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Blue Note Records: The Biography by Richard Cook

It would be all too easy to plunge deep into fandom when writing a biography such as this. After all, it’s Blue Note Records, the most revered and instantly recognized label in the music’s history. British author Richard Cook certainly brings a lot of love to the table, painting saintly portraits of the label’s founders, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, and then unraveling their trials and tribulations with sepia-toned appeal as other significant characters-Rudy Van Gelder, Reid Miles, Michael Cuscuna, Bruce Lundvall and the litany of jazz greats-come into play. Cook should be commended, though, for his level-headedness in not triumphing every single session Blue Note committed to wax, even displaying reservations for some of the label’s more celebrated artists such as Donald Byrd and Stanley Turrentine.

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