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The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  412 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The leading guide to recorded jazz, now extensively revised
Music fans have been turning to this established reference through seven editions as a source of intelligent and insightful criticism. Fully updated to incorporate thousands of additional recordings, the eighth edition features artist biographies, detailed recording information with labels and catalog numbers, re
Paperback, Eighth Edition, 1548 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1992)
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Keith Evans I have no real theoretical knowledge of music but find this book immensely useful. It's really a buyer's guide with snapshot reviews of available cds…moreI have no real theoretical knowledge of music but find this book immensely useful. It's really a buyer's guide with snapshot reviews of available cds - it uses a rating system so it's easy to identify which ones it regards highly. The only downside is that it's a decade almost out of date now so doesn't reflect recent releases.(less)

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Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A friend got me this for my last birthday and, flicking through it this morning, I was reminded how excellent it is. A very useful, well organised recourse.

This also gives me an opportunity to do a Top 10 (as of today) Jazz Albums (not in order):

1. The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady - Mingus
2. Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster
3. In a Silent Way - Miles Davis
4. Live at the Village Vanguard - John Coltrane
5. Smokestack - Andrew Hill
6. The Blues and the Abstract Truth - Oliver Nelson
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
A book such as this one—1600 pages, containing literally thousands of reviews—seems destined for a certain kind of failure. Like any other large-scale collection of reviews, at least somebody's personal preferences are going to be slighted. And perhaps worse, sometimes a person's preferences won't even be represented at all. Of course, we might view this as an unfortunate but necessary consequence of finitude—both of minds and the books that these minds create. But it shouldn't come as a surpris ...more
Eric Hines
Sep 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
9th edition: The narrowness of this series of Penguin guides is becoming more & more of a problem, both as jazz expands in directions the authors (now author/editor) finds distasteful and as the point of view of the author seems to become more exaggerated with age. Cook is a man dedicated to jazz as high modernist art, and he is prejudiced against jazz as popular music, dance music or youth-oriented music.[return][return]To me, this has become a serious defect in the guide. BUT, this is stil ...more
Jun 07, 2007 rated it liked it
First they do an edition (the seventh one) without the index, which was a major mistake and pissed everbody off. Then they do the following edition (this one, the eighth) including the index but omitting albums they don't consider "essential."

Mssrs Morton and Cook: Make it a two-volume box-enclosed set printed in microscopic print with a drawer and a magnifying glass in it, like the OED, (that way you can include reviews of albums that are out of print, which you frustratingly leave out) but sto
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
In this 8th edition, Frank Zappa is conspicuously absent, though his handpicked ensemble members are seen in several entries. British jazz seems to have been largely ignored, although is perhaps beyond the scope of the list. I thought Ravi and Alice Coltrane's work were unfairly treated -- Alice's taken out of context and marginalized, and Ravi's snubbed. Though, as a more experienced listener, a book this big was a blast to browse, even if I was irritated after disagreeing with some of the revi ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entertainment
The Penguin Jazz Guide series is an indespensible reference for anyone who is interested in Jazz. Throughout the editions (I own most of them) the editors have kept up the strong review process for most in print jazz albums. A few reasons I really enjoy the PJG --
1. They list the date the album was issued
2. They list complete personnel for each album
3. They give essential ratings and review information for each album
4. Over the editions the editors views on certain albums change (albums fall in
Paul Secor
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I bought a couple of the earlier editions simply because I enjoy reading other people's opinions about music. At some point, I got rid of both because I had read all I wanted to and I realized that there wasn't anything much for me to learn there.
The book is probably worth 4 or even 5 stars for someone starting out listening to the music.
But for me, three stars.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, non_fiction, 2014, 2008
This book is a monster! This 8th Edition contains over 14,000 reviews, over 2,000 new discs added and more than 400 new artists added. The 4 star rating system is clever and I love the addition of the "Core Collection" which tells you which one's should be in your "Core Collection". A great reference before you buy that next jazz disc and something to pour over for hours. However, I couldn't help but notice that they didn't include Carol Welsman, which has released a few vocal CD's and is fairly ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a book of music reviews since Spin's guide to Alternative Music that came out in the early 90's. I still go back to that thing (somehow, it maintains relevance) and this one will always be the place I go when I want to find a little out about someone I've heard-of but not yet heard. Cook and Morton write only the most essential-seeming information. It works, makes me want to listen to more music.
Ken Johnson
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's not the end-all in Jazz music review guides but one of the best and certainly one to include along with Down Beat reviews, and the handy AMG. I would prefer they stick with the common 5-star system but appreciate the CROWN list.
Chris Meloche
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have three different editions of this book.
Richard Ladew
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Cook and Morton know their shit. Maybe someday I will have all the Brotzmann and Sun Ra stuff they expound upon. Until then, the comprehensive reviews in this book never leave you for lack of finding adventure in music.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The reviews were great.
They matched my opinions on many of the albums, which allowed me to trust their reviews on artists and albums I have yet to listen to.
It's a fantastic book to have around for any jazz enthusiast.
Greg Brozeit
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
When I decided I wanted to learn more about jazz, this book became a constant companion. It helped me to build an excellent, eclectic collection. I still refer to it from time to time. Recommended to anyone who wants to learn and get introduced to the full scope of jazz recordings.
Colin McKell-Redwood
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A constant companion in exploring jazz. Infuriating, annoying but absolutely essential reading from two guys who love their jazz. This will never make it to my "read" section, I have the fifth edition and refer to it constantly.
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Part encyclopedia, part buyer's guide (this book has cost me far more than the cover price), this chubby tome deserves its three inches of space on every serious jazz lover's bookshelf.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looks good on the bookshelf.
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-dutch, reference
Excellent guide to find you way to the massive amount of Jazz releases. Of course there's your favourite records which are not listed here. But that's why they are your favourites, right?
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Bible for jazz listeners. Everything you need to construct a respectable collection of jazz albums.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This and the all music guide are both great resources.
These will save you time and get you where you want.
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: musicalia
Andatevi a leggere il commento sulla Penguin Guide di musica classica, inutile riscrivere le stesse cose! Quando chiudo una apro l'altra, solo l'umore del momento mi guida nella scelta.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De Jazz Bijbel
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Indispensible bathroom reading. It was the catalyst in building the majority of my record collection.
John Coombs
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Dec 30, 2017
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Barry Schwartz
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Jun 20, 2012
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Harry Nagel
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Dec 13, 2014
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