The Penguin Guide To Jazz On CD, Seventh Edition
While the "Core Collection" may be of most use to the jazz neophyte looking for a way into the almost unfathomably broad scope of jazz, it is of equal value to the more seasoned listener, who may have leaned towards a specific sub-genre and is looking for a way to stretch. Again, readers may argue with some of the choices that the authors have made, but one has to remember that, despite its large and comprehensive nature, The Penguin Guide to Jazz, Seventh Edition is still, at the end of the day, the work of two writers and is inherently biased. But that being said, there simply isn't another reference book on the market today that's as fact-filled, broad in scope and entertaining to boot - it may be a somewhat unwieldy reference guide at over 1,700 pages, but it's a surprisingly difficult tome to put down. Pick it up to check one thing and the next thing you know you are spending time simply perusing, whether it's to look up a favourite artist to see how your opinion jives with theirs, or to just casually look over a particular section to read about artists, many of whom you'll likely never have encountered.
Cook and Morton have done a remarkable job, through the course of the series, at keeping track of what CDs are in and out of print, although with a book this ambitious in scope, it's virtually impossible to be 100% accurate. Still, considering the book was published in '04, there are a surprising number of extremely current recordings listed - John Abercrombie's Class Trip , for example, which was only released in April of this year, and Arild Andersen's The Triangle , released in May. And while the seven editions of the book now take up an entire shelf of a bookcase, given the transitory nature of many of the CDs released, owning the entire collection ultimately makes for as complete a view of what jazz CDs have been available as is possible to have.
An invaluable guide for the novice and experienced listener alike, The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, Seventh Edition continues the winning streak started by Cook and Morton in '92. And by adding the "Core Collection" listings they have given readers yet another reason to pick up this new edition.
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