Pablo Of The Week: Soul Route

Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Mickey Roker.

These doyens of the Pablo legacy put together this studio session in late 1983 (published 1984) in RCA Studios in New York. A supremely groovy, bluesy (with one small jaunt into Bossa on the B side) record that no seasoned (or emerging) Pablo lover should be without. The reward is supreme musicality, and the delicious interplay between harmonically rich instruments (vibes and Rhodes/piano) played with the kind of dynamic sensitivity that only truly seasoned and introspective musicians can lend.

Yes, this is one of those “studio like” studio records that tends to be a little on the dry side. Yes, the vibes are stereo-panned to make them seem as wide as your room. This is the kind of creative license that many Pablos take – you’ll hear it on some of the Basie and Oscar Peterson records, also – and which I’m not necessarily a fan of, from a technical perspective. But the music quickly overcomes the mild distraction of quasi-hyperstereoification and you’re treated to a mellow jam session that glows with the kind of authentic sincerity that nourishes the soul.

The musicianship on this record serves also as an object lesson in expert, poetic restraint. No wildcat, fire-breathing solos full of speed-demon riffs littered with accidentals and just taking up space. Just beautifully rendered, heartfelt and radiant ineffables.


Chris Sommovigo loves music, enjoys audio, designs cables, seeks Truth. Since the mid 1980's he has been on both sides of the microphone, all sides of the industry, prefers tubes and vinyl, appreciates and respects solid state and digital, and will make great efforts to be present for a wonderful meal. Aside from this present foray into editorial life, Chris remains a small-scale manufacturer, importer, and specialized retailer and has recently started taking guitar lessons again after a 32-year hiatus.

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