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Szobel, Hermann: Szobel

Originally released on Arista Records in 1976, Szobel was the debut album from 17 year old Austrian pianist Harmann Szobel, who also happened to be the nephew of famed rock promote Bill Graham. Along with Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute, this outfit created a very exciting album here of complex jazz-rock that owed as much to Frank Zappa as it did to Miles Davis, Weather Report, and Return to Forever. Featuring 5 lengthy instrumental tracks, Szobel is quirky fun from start to finish, with surprisingly memorable melodies tucked away within the zig-zagging overlay of intricate musical passages. Szobel's uncanny piano runs weave around the soaring reeds of Vyadro, while the rhythm team pump and pulse underneath it all. At times, like on the insane "The Szuite", it all comes close to approaching avant-garde and free-jazz, but the more melodic "Mr Softee" and the groove laden "Between 7 & 11" show a band that knew how to create memorable jazz-fusion with a dangerous edge. The mindboggling "Transcendental Floss" contains some serious passages, from squonking sax, to majestic piano, acrobatic drumming, and soaring vibraphone.

Apparently, sales of the original album were not good, and during the production of a follow-up Szobel took to some form of mental illness and disappeared from the music scene, his life since then surrounded in mystery. This first ever appearance of Szobel on CD becomes a testament to the greatness of that sole release, and what could have been had the pianist not fallen into obscurity. Mastered for CD release by audiophile engineer Bob Katz, Szobel sounds wonderful, and the music is just as superb. Another long lost classic resurrected from the vaults by the folks at The Lasers Edge.

Track Listing
1) Mr. Softee
2) The Szuite
3) Between 7 & 11
4) Transcendental Floss
5) New York City, 7 AM

Added: September 23rd 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: The Lasers Edge
Hits: 1990
Language: english

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