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Lear’s Concord spins Zaentz’s Fantasy label

$83 mil purchase financed by Tailwind, Act Three

Norman Lear’s Concord Records has completed its purchase of Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy Records and changed the entity’s name to the Concord Music Group.

The $83 million purchase was financed by Tailwind Capital Partners along with Lear’s Act Three, which owns Concord.

Concord, enjoying its first million-seller with Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company,” will acquire all of Fantasy’s labels and their artists, plus the label’s studio in Berkeley. Besides Fantasy, labels include Milestone, Prestige, Riverside, Contemporary, Takoma, Stax, Specialty, Galaxy and Pablo. The catalog — one of the largest in jazz — boasts recordings by John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Dexter Gordon, as well as Creedence Clearwater Revival and soundtracks to Zaentz films.

Concord will continue to issue new recordings on the Fantasy labels. Among Fantasy’s current artists are Sonny Rollins, Jim Snidero and Jimmy Scott.

Concord releases in the first quarter of 2005 include recordings by Curtis Stigers, Keely Smith, Joey DeFrancesco and Jimmy Smith, the Caribbean Jazz Project with Diane Schuur and the debut of Mary Haskell.

Zaentz and his investors put the label group up for sale in February and received several bids.

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