The Penguin Guide to Jazz

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The Penguin Guide to Jazz is a music guide first published in 1992 by Penguin Books in London . Its aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire field of jazz CDs.


The Penguin Guide to Jazz was first published in 1992 in Great Britain by Penguin Books by the British music journalists Richard Cook and Brian Morton . The last edition so far (10th edition) appeared in December 2010. The reference work offers an overview of all jazz CDs available in European and US-American stores at the status of the edition . The cover of the eighth edition of the Penguin Guide to Jazz appeared with a photograph of drummer Philly Joe Jones by Francis Wolff from 1959.

After the first edition in 1992, a new edition has been published every two years; Each new edition contains new entries from new and re-releases, but out of print CDs are regularly deleted. The eighth edition, published in 2006, contained two thousand new entries. While the seventh edition was still called The Penguin Guide of Jazz on CD , the latest edition was named The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings ( ISBN 0-14-102327-9 ) due to the development of the sound carriers .

Structure and content

The volume (6th edition) contains an introductory part, the lexicon part and a glossary on X and 1730 pages . The introductory part (pp. I – X) contains short comments on previous editions, brief biographies of the editors, an introduction to jazz on sound carriers, an explanation of the star rating system and criteria such as recording quality, price and playing time.

In the main part , the artists are listed in alphabetical order. Each entry begins with a brief biographical introduction before a detailed list of the available recordings begins. Each compact disc is given a rating of up to four stars, gives details of the label and the respective catalog number, the musicians who contributed to the album, as well as the month and year of recording. Then the album is discussed in different lengths in a single section or several albums by the artist are summarized. Ratings range from **** ( a great record that will continue to provide pleasure and should not be missing from any comprehensive collection ) to ** (*) ( contains matters of concern; the artist's admirers will enjoy it, but a number of disadvantages speaks against ) up to the critical judgment * ( an absolute shame, whoever is responsible ). In very few cases that the authors emphasize, they award a special mark of distinction in the form of a crown . It shows albums for which they show a very personal admiration like u. a. the albums Spiritual Unity by Albert Ayler , The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus , Count Basie ’s The Original American Decca Recordings , Machine Gun by Peter Brötzmann , Charlie Parker's Dial Recordings and of course Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and them consider them to be "essential" albums in a jazz CD collection. In the eighth edition (2006), the authors also identified 200 outstanding albums as the basis of a collection that covers the relevant areas of jazz, the Core Collection .

Bootlegs and issues of dubious provenance as well as "limited editions" such as those from Mosaic Records were not recorded. The so-called Various Artists compilations, which were included in the first edition, are also missing .

Literature (selection)

There are various editions that differ significantly in terms of title, content concept, number of pages and format:

  • Richard Cook & Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. Sixth Edition. Penguin Books, London 2002, ISBN 0-14-051521-6
  • Brian Morton, Richard Cook: The Penguin Jazz Guide. The History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums , 10th edition, Paperback, Penguin, London 2011, 768 pages, ISBN 9780141048314
  • Brian Morton, Richard Cook: The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings , Ninth edition, Paperback, Penguin, London 2008, 1600 pages, ISBN 9780141034010

Web links

References and comments

  2. The first edition from 1992 was still entitled The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette .
  3. This is based on the sixth edition
  4. In the 7th edition (2004) the star system is explained as follows: four stars - very fine, outstanding record (if the fourth star in brackets is only a minor defect), three stars - good, middleweight set (if there is a star in brackets there are major flaws), two stars - not good, there are many better records to listen to . A star - confiscate their instruments, confiscate their instruments