The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, this vintage Impulse pressing is doing just about everything right
- Clean, clear, full-bodied and present with tons of Tubey Magic and right-on-the-money instrumental timbres, the originals may be a bit better sounding, but both are they expensive these days and rarely can be found in audiophile playing condition
- For some reason, the guitar sound from this era of recording seems to have died out with the times - it can only be found on the better copies of these vintage pressings, such as this one
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This vintage Impulse-ABC pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of The Best of Gabor Szabo Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1968
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren't veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we've heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We're Listening For The Best of Gabor Szabo
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight, full-bodied bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The guitar isn't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. It's front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put it.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Gypsy Queen
- Paint It Black
- Sophisticated Wheels
- Walk On By
- The Beat Goes On
- Little Boat = O Barquinho
Gábor István Szabó (March 8, 1936 – February 26, 1982) was a Hungarian American guitarist whose style incorporated jazz, pop, rock, and Hungarian music.
He began playing guitar at the age of 14. In the aftermath of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, he moved to California and later attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston between 1958 and 1960.
In 1961, Szabó became member of a quintet that was led by Chico Hamilton and included Charles Lloyd, playing what has been described as chamber jazz, with "a moderate avant-gardism." Szabó was influenced by the rock music of the 1960s, particularly the use of feedback. In 1965 he was in a jazz pop group led by Gary McFarland, then worked again with Lloyd in an energetic quartet with Ron Carter and Tony Williams. The song "Gypsy Queen" from Szabó's debut solo album Spellbinder became a hit for rock guitarist Carlos Santana. During the late 1960s, Szabó worked in a group with guitarist Jimmy Stewart. He started the label Skye Records with McFarland and Cal Tjader.
Szabó continued to be drawn to more popular, commercial music in the 1970s. He performed often in California, combining elements of Gypsy and Indian music with jazz. He returned often to his home country of Hungary to perform, and it was there that he died just short of his 46th birthday.