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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Messy layout
While I agree the comprehensive CD review book was getting too cumbersome(getting on for 2000 pages) I feel this effort could have been so much better.
I am not sure categorizing reviews by years really works but the main problem is there is no artist index. So if you are looking for a specific artist you have to plough through all the entries listed by year...
Published on 4 Nov. 2010 by david Clarke

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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LAZY, LAZY, LAZY
20 years ago I bought the first Guide by Brian Morton and Richard Cook (and then the next 8 editions at 2 yearly intervals) and refer to them all constantly - an, as yet non-existent, multi volume edition would certainly be my ''Desert Island'' book choice. Although you wouldn't know from the somewhat overblown ''reviews'' printed in the subsequent editions, the first one...
Published on 3 Jan. 2011 by Nick ( Larry )Lamb


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Messy layout, 4 Nov. 2010
By 
david Clarke "salist" (east sussex uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
While I agree the comprehensive CD review book was getting too cumbersome(getting on for 2000 pages) I feel this effort could have been so much better.
I am not sure categorizing reviews by years really works but the main problem is there is no artist index. So if you are looking for a specific artist you have to plough through all the entries listed by year.
How easy it would have been to also add an artist index!
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LAZY, LAZY, LAZY, 3 Jan. 2011
20 years ago I bought the first Guide by Brian Morton and Richard Cook (and then the next 8 editions at 2 yearly intervals) and refer to them all constantly - an, as yet non-existent, multi volume edition would certainly be my ''Desert Island'' book choice. Although you wouldn't know from the somewhat overblown ''reviews'' printed in the subsequent editions, the first one was not universally applauded - along the lines of, ''who is this aimed at'' etc. Well, history has answered that one, but I would revive that comment for this awful cop-out. Other reviewers have pointed out the many obvious shortcomings and it is quite clear that Morton has completely lost interest in everything except the money involved in this lazy affair.

There is but one CD recorded since the last issue and perhaps 3 or 4 from 2007, the year before the last issue - does Morton really think that represents the ''current scene'' - of course not!!! This is a wilfully perverse selection of the ''best'' 1001 CDs and would perhaps have had more validity as simply ''The history of Jazz in 1001 CDs'' -and even then it would be questionable - is John Coltrane for example really only worth 3 entries when Anthony Braxton and Milt Jackson get 5 each?!? For individual Artists, previous 5*/Crown and ''Core Collection'' CDs are randomly jettisoned and replaced by, often, 3* recordings, with no explanation - do these represent Morton's preferences over Cook's? Who knows, but this book won't tell you!!!

Worse still is the superficial ''review'' of each decade, the rather pretentious practice not including translations of numerous French, Italian and other quotes and virtually no attempt to fit the selected discs into the ''history''. However the really sloppy part is the virtually non-existent editing which is just not good enough - it is bad enough that the vast majority of the text is lifted straight from previous issues but no one appears to have even read them before inclusion -I haven't read every entry yet of course, but just about all the ones I have struggled through include references to: ''the disc below/above'', comments on Albums which are not included or mentioned again, ''the first disc here'' etc etc - all obviously straight from the original text, and only making sense in that context. Even the minimal ''new'' text is littered with such inconsistencies and in a couple of instances, even of the few I have read, clearly refer to a different CD from the one mentioned.

The lack of an Index, again, is just astonishing in any book, but particularly given the outcry last time one was omited. At least previously it was for reasons of size, and explained - this book is half the size of most editions, and no explanation whatsoever is given

Penguin/Morton seem determined to prolong this successful series (Cook did not contribute any new stuff to the 9th edition either) but this is damaging the well earned reputation of all concerned - buy the 9th edition, in fact, any edition rather than this very poor effort.

Very, very poor and very, very Sad !!!!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 9 Nov. 2010
By 
CFT (Oregon House, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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The low rating is not for the book itself which is not bad, maybe two and a half stars, but for the fact that it replaces the eagerly awaited 10th Edition of The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings, by far the best jazz guide out there. I use the 9th Edition continuously - if I hear a track by, say, Simon Nabotov and I want authoritative recommendations as to which of his CDs to buy (and not buy) there's nowhere better. Please Penguin, publish the 10th Edition asap. The book under review falls between two stools - too much obscure music for the neophyte and nowhere near enough detail for the seasoned jazz fan. And as has been said elsewhere, the lack of an index is completely insane. Arghh!

