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Thread: Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th Ed)

  1. #1
    vn, eg, eb RogerFarbey's Avatar
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    Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (7th Ed)

    The new edition of this is out now and a review of it has been put on AAJ here: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=15538
    The author of the review, John Kelman, quite rightly, refers to glaring omissions, eg, Ian Carr and Nucleus who have never been listed in this or previous PGJCDs. I wonder why this is the case, when several of Carr's albums - all now available on CD - have been landmark, essential recordings (Elastic Rock, Belladonna, Solar Plexus, Labyrinth) featuring some of the cream of British jazz (Kenny Wheeler, John Marshall, Tony Coe, Norma Winstone, Tony Levin, Ron Matthewson, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Clyne, Roy Babbington, Karl Jenkins, Gordon Beck, Harry Beckett and of course Carr himself)?
    Roger F

    "Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny." - Frank Zappa

    Ian Carr and Nucleus | Remembering Tubbs

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    I am finding the 7th edition far less useful to me than previous editions due to the omission of the index. I used to be able to find all the sessions a certain artist performed on in a matter of minutes with the index. Now it's gone. If this trend continues, this will be the last edition I buy.

    Later,
    Kevin

  3. #3
    AAJ's Barrel Roller xricci's Avatar
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    hmm... it sounds like the next edition is in dire need of a companion cd.

    they wouldn't have to omit anything and they could chop a good inch off the book's spine.

    i'm sure aaj could develop a nice little searchable database for them.

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    Maybe they could be persuaded to attach an online version to a certain website!!!!

    Might need to be subscription, but...

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    Well this was going to be on my Christmas list from the kids, now I am not so sure

    Regards

    Andy D.

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    Is it in the UK shops yet?

    I went into town (Nottingham) for the first time in a couple of months last Saturday and couldn't find sight or sound of a copy anywhere.

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    Well I have seen two copy's today in little 'ol' Wilmslow, Cheshire

    And if it gets here it must be out!

    Regards

    Andy D.

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    Thanks, Andy.

    Must have been a rush on copies in Nottingham!

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    Penguin Guide Is Seriously Flawed

    The Penguin Guide has always been a very painful read for me.
    I enjoy Cook and Morton's enthusiasm for releases they like, but what annoys me is their utter laziness in the discographies. Many artists have entire decades missing from their careers. Part of this problem is that the Penguin Guide is a guide for "CDs" only. Which automatically omits 60 years of jazz in one fashion or another. In the last edition, they listed Phil Woods as releasing nothing between the years of '61 and '69, not to mention '69 through '79. Can you imagine compiling a discography of Freddie Hubbard and omitting the years '67 through '70? "High Blues Pressure" was most certainly released on CD by the printing of the last edition.
    The last edition didn't even have entries for The Jazztet or Howard Roberts!

  10. #10
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    I own the sixth edition of the book, and I generally like it. One flaw in my opinion is that the listings are not always in cronological order. Cook and Morton seem to think that taking the artists' periods (e.g with a specific label) into consideration is important when listing the albums. I always find it confusing.

  11. #11
    AAJ's Big Nose jkelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Raconteur
    The Penguin Guide has always been a very painful read for me.
    I enjoy Cook and Morton's enthusiasm for releases they like, but what annoys me is their utter laziness in the discographies. Many artists have entire decades missing from their careers. Part of this problem is that the Penguin Guide is a guide for "CDs" only. Which automatically omits 60 years of jazz in one fashion or another. In the last edition, they listed Phil Woods as releasing nothing between the years of '61 and '69, not to mention '69 through '79. Can you imagine compiling a discography of Freddie Hubbard and omitting the years '67 through '70? "High Blues Pressure" was most certainly released on CD by the printing of the last edition.
    The last edition didn't even have entries for The Jazztet or Howard Roberts!
    But the point of the multiple editions is to list CDs (yes, it's in the title so if you don't like that fact, well...you know what to do!) that are in print. So titles that might have appeared in the Sixth Edition may no longer be in the Seventh Edition because they are no longer in print.

    The title says it all. It's not meant to be a comprehensive look at an artist's career in toto, rather a comprehensive look at an artist's career on the basis of what is currently available. The idea is to provide a book that provides suggestions of what to buy (or not) based on Cook and Morton's definitely biased opinion (biased yes, but their tastes are still pretty darn broad).

    Like I said in my review, its almost too easy to criticize the book, rather than accepting it for what it is. If they were to publish a book listing all releases every artist has ever done, they'd need a multi-volume set five times the length of this already massive tome.

    While there are clearly deficiencies (although the lack of index is something that I didn't twig to when I wrote the review, and is a good point), I think Cook and Morton have to be given credit for creating what is still the gold standard for reference books on available Jazz CDs.

    Best!
    John

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    Well, that's just a load of hooey.
    Despite the title of the book, Morton and Cook have deliberately set out to create...as you say...the "gold standard" of jazz guides. As such, they should be judged at that high level. If they had set out to make the Penguin Guide an actual "shopper's" guide, as you've implied, then we wouldn't even be discussing the issue. Moreover, even in that category, they would fall a far second behind the All Music Guide, which amazingly manages to deliver full discographies, complete career overviews and concise reviews. Despite the lofty pretentions of Cook and Morton, the Penguin Guide as it stands now is a supplementary guide to the All Music Guide. Something handy to fill in the gaps, but a far cry from the definitive, indispensible guide it claims to be.

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    Could you quote they exact line or lines where the authors of the Penguin Guide claim it to be 'the definitive, indispensible guide'.

  14. #14
    AAJ's Big Nose jkelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Raconteur
    Well, that's just a load of hooey.
    Despite the title of the book, Morton and Cook have deliberately set out to create...as you say...the "gold standard" of jazz guides. As such, they should be judged at that high level. If they had set out to make the Penguin Guide an actual "shopper's" guide, as you've implied, then we wouldn't even be discussing the issue. Moreover, even in that category, they would fall a far second behind the All Music Guide, which amazingly manages to deliver full discographies, complete career overviews and concise reviews. Despite the lofty pretentions of Cook and Morton, the Penguin Guide as it stands now is a supplementary guide to the All Music Guide. Something handy to fill in the gaps, but a far cry from the definitive, indispensible guide it claims to be.
    Sorry, but we have to agree to disagree. The purpose of the Penguin Guide is to cover CDs in print, and in that regard they do a wonderful job - more or less. I certainly have my quibbles with ommisions (Nucleus/Ian Carr to name but one), but I think it is far better written than AMG. But that's a matter of opinion.

    I think you are mistaking the purpose of the guide. It is not meant as a guide for all releases ever made by an artist - nor does it purport to be. It is specifically to cover CDs (and CDs only) in print.

    John

  15. #15
    AAJ's Big Nose jkelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bev Stapleton
    Could you quote they exact line or lines where the authors of the Penguin Guide claim it to be 'the definitive, indispensible guide'.
    Absolutely Bev. They make no such claims. I assert that, with regards to listing CDs in print, it is the gold standard, but that is my claim, not theirs.
    John

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