under the direction of manager Norman Schwartz, Skye Recordings was founded by vibist Cal Tjader, guitarist Gabor Szabo and composer Gary McFarland as a resource for more contemporary jazz and emerging, like-minded musicians.
Much of the “artists & repertoire” work at Skye was provided by Gary McFarland who either produced, arranged or performed on each date. Szabo, alternatively, participated in no Skye sessions other than his own.
While Skye albums were released by McFarland and Tjader as well as vocalist Grady Tate, percussionist Armando Peraza and blues singer Ruth Brown, it was Szabo’s recordings which proved most popular — and supported the company’s initial financial success.
But it didn’t last long. None of the Skye sessions were big sellers and only Szabo’s Dreams (1968) and Gary McFarland’s America The Beautiful (1969) were critical successes. Skye Recordings lived little more than two years. Upon it’s dissolution, the principals all parted ways; never to work together again.
Norman Schwartz (1927-95), however, often kept Skye recordings available for sale through later reissues on his Gryphon label in the seventies and, later, on compact disc through DCC under its ‘Compact Jazz Classics’ nameplate.