Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

March 25th, 2024



Acoustic Sounds Announces Major Pablo Records Reissue Series!

15 titles, 33 1/3, all-analog mastering, hand picked by Chad Kassem

Acoustic Sounds just announced a fifteen Pablo titles reissue series, cut from the original master tapes and pressed at Quality Record Pressings. Mastering engineers include Doug Sax, Kevin Gray and Stan Ricker (obviously these are from existing metal parts). Pablo Records was the great producer Norman Granz's "swan song". Granz (1918-2001) created Clef, Norgran, Verve and finally Pablo. He was also Ella Fitzgerald's manager for decades until her career ended.

Granz, yet another son a Jewish immigrants to get involved in the record business was also instrumental in desegregating music venues, and like Benny Goodman, in putting Black and white performers on stage together. Granz put his money where his beliefs were and cancelled segregated shows. His activism on behalf of racial equality is legendary. Today it's difficult to believe, but his decision to pay musicians equal pay regardless of race was at the time a revolutionary idea. Granz's "Jazz at the Philharmonic" series included world tours that brought American jazz to Europe and elsewhere following World War II.

He founded Pablo in 1973 at age fifty five (Granz was an art collector and friend of Picasso), and made the label a home for older, more traditional jazz musicians supposedly past their prime. The covers were black and white and that plus the "over the hill" musicians probably contributed to the sense that this was a "budget" label, but Granz used the best recording studios and engineers and achieve spectacular studio sound. And of course these musicians were anything but "over the hill" and the more time that passed, the more music lovers came to value these recordings, especially the free-wheeling jam sessions. Granz sold Pablo to Fantasy in 1987.

The records, some of which Acoustic Sounds has previously released, will roll out between now and October 25th, 2024, with The Alternate Blues now shipping. Retail is $40. The first 250 will be numbered and sold as a subscription series group for $650.00.

The Pablo catalog was among the best kept "little secrets" in jazz vinyl history with records until very recently going for ridiculously low dollars but that all changed about a decade ago and now they've become more difficult to find and the prices have dramatically risen.


  • 2024-03-25 07:11:27 PM

    bwb wrote:

    Damn! On the one hand it is wonderful that all these reissues are rolling out. However, my retirement just got pushed back another few years with all the vinyl I need to buy

    • 2024-03-26 07:29:26 PM

      tim davis wrote:

      Oh man! I'm with bwb on this one. I was planning to retire this upcoming Halloween (four months afore I can draw S.S.) but now, with this news, I don't know.........

  • 2024-03-25 07:26:34 PM

    Come on wrote:

    This is so great! Although I already have all the relevant for me of the old 45 RPM series, I probably buy those again as 33 and I look forward to several of the new ones!

    But I take every bet, that, as soon as some time went over those 33’s and all the OJC Craft’s and all the Contemporary series Craft’s … there will be the ex 45 RPM Fantasy series released again as 45’s (containing most of those again) with then current masterings. That’s how it went all the years and how it quite sure continues. ;-) It will be interesting if the old 45 Fantasy series stays superior (overall, not in every characteristic), as it imo mostly did so far, not only due to the speed difference.

    Finally it’s great to see some new ones with this series!

    • 2024-03-25 10:22:48 PM

      Come on wrote:

      Ok, after checking for those using the old parts and which Michael or myself compared to the AP45‘‘s and those I can pass on for music reasons, there are 4 I‘ll buy.

      For those who also have the old 45‘s, here’s an exemplary MF review where he compared one of them to the Sax mastering (last abstract):

      This matches my usual experience, but if I’m right I think to remember the old Chet Baker/Chet AP 33 RPM was an exception and sounded much more airy than the AP45 and the Craft 33. There sometimes are surprises when comparing.

  • 2024-03-25 07:46:22 PM

    PeterPani wrote:

    The Alternate Blues is one oft the best jazz records around, in my opinon.

    • 2024-03-26 06:30:02 PM

      Fred Morris wrote:

      As is The Tatum Group Masterpieces.

  • 2024-03-25 09:56:50 PM

    Josquin des Prez wrote:

    I'm going JOMO on this series.

  • 2024-03-26 01:26:20 PM

    Martin Straub wrote:

    Now that really is news. The Pablo catalogue is a stellar sounding set. I have most of those above as originals and the Tatum / Webster as both the original and the 45 rpm. I could even be tempted for some of these to get the reissues.

  • 2024-03-26 03:51:36 PM

    db wrote:

    I didn't know what the Pablo label was 25 years ago the first time I saw them (when they were available for a few bucks). Bought one and dang if it didn't sound fantastic. Been buying them ever since when I see them in a store. The Basie albums made me appreciate his sparse style; and I'm always amazed at the completely opposite style of Tatum.

  • 2024-03-26 07:29:02 PM

    Jim Shue wrote:

    Chad should be smiling in the YT thumbnail! The Pablo catalog needed this reissue series badly and the fact that Acoustic Sounds and QRP are doing it kicks ass! Chad kicks ass and not a white lab coat in sight! ;-)

  • 2024-03-27 10:55:28 PM

    Bryan M. wrote:

    While I applaud the fact that Chad has engaged with Concord to reissue Pablo titles, I really question the titles he picked. Not a super fan of the Basie-Ellington focus. Also, these records are available all over the place in used Jazz bins around the world. If I wanted a Pablo -made Basie record, I can find it almost anywhere for $2. Not sure why Chad thinks he can justify selling a repress for $40. He is going to be stuck with a huge amount of these. Now, would I be willing to pay $40 for a QRP pressed modern copy of Joe Pass Viruoso? Or Oscar Peterson Nigerian Marketplace? Or Joe / NHOP Chops? Probably yes! But these initial releases?