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Hermann Szobel

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Hermann Szobel is/was a pianist and composer. He produced and recorded one album, titled “Szobel,” at the age of 18, demonstrating, in the words of a “Down Beat” reviewer (9 September 1976), “a conception and technique far in advance of most musicians twice his age.” According to the artist biography included with promotional copies of the album, Szobel was born in Vienna in 1958 and was “a child prodigy who began his classical training at the age of six” who “spent the majority of his practicing hours on pieces by Chopin. ” The bio states that pianists Martial Solal and Keith Jarrett were two major influences on his work. Szobel is a nephew of the late rock-concert promoter Bill Graham. “Szobel” features extremely complicated compositions comparable to those of Frank Zappa. The music is jazz-based but contains elements of rock and Western classical music. Szobel’s impressive piano virtuosity is noticeable throughout the album. The other musicians on “Szobel” are Michael Visceglia on bass, Bob Goldman on drums, Dave Samuels on percussion including marimba and vibraphone, and Vadim Vyadro on tenor sax, clarinet, and flute. Obscure even when it was released (on Arista Records) in 1976, “Szobel” does not exist on CD. Hermann Szobel disappeared from the music world after this album and has never been heard from again.

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