Lena & Gabor (Remastered) Lena Horne & Gabor Szabo

Album info



Label: Skye Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Vocal

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Rocky Raccoon03:30
  • 2Something03:08
  • 3Everybody's Talkin'02:54
  • 4In My Life02:55
  • 5Yesterday When I Was Young04:07
  • 6Watch What Happens04:00
  • 7My Mood is You04:42
  • 8A Message to Michael03:16
  • 9Nightwind03:37
  • 10The Fool on the Hill03:41
  • Total Runtime35:50

Info for Lena & Gabor (Remastered)

Produced by Gary McFarland and Gabor Szabo, the original edition of the album 'Lena and Gabor' was one of twenty albums released by the Skye record label between 1968-1970. The label was instigated by McFarland, fellow vibist Cal Tjader and virtuoso Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo as a vehicle both for their own work and for others who similarly looked to transplant jazz sensibilities into a more mainstream context. Although Skye overall achieved only limited commercial success during it's short lifespan, a number of refined pop records of great character transpired, which included, aside from McFarland's own superb titles, albums by the drummer-vocalist Grady Tate (of Schoolhouse rock fame), the underrated west coast teen duo Wendy and Bonnie and in addition to his Bacchanal masterpiece, Gabor Szabo's collaboration with the jazz singer Lena Horne. Released in the autumn of 1970, 'Lena and Gabor' quickly charted in America and spawned a top 40 hit in 'watch what happens'. Gabor's eclectic guitar compliments Ms Horne's distinctive vocals perfectly in a set that includes covers of popular compositions by Bacharach & David, Fred Neil, George Harrison and three Lennon and McCartney songs, 'Fool on the Hill' 'In My Life' and the whimsical 'Rocky Racoon'. Lena Horne is nothing less than a national institution in America. Besides maintaining a recording career that stretched from 1936, she starred in her own television programme and Broadway show and featured in numerous films including 'Death of a Gunfighter' (1969) with Richard Widmark and 'The Wiz' (1971) an all-black film version of 'The Wizard of Oz' that starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Horne was branded a communist sympathizer because of her association with Paul Robeson and her liberal beliefs (which led her to be blacklisted for a while in the fifties). With her talent, beauty and middle-class upbringing, she was a pivotal figure in breaking down the race barrier in America and is regarded as a pioneer among African-American performers. This British edition of 'Lena & Gabor' is augmented by four lovely selections from Gabor Szabo's (also McFarland produced) 1968 Skye album 'dreams'; his own, labyrinthic 'Galatea's guitar', Donovan's 'Ferris Wheel' and two pieces by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, 'song of injured love and 'fire dance' that add an exotic, psychedelic quality and blend interestingly with the Horne recordings.

"Recorded in 1968, this pairing of Hungarian guitar genius Gabor Szabo and vocalist Lena Horne is a study in contrasts. For starters, the band is stellar. Szabo enlisted the help of bassist Chuck Rainey, drummer Grady Tate, and organist Richard Tee. Originally released on the short-lived Skye label owned by Szabo, Cal Tjader, and Gary McFarland (who produced this 1970 set), the album opens with a beautiful duet between Horne and Szabo in "My Mood Is You," and is followed by the slippery, romantic instrumental "Galatea's Guitar." But it isn't until track three, with the Michel Legrand masterpiece "Watch What Happens," that the album truly kicks into gear. The contrast of Horne's full-throated voice and Szabo's unconventional, modal guitar playing is mesmerizing, and Tee's swinging B-3 just struts and pops through the melody. With its shimmering melody lines, George Harrison's "Something" was a tune built for Szabo, and Horne -- in typical fashion -- understates the lyric and carries through with her trademark languid phrasing. Other standouts here include Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talking" and Lennon and McCartney's trio of tunes "Rocky Raccoon" (one of the most original versions ever recorded), "In My Life," and a dreamy yet dramatic "Fool on the Hill." An instrumental read of Donovan's "Ferris Wheel" showcases the delicate yet intuitive interplay of the quartet, with McFarland's whispering string and horn arrangements. This is a fine date and will be desired by fans of both artists." (Thom Jurek, AMG)

Lena Horne, vocals
Cornell Dupree, guitar
Eric Gayle, guitar
Gabor Szabo, guitar
Richard Tee, organ
Chuck Rainey, bass
Grady Tate, drums

Produced by Gabor Szabo, Gary McFarland

Digitally remastered

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