szabo2Unlike Django Rheinhardt, Gabor Szabo was not actually a gypsy, however his Hungarian origins lent a strong Eastern flavour to his music. Szabo was born in Budapest in 1936. He began playing guitar at age 14, inspired by by the jazz music he heard on the “Voice Of America” radio broadcasts. In 1956 he escaped from Communist Europe and travelled to America where he studied music at the Berklee College of Music. For several years he performed with the Chico Hamilton Quintet before starting a successful solo career. His music is noted for combining jazz, pop-rock and Hungarian folk. His albums range from straight jazz tunes to covering classical pieces and popular songs of the time such as The Beatles’ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” which he successfully makes his own. The song below is his version of The Fire Dance, from the Opera “El Amor Brujo” by the Spanish composer Manuel De Falla.

Gabor Szabo – Fire Dance

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