When we down to Mexico a few years ago to hang out with our kind buds who have a house on the beach north of Puerto Vallarta Dan (aka. Sorcerer) had recently introduced me to Gabor Szabo's version of Donovan's Ferris Wheel. I was, and am, totally blown away by that track which appears on the 1968 album Dreams. What was funny to me was that I already had a handful of Gabor Szabo records in my collection—probably thanks to their $1 price tag and groovy sleeves—but had never really gotten into them. After hearing Ferris Wheel on the beach at sundown that all changed.
Ever since then I snap up a Szabo album whenever I see one. Some are better than others, and the earlier Impulse records stuff definitely has a more cohesive and original vibe than some of the later fusion-based material. Falling somewhere in the middle of both of those camps is this 1970 effort on Blue Thumb, Magical Connection. Doug Payne's exhaustive site has some very detailed info on the sessions (if I had anything to do with what goes on over at Verve/UMG, I would be planning a deluxe reissue already). This album of rock-tinged light jazz is the perfect thing to throw on after a long day at work. The arrangements (with plenty of Fender Rhodes and solid electric bass) are super classy through-out. I'm also a big fan of the Love Theme From Spartacus, which gets a very solid airing here (also worth checking version by Bill Evans and Yusef Lateef). This album might not be the best place for Szabo novices to start, but to me it's definitely worth connecting with.