Spellbinder by Gabor Szabo


Label: Impulse

The Hungarian gypsy guitarist doesn't get enough credit for being a proto-fusion artist — come to think of it, he really doesn't get any. But one listen to Spellbinder, which presaged jazz-rock crossover by about three years, will show Szabo as something of a visionary. First, there's his tone, which had plenty of bite and ran counter to the Wes Montgomery-influenced orthodoxy of the day. His lines are similarly his own. The best songs here are open-ended Latin- and raga-influenced jams like "Cheetah," "Yearning" "Spellbinder" and, especially, "Gypsy Queen" (yes, Santana tagged it onto the end of "Black Magic Woman") — but even standards like "My Foolish Heart" get winning makeovers.