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Richard Cook, British Music Journalist, Dies at 50

Richard Cook, a British music critic and author whose credits include Richard Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia, Blue Note: The Biography, It’s About That Time (a survey of Miles Davis’ key recordings) and The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, died at age 50 on Aug. 25. The cause of death was cancer.

Cook began writing about music professionally during the 1970s, when his work appeared in the British newsweekly NME. He later edited both The Wire and Jazz Review magazines and served as jazz critic for The Sunday Times of London.

During the 1990s Cook was the jazz catalog manager for PolyGram Records, during which time he was responsible for a series of reissues of British jazz recordings on the Redial label. He also released a 10-CD collection of recordings by the pianist Cecil Taylor. Cook also hosted a jazz program on the British radio station GGR and produced three albums for trumpeter Guy Barker. He co-wrote and directed the West End production A Sparkling Evening with Caroline Jackson.

In addition to writing about jazz, Cook covered various other genres. A collection of his articles on the Web site Rock’s Back Pages includes reviews of everything from ABBA to Led Zeppelin. Cook is survived by his wife Lee Ellen.

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