Although largely ignored today except by astute guitar students, the late Gabor Szabo left behind a large body of work that is still very much misunderstood. A descendent of Hungarian gypsies, Szabo's guitar style was very much in line in with his heritage, full of dark and mysterious textures that were the antithesis of the modern jazz guitar sound of the '50s and '60s. His first recordings with drummer Chico Hamilton announced a new voice that would slowly take shape over the years as Szabo would lead his own series of albums for the Impulse label and then later for Creed Taylor's CTI imprimatur.
Much of Gabor's output remains elusive these days, some of it only available on pricey Japanese imports. Following his iconoclastic Impulse debut, Gypsy '66 and a reunion with Chico Hamilton entitled Spellbinder, Szabo released an album that hinted at the Middle Eastern twang that seemed to be part and parcel of the guitarist's own style. Jazz Raga, as the liner notes tell the story, was supposed to feature Szabo's touring unit at the time, but for some inexplicable reasons his crew failed to show at the studio. In the end, drummer Bernard Purdie and bassists Johnny Gregg and Bob Bushnell showed up to save the date and the results are nothing short of intoxicating.
The album code is : ODI179154