Hermann Szobel
Szobel


4.5
superb

Review

by Vrid USER (12 Reviews)
January 5th, 2013 | 26 replies | 1,838 views


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Skill is the key!

You don’t have to be acquainted to progressive rock in order to recognize the artwork for The Court Of The Crimson King. For some reason (don’t ask me why) I tend to imagine the twisted grin that decorates the cover when I listen to something of restless, intense and/or eclectic nature. Perhaps "Mirrors" is to blame and perhaps that one image is naturally representative of a mad, trancelike condition akin to the character of its music. This rule is mostly applicable to febrile art. When the musician’s instrument has generated enough heat to seemingly touch your very skin beyond the speakers. When the musicianship is so wondrously compact it’s almost as if you lose control of your toes and fingers, which alternately raps in harmony with the artist’s commando. Hermann Szobel, anyone? No? Don’t worry, I didn’t think so.

Hermann Szobel’s debut holds an indeed curious history. Last in line when speaking of equal musicians; first in line when comparing talent. The flatiron building modestly adorns a not-so-seductive cover but its content projects insane fusion jazz with avant-gardeish features and captivating crescendos of top quality. Szobel was no more than an 18 year old music prodigy who already competed with musicians twice his age at the time of his debut release in 1976. It’s not an underrated record. That would firstly require it having actually been properly exposed to an audience. One rarely speak of Hermann Szobel in the same breath as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis or Henry Cow. And though age won’t really place albums in objective hierarchy, the prominent talent that makes itself heard on "The Suite"’s crazy middle part in parallel to "Transcendental Floss" and "Between 7 & 11"s throughout brilliant dynamics cannot be underestimated.

In unity with abovementioned musicians, Szobel is a curious piece of art. A rich selection of instrument not limited to saxophones, marimba, xylophone, clarinet and flutes accompany the main character’s distinctive piano. Skill and finesse is the key. Even occasional nuances of western modern classical-elements tend to inflict with the sound. They are the heritage of Szobel’s background; at the mere age of six he had already begun his classical training. Rumors report that an almost embarrassing unawareness for that reason had kept him ignorant of the jazz scene, and that he knew nothing of Henry Cow or Frank Zappa. To whether or not there’s truth to such gossip I take little notion but a curious history sprung from a curious character would only naturally appear as… curious! After the release of his debut, Szobel mysteriously disappeared without a trace and was never heard from again. It’s safe to say that his legacy to jazz music weighs heavily on the shoulders of people who are aware of its presence. Wherever he is, if he’s even alive, I sincerely thank him for Szobel - a modest chef-d'oeuvre that I advise anyone who’s up for an intense fusion jazz roller coaster to make friends with.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Vrid
January 5th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I originally posted a link to a high quality download if anyone was interested in having it, but I
couldn't keep it punk when they told me to remove it. The record is since long out of print and
every other download is of terrible quality so ask me for my hotmail, if you're interested. It'll be
our little secret.

For this review I want critique! I wanted to keep it short but I'm not very good at brief reviews so
I'm not quite sure about it.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2013


20634 Comments


Major props for reviewing this. I've actually heard this and it's pretty good from what I remember, need to give it another listen at some point.

Interesting and well written review, pos'd.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

tragic.details
January 5th 2013


624 Comments


Well-written review, I have no qualms with it.
I need more jazz in my life, so I'll probably look into this.

KILL
January 5th 2013


71743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dude sweet album rocks

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

GiaNXGX
January 5th 2013


4867 Comments


Awesome review bro. Great opening, excellent introduction into Szobel's music itself, and strong ending; you're a fantastic writer. I would loove to read another one of yours in Swedish, though.

Vrid
January 5th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks to all of you, I really appreciate the positive reception.

@GiaNXGX
I don't have to think twice when I write in Swedish so that wouldn't be a problem at all! I just have
to choose something that won't scare people off. Maybe something fairly commercial. I want to save the
obscure gems for reviews that people can actually read!

Chortles
January 5th 2013


17955 Comments


cool review, i'll check this out. pos'd

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2013


20634 Comments


The record is since long out of print


I think this album was reissued on CD earlier this year, but I could be wrong.


Vrid
January 5th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, is that so? That's wonderful news, I'll have to make sure to order a copy.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2013


4421 Comments


Good review, I actually havent heard this myself so I'll look into it since it sounds pretty interesting.

POS'd.

CaptainDooRight
January 5th 2013


29095 Comments


pos on rev

just heard track 1 and greatly enjoyed it

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

Conorman11
January 6th 2013


538 Comments


Awesome review. Referencing In the court in the first paragraph kept me insanely interested in the review. Pos'd

Vrid
January 6th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Once again, thank you.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2013


15997 Comments


one of best new reviewers, very nice read pos

Digging: Hominido - Estirpe Litica

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2013


20634 Comments


Oh, is that so? That's wonderful news, I'll have to make sure to order a copy.


Yeah I've just checked and it's definitely been reissued, it's on Amazon listed as a 2012 release. Might have to order a hard copy myself as well.

Vrid
January 6th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@menawati
That's a very nice thing to say, I'm very flattered. You're not too shabby yourself!

ShyPete
March 28th 2013


1 Comments


Beautiful review Vrid. I couldn't find anywhere to contact you more privately but I'm very interested in hearing the few songs I have yet to stumble upon. How might I go about getting your e-mail so that we can listen to them together and not share them online? ;)

Vrid
March 28th 2013


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hope the moderators won't ban me for doing this...

Cygnatti
April 10th 2013


21352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I want this now.

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

YankeeDudel
April 10th 2013


9313 Comments


yea this is great. surprised it had a review.

Digging: Walknut - Graveforests And Their Shadows



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