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All Music Guide to Jazz by Michael Erlewine, Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra & Scott Yanow

The new edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz has nearly five hundred more pages than its 1996 predecessor, and the pages are about a quarter larger. The coverage is very thorough, a tribute to the herculean labors of Scott Yanow, who has here overcome most of the guide’s earlier faults (the rather silly music maps remain). Unlike most contributors to tomes of this kind, Yanow shows a balanced, broadly knowledgeable approach to the subject. For example, he lists and describes LPs that he knows should have been reissued on CD, and is obviously all too aware of the shortcomings in American reissue programs, those of Mosaic and the Fantasy group always excepted. The more appalling gaps are properly filled by European releases. Bill and Chu Berry are duly here, but not the great Emmett of that ilk. Considering the project’s size, typographical errors are remarkably few, so it is disappointing to find the names of both Pannassie and Delaunay misspelled in a section devoted to “Producers and Writers”. And copying Grove, this writer is moved to the U.S.A. in 1937 instead of 1959!

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