|Original title||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette|
|24 September 1992 (1st Edition)|
2010 (10th Edition)
The Penguin Guide to Jazz is a reference work containing an encyclopedic directory of jazz recordings on CD which were (at the time of publication) currently available in Europe or the United States. The first nine ions were compiled by Richard Cook and Brian Morton, two chroniclers of jazz resident in the United Kingdom.
The first ion was published in Britain by Penguin Books in 1992. Every subsequent two years, through 2010, a new ion was published with updated entries. The eighth and ninth ions, published in 2006 and 2008, respectively, each included 2,000 new CD listings.
The title took on different forms over the lifetime of the work, as audio technology changed. The seventh ion was known as The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD while subsequent ions were titled The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The earliest ion had the title The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette.
Richard Cook died in 2007, prior to the completion of the 9th ion (2008). Penguin released The Penguin Jazz Guide: The History of the Music in the 1001 Best Albums in December 2010, which contains fewer reviews and a different format from previous ions.
In the first nine ions, artists were listed alphabetically and the entries began with short (usually one paragraph) biographies before a comprehensive listing of a musicians' available recordings at that time. Each disc was given a rating of up to four stars and details of its label and catalogue number, musicians featured on the disc, month and year of the recording or the span of time in which the tracks were recorded and finally a review of varying length. Often a number of discs were reviewed together.
Two extra features, author's picks (crowns) and "core collections", were added to succeeding ions. The first showed entries flagged as personal favorites while the latter made special note of the "more essential" albums for a jazz CD collection. John Eyles comments in a review that "the implication is that the choices for crowns are subjective, while the Core Collection is somehow more objective," when in fact both lists are decided upon by the same two ors.
Bootlegs and limited-ion Mosaic Records releases were excluded. Various-artists compilations were reviewed in the first ion but were dropped in later ions. Due to the increasing numbers of CDs on the market, space limitations and depth of coverage became an increasing problem: in the 7th ion, for instance, the index was dropped to save space, but it was restored in the 8th ion (though a number of entries were dropped or shortened to make room for it).
In the tenth ion, titled The Penguin Jazz Guide (2010), Morton revised his and Cook's entries from previous ions, and pared down the content to 1001 reviews of what Morton had selected as the best jazz recordings. Morton also presented the reviews in chronological order by recording dates, rather than alphabetically by artist, and included historical context for the recordings as well as biographical details. The tenth ion also dispensed with the starred rating system, the Core Collection, and Crown accolades.
Though the first nine ions did not "spring any great surprises," the book "has a tried and trusted formula that works". It is also praised as being "of equal value to both experienced jazz listeners and novices." Alison Kerr, reviewing the 2010 Penguin Jazz Guide in The Herald, noted the lack of an index as a hindrance, but cited the chronological format as one of the book's strengths. Kerr also noted the subjective nature of Morton's selection of the best jazz albums.
|1st||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette||1992||9780140153644|
|2nd||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette||1994||9780670858163|
|3rd||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD||1996||9780140513684|
|4th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD||1998||9780140513837|
|5th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD||2000||9780140514520|
|6th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD||2002||9780140515213|
|7th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD||2004||9780141014166|
|8th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings||2006||9780141023274|
|9th||The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings||2008||9780141034010|
|10th||The Penguin Jazz Guide||2010||9780141048314|