Here's what we need:
Every year or maybe every two years a new edition of the Guide with reviews of what's been issued recently, plus "core collection" reviews, and an online archive with ALL reviews from all editions of the Guide. Access to the online archive would be provided with purchase of the book. Wouldn't that be nice?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent companion., 2 Dec. 2012
A new look and a new format for the esteemed Penguin Guide: due to the death of one of the authors it seems that this compressed form is the one in which it will continue (although in this form I can't imagine it being revised and updated nearly as often as it was in it's previous comprehensive incarnation, which is not necessarily a bad thing).
Despite the misgivings of some of the reviewers the knowledge in here is invaluable and eye/ear-opening. Much of it has appeared in previous Penguin Guides (1000 albums have been singled out and had their reviews from previous guides extended) but I would still recommend this: as with my copy of the previous Penguin Guide I am constantly picking this up and thumbing through it in quiet moments (all too few) re-reading entries, bookmarking pages, underlining passages, finding new nuggets of wisdom and things to listen out for...
For anyone who hasn't owned a previous Penguin Guide I would strongly recommend going for The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Ninth Edition. That book is a tremendous guide to jazz for the exploring listener (for a beginning or more casual listener I would actually recommend the lighter-toned but similarly comprehensive All Music Guide to Jazz). This book is not meant to replace that, but to do a different job with the same raw materials, and as such it is an excellent companion.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, 16 Nov. 2010
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As jazz CD sales are declining and some of the most important labels now facing bankruptcy, the Penguin Guide to Jazz, formerly one of the key reference works, is now in similar decline. Already the previous version showed that Brian Morton did not really follow the footsteps of the late Richard Cook, who had founded the guide, and this new edition seems to be headed in very much in the wrong direction.

Rather than providing an overview of jazz recordings, this edition of the guide sees itself as a history of jazz. It does not provide much history, however - all it does is present record reviews in chronological order. The scope has also been reduced: instead of the 14,000 CDs of the 9th edition, there are only 1001, presumably the "best" from the previous edition. As a previous reviewer has pointed out, this is as useless for seasoned jazz fans (who want more) as it is for novices (who need a more compact selection); the lack of an index also makes it useless as any kind of reference. In its current form, i.e. a jazz history in record review form, it will probably appeal only to a very limited audience, even if the selection of albums and the reviews themselves are both rock solid.

Unfortunately, the bulk of these reviews and the all-too-brief artist biographies are exactly the same as in the 9th edition, so apart from a handful of new additions, owners of the 9th edition don't get anything they don't already have, and they get it in a form that is perfectly useless for them.

New readers who don't have one of the previous editions and who want a slightly unconventional history of jazz may find this of some use though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable guide to the best jazz albums., 30 Oct. 2010
By 
Jazzrook - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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The previous 9 editions of the 'Jazz Bible' reviewed and assessed thousands of available jazz recordings, but for this drastically slimmed-down 10th edition, Brian Morton has focused on the 1001 best albums considered essential for all jazz fans.
This completely revised edition which has been described as "the 'Penguin Guide to Jazz' for the iTunes generation" contains perceptive, witty and knowledgeable reviews of important jazz recordings arranged in chronological order from the 1920s to recent times. The hours of concentrated thought and hard-listening that's gone into this monumental series from Brian Morton and the late Richard Cook since 1992 is awe-inspiring.
Subtitled 'The History of the Music in 1001 Best Albums', this latest endlessly browsable edition is an indispensable guide for anyone starting to build a jazz library but seasoned collectors will probably prefer to carry on consulting the previous 9 editions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A wilfully perverse and unhelpful book, 19 Mar. 2011
Even leaving aside the mathematically pedantic dating system that puts 1970 in the 1960s (but not 1960), this book seems almost wilfully perverse. It has no index, so if you've heard of, say, Stan Getz, and wonder which of his albums would be worth starting with, you'll have to plough through either the contents or the book itself to find them. You'll need to know when he was recording, since the albums are listed by date of recording, rather than by artist. The best way of finding something is to track down an entry for an artist, and then follow the cross references; an infuriating process if you want to look up more than say one artist. There is next to no guidance for the beginner (such as me), who wants to build up a collection, but needs help on where to start, and with whom. I intend to give my copy to a charity shop and buy an earlier edition, having carefully read the reviews first! Not recommended.

