Bob Thiele and his New Happy Times Orchestra with Gabor Szabo ‘Light My Fire’

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Light My Fire” by Bob Thiele and his New Happy Times Orchestra with Gabor Szabo

It was the year of Sgt. Pepper’s and Are You Experienced. Rock was becoming jazzy…and jazz was taking on the current crop of rock greats. Hence today’s Song Of The Day.

Credited to Bob Thiele and his New time Happy Orchestra with Gabor Szabo on guitar, here we have one of the great lost guitar jazz albums of the 1960s. How can you beat the likes of then-current hits like “Light My Fire” by The Doors, The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Fakin’ It,” and Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Woman # 12×35?” (featuring some very sixties vocals credited to The California Dreamers (who include Ron Hicklin, Al Capps, Loren Farber, John Bahler, Tom Bahler, Ian Freebairn-Smith, Sally Stevens, Sue Allen and Jackie Ward), who come off like some middle of the road easy listening group.) Fortunately, the interplay between Szabo and Scott saves the day.

Just look at this line up!

You’ve got Bob Thiele who was head of Impulse Records between 1961 and 1969. Producer of such artists of great renown as John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus and many others. Gypsy guitar great Gabor Szabo laying out the slabs of psychedelic sound on the guitar, Bill Plummer on raga sitar, plus the sturdy backing of Wrecking Crew regulars Carol Kaye on bass, Mike Melvoin on keyboards and the drummer on hundreds of ‘60s rock singles, Jim Gordon on the drums.

But that’s not all. Here we have the legendary Tom Scott on saxophone very early in his career. Scott and Szabo’s interplay throughout this necessary platter is essential.

Capping things off are the Charles Lloyd cover “Forest Flower” and two very swinging Szabo originals here, including “Sophisticated Wheels “ and “Krishna” that provide the necessary raga interplay between Szabo and the rest of the ensemble.

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Posted by Larry Carta


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