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Album Review

The pairing of chanteuse Lena Horne and guitarist Gabor Szabo may seem incongruous on paper, but Watch What Happens! is an unexpected delight, capturing a soulfulness and sass largely absent from the singer's previous efforts. Producer and arranger Gary McFarland's candy-coated orchestral settings afford Horne the opportunity to step out of the elegant but often stuffy refinement of her classic LPs and let down her hair. Her vocals pirouette around Szabo's hypnotically funky guitar leads with the focused abandon of a child playing hopscotch. Keyboardist Richard Tee, bassist Chuck Rainey, and drummer Grady Tate contribute the supple grooves that highlight so many McFarland sessions, and the material is top-notch, including no fewer than three Beatles covers: "In My Life," "Fool on the Hill," and "Rocky Raccoon," the latter featuring the most purely joyful performance of Horne's career. [Watch What Happens! was originally released on Szabo's Skye Records label as Lena & Gabor in 1970.]

Biography

Born: 08 March 1936 in Budapest, Hungary

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Gabor Szabo was one of the most original guitarists to emerge in the 1960s, mixing his Hungarian folk music heritage with a deep love of jazz and crafting a distinctive, largely self-taught sound. Inspired by a Roy Rogers cowboy movie, Szabo began playing guitar when he was 14 and often played in dinner clubs and covert jam sessions while still living in Budapest. He escaped from his country at age 20 on the eve of the Communist uprising and eventually made his way to America, settling with his family...
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Watch What Happens!, Gabor Szabo
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