LITA 053: Gabor Szabo, Jazz Raga

Jazz Raga Cover

Light in the Attic’s latest release is this lost classic from the innovative Hungarian-born jazz musician Gabor Szabo. Released last week, our 53rd title is a mesmerizing piece of genre-bending jazz. Jazz Raga stands as a testament to Szabo’s experimental brilliance. It is a record stuffed with myriad styles, a cross-section of global influences that include jazz, rock and psychedelic folk tinged with sitars, a Latin-influenced backbeat (courtesy of session drummer Bernard Purdie, whose play here is sterling), as well as traditional European sounds. It is a hypnotic blend, a rich musical fusion crafted by a master artisan. Szabo’s guitar work on Jazz Raga is among the best of his career, a sublime performance in which Szabo’s free runs, discordant chords and lilting solos produce a distinct, engrossing sound. From the blissed-out “Walking On Nails” to the sitar-heavy “Mizrab” to the inspired cover of “Paint It Black,” it is clear why Jazz Raga has, in the decades since its release, become an important and influential work for scores of musicians fortunate enough to come across its path.

Purchase Jazz Raga here.