Cover image for The Penguin guide to jazz on compact disc
The Penguin guide to jazz on compact disc
Cook, Richard, 1957-2007.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Ringwood, Vic. : Penguin, 1998.
Physical Description:
xi, 1745 ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML156.4.J3 C67 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



What was the line-up at John Coltrane's Village Vanguard sessions? What is John Zorn's most important contribution to contemporary jazz? When was Jelly Roll Morton recorded for the Library of Congress? Where can you find a complete set of Ella Fitzgerald's many songbook recordings? Leading critics Richard Cook and Brian Morton answer these and a myriad other questions in The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD -- the most comprehensive critical guide to jazz recordings available. Updated with revised artists' entries and thousands of additional CDs, the fourth edition includes:
-- listings for over 10,000 discs
-- musical and biographical details
-- full line-ups
-- accurate label and number details
-- authoritative critical ratings

Author Notes

Richard Cook is the former editor of the Wire and is currently the editor of the leading UK jazz magazine, Jazz Review . He is the coauthor of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings .
Brian Morton is a freelance writer and longtime broadcaster for BBC Radio.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In evaluating this new work, it is appropriate to begin with an overview of previous references on the topic. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz [RBB Ap 15 89], jazz discography, since its beginnings in the 1930s, has been dominated by Europeans, including Charles Delaunay's Hot Discography (Paris, 1936), Hilton Schleman's Rhythm on Records (London, 1936), and Brian Rust's Jazz Records, 1897-1942 (Chigwell, England, 1982). Important American contributions include Frederic Ramsey and Charles E. Smith's Jazz Record Book (1942), Orin Blackstone's Index to Jazz (1945-48), and Leonard Feather's biodiscographies: Encyclopedia of Jazz (reprinted 1984), Encyclopedia of Jazz in the 60s (reprinted 1986), and (with Ira Gitler) Encyclopedia of Jazz in the '70s (reprinted 1987). In the international New Grove title, two-thirds of the 4,500 entries are biographies, each accompanied by a discography and bibliography. Also, through the years, jazz discographers have produced specialized works dealing with specific aspects of the topic, for example, musical style (free jazz, bebop, swing), geographic area, record label, and the work of an individual performer. The title under review, by two British writers and broadcasters, is a companion volume to one on classical music, Penguin Guide to Compact Discs and Cassettes (1992). Cook and Morton state in the introduction that "while a number of selective guides have appeared in the past, this is the first serious attempt to bring the whole spectrum of jazz recording within a single volume." To this end, the work attempts to be a comprehensive (though not exhaustive) critical guide to currently available recorded jazz from its beginning in 1917 to the present. The book covers more than 1,300 jazz musicians and groups and is organized alphabetically by name. For each individual, information is provided about birth and death dates; instruments played and a note of other musical talents, such as "arranger"; and a list of record titles. The entry for each recording is preceded by a rating from one to five stars (five is the very best) and includes information about label and catalog number, formats in which available, performers and instrumental credits, and date of the recordings. Entries for musicians include critical annotations, sometimes of individual recordings, and often provide additional brief biographical information. Following this section of the book is a very selected listing of recordings that include various artists, some listed by decade, others by instrument, and, lastly, one album featuring classic women jazz artists. The index lists the jazz musicians and every performer on every record, but there is no record title index. This guide to recorded jazz is recommended for public, academic, and music libraries seeking to enrich their jazz collections and for individual jazz enthusiasts. (Reviewed June 1993)

Library Journal Review

Wondering whether that old LP you have of Lester at Birdland is available on CD? When Branford and Wynton Marsalis have recorded together? The best collection of Billie Holiday tunes? If so, then this is the book for you. This fifth edition of Penguin's definitive guide to jazz recordings on compact disc expands on the stellar reputation of its predecessors, the first of which appeared in 1992. Organized alphabetically by artist, the book boasts more than 10,000 entries (approximately 2000 more than the fourth edition), an easier-to-read, two-column format, and bright white paper stock. Cook, an editor at Jazz Review, and Morton, a BBC announcer, have reappraised entries, deleting albums that have gone out of print and adding new releases. For example, under "John Zorn," readers will notice 20 more recordings. Each entry also offers complete label and numbering information, incisive critical commentary, personnel listings, and for the first time short biographical sketches of various artists. As in previous editions, each entry is given a shorthand rating of one to four stars. The writers' wit, attention to detail, and consistently incisive commentary make this essential for even the most discriminating jazz enthusiast. Libraries without the fourth edition (1998) should definitely purchase. David Valencia, King Cty. Lib. Syst., Federal Way, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The latest edition of this essential guide dwarfs the first edition, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP, and Cassette (1992) by nearly 500 pages. The key word in the title is "guide": it successfully informs readers about individual artists and bands, especially the recordings they have made. The authors, both well-known British jazz critics, have their own sensibilities and points of view. The information they give concentrates on the music, offering precious little in the way of biography, but fails to make connections between musicians and styles. It neglects the question, "If I like this musician, whom else can I explore who plays in a similar style?" By contrast, the "All Music Guides" synthesize stylistic issues and guide readers in other directions, while still providing critical evaluation of individual recordings (whether you agree or not). The Penguin Guide gives expectedly greater attention to European artists and seems more attuned to recordings available in the UK (as of 1997-98) than to the US. The authors show unevenness with regard to some artists, neglecting some recent releases to which they should have had access. Although published guides like this one can never be up-to-date, they often prove excellent starting points to find new repertoire, or new music by known artists. J. Farrington; Eastman School of Music