Freidrich Gulda – Sahib Shihab – JJ – Hubbard (1964) SABA

Track Selection: No 3.


Freddie Hubbard – Trompete J.J. Johnson – Posaune Sahib Shihab – Bariton-Saxophon, Flöte Friedrich Gulda – Klavier
Das Eurojazz Orchester: Stan Roderick, Kenny Wheeler, Robert Politzer – Trompeten
Harry Roche, Rudolf Josel – Posaunen Alfie Reece – Tuba Rolf Kühn, Herb Geller, Tubby Hayes – reeds Pierre Cavalli – Gitarre Ron Carter – Bass Mel Lewis – Schlagzeug

Uraufführung: am 9.9.1965, Bayernhalle, München


Orchestral jazz written and conducted by one of  Austria’s leading pianist/composers. An intriguing mixture of very big band with lead piano solos interspersed with individual brass solos from some of the biggest names in jazz in the Sixties – Sahib Shihab, Freddie Hubbard, JJ Johnson, with Tubby Hayes hiding among the reeds.

Vinyl: SABA SB 15 097 stereo

Pressing by Germany’s legendary SABA label (Schwarzwälder Apparatebauanstal) who were taken over in the 70’s by MPS (Musikproduktion Schwarzwald) whose distribution was taken over by BASF  (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik). SABA, MPS, BASF, it’s all like a foreign language to me. Time for a walk in the Black Forest to pick some gateau.

My first SABA and impressive quality, not unlike the BASF/MPS pressings of Francy Bolland Big Band.There is a degree of hype about SABA’s “legendary” quality – it is very good, but I have heard equally good, and better. However compared to the dire pressings from the mid seventies onward from the giant labels like Fantasy, Atlantic, EMI/Capitol, you would definitely put SABA in the Premier Audiophile Division.

OK Matrix-code readers, make something of this: 1-H6-lozenge-V-E on its side.

Putting SABAs legendary pressing quality to one side for a moment, the album design is a creative disaster. A warning note is sounded by the cover photo (framed in blue and brown), with Headmaster Gulda “giving orders”. “Quiet at the back there, pay attention! No talking!” Contrast the studied composition of Sahib Shihab and the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra with the “record shot” of the backs of most of Gulda’s musicians, and a group shot of the cigarette break, or may be after the fire alarm test. “Everybody outside now, we take ze group photograph” Three jazz giants, and they didn’t manage one picture of them playing music. Francis Wolff, where were you when you were needed?

Thoughtfully, the text is in both German and English.

Collectors Corner

Source: Ebay

Courtesy of an eBay seller from the German Ebay. I didn’t understand any of what was written but how much do you need to know? Legendary label, condition EX, and the four soloists names tells me what I need to know and the price was (just) slightly more than the postage

7 thoughts on “Freidrich Gulda – Sahib Shihab – JJ – Hubbard (1964) SABA

  1. usually I’m alone in Free Jazz loving: there’s one Saba issue by Archie Shepp that I like a lot.
    a quintet with two bones, Roswell Rudd and Grachan Moncur, hard music with surprises.
    there were two editions on Saba, one with the pink label, and one so called pink tree, later republished on Basf.
    I found a sample of this concert, recorded in Donahueschingen in 1967, a single tune divided on two sides.
    hope someone likes it:

    at the time this music was tagged as defecation on the audience.
    I dug it then, I dig it now.

  2. There’s nothing better than Carmell Jones’ “Black Forest Waltz”. To be heard on Nathan Davis legendary SABA-LP “The Hip Walk”.
    And for the pictures: I’d rather prefer a great shot of all the musicians, hanging aroung in front of a lovely nature scene, instead of having another picture of Hubbard playing his horn. You have pretty much of them already 😉

  3. A nice record indeed, but I personally think that there are much better records on the label. The sound quality with SABA albums is indeed superb. Oscar Peterson once said that his SABA/MPS recordings were the only one on which his piano sounded like it sounded acoustically. There’s an interesting documentary called ‘Jazzin’ The Black Forest’ about the label.

    • I find this a fairly boring record and the sound quality somewhat sterile. My favourite Saba is the Mary Lou Williams ‘Black Christ of the Andes’. There is so much soul in that record that the Schwarzwald engineers were unable to sanitize it to their usual standard

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