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Gabor Szabo

Jazz

Gabor Szabo

Gabor Szabo
A favorite of
Darren Farnsworth

Jazz
Updated Feb 2020

Gábor István Szabó (March 8, 1936 – February 26, 1982) was a Hungarian American guitarist whose style incorporated jazz, pop, rock, and Hungarian music.

Early years
Gábor…

Gábor István Szabó (March 8, 1936 – February 26, 1982) was a Hungarian American guitarist whose style incorporated jazz, pop, rock, and Hungarian music.

Early years
Gábor Szabó was born in Budapest, Hungary. He began playing guitar at the age of 14. When he was 20, in the aftermath of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, he moved to California and he later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston between 1958 and 1960.

Career
In 1961, Szabo became a member of quintet that was led by Chico Hamilton and included Charles Lloyd, playing what has been described as chamber jazz, with "a moderate avant-gardism". Szabo was influenced by the rock music of the 1960s, particularly the use of feedback. In 1965 he was in a jazz pop group led by Gary McFarland, then worked again with Lloyd in an energetic quartet with Ron Carter and Tony Williams. The song "Gypsy Queen" from Szabo's debut solo album Spellbinder became a hit for rock guitarist Carlos Santana. During the late 1960s, Szabo worked in a group with guitarist Jimmy Stewart. He started the label Skye Records with McFarland and Cal Tjader.

Szabo continued to be drawn to more popular, commercial music in the 1970s. He performed often in California, combining elements of Gypsy and Indian music with jazz. He returned often to his home country of Hungary to perform, and it was there that he died just short of his 46th birthday.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Gábor Szabó among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

 

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