Update, July 2011: Have now bought a second hand copy of the 1994 edition "The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette" and it is much, much better than the newest edition, which is going to the nearest charity shop.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where is the real guide to jazz recordings?, 11 Nov. 2010
By 
D. Jager - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is very disappointing. I'm an avid user of the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, but this so called 10th edition doesn't add anything useful to the former editions. It's too extended for the casual jazz fan (who was far better served by the "core collection" in the earlier editions) and entirely useless for seasoned users of the earlier editions of the Guide. It may be that coverage of a huge number of recordings is becoming too cumbersome. An idea would be to publish a Guide every two years just focussing on an extended coverage of new (re)issues.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant guide to jazz, 1 Feb. 2013
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For someone seeking a guide and direction through the vast geography of the jazz world this book is perfect. It has a very comprehensive index but I can understand other reviewers' frustrations if they have been used to a particular format in previous editions. However, without such a comparison this book rewards both the browsing reader and one with a particular study path using the index.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When is a Jazz Guide not a Guide to Jazz?, 19 July 2011
By 
Udeen (Northumberland) - See all my reviews
I've been using Richard Cook and Brian Morton's The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD: Seventh Edition (Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings) for a number of years. I find it engrossing and indispensable. Recently, I decided that it was time I bought an updated version, and found 'The Penguin Jazz Guide' in a branch of Waterstones. It confused me a great deal, and here's how. Pay attention; this might confuse you too.

On the cover of the book I am reviewing, 'The Penguin Jazz Guide: The History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums', these two endorsements appear:

"The leader in its field... if you own only one book on jazz, it really should be this one." (International Record Review)
"Significant and stimulating... part jazz history, part jazz Karma Sutra, with Cook and Morton as the knowledgeable, urbane, wise and witty guides... This is one of the great books on recorded jazz; other guides don't even come close." (The Irish Times)

These two endorsements also appear on the cover of the book I own, that is the 'Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD'. So it's the same book, right? Wrong.

Look closely at this newer book and you will see the words: "Praise for the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings." In other words, the praise is not for 'The Penguin Jazz Guide'. Got it?

I felt uncomfortable about the fact that the names of the books were so similar, feeling that this could lead to accusations that Penguin were misleading readers, so I contacted Penguin Books, The International Record Review and The Irish Times.

The International Record Review were most helpful and sent me a copy of the review from which their quote was taken. It might interest potential buyers to know that this review was written in 2000. Some people might consider eleven years to be a long time in publishing. The Editor of IRR told me that she was unaware that Penguin was still using an eleven year old endorsement and that she would be contacting Penguin to ask them to stop doing so.

Penguin Books responded promptly to my requests for information and I was impressed when they volunteered to change the wording of an advertisement for this book on their website. I was less impressed when I saw the grudging changes affected. My image of this iconic company has been tarnished. Dare I say that standards are slipping?

The Irish Times? No idea. They did not respond to several requests for information.

Other reviewers have focused on the way in which 'The Penguin Jazz Guide' is organised. I do not like the limited scope of the book. I feel as if someone is trying to spoon-feed me. Also, I do not like the division into decades. This seems arbitrary.

I got the impression from Penguin Books that there is no great enthusiasm for an updated edition of 'The Penguin Guide to Jazz', which was described to me as 'vast' and 'covering an enormous amount of material'. So, there appears to be a hole in the market. Anyone fancy reviewing 16,000 jazz albums?

I am left with the feeling that Penguin's marketing for this book is cynical and deliberately misleading. Quite apart from this, the book is inadequate for a serious jazz collector. The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD: Seventh Edition (Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings) and The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings: Ninth Edition remain worthwhile investments. Mine is seven years old and still works for me. I supplement my well-thumbed 'Guide to Jazz' with customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Richard Cook died on 25th August 2007.
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