On Aug. 29, Penguin Books will release Richard Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia, a comprehensive resource from the co-author of The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. If you just can’t seem to remember that Dizzy Gillespie’s real name was John, or that Albert Ayler (pictured) recorded Spiritual Unity in 1964, Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia has all the answers. Readers can find their favorite jazz musicians, groups, record companies and terms all packed neatly within this 687-page resource.
The information is organized in a simple A-Z format, and Cook’s resource extends beyond the range of ordinary encyclopedias by attempting to set each musician within his or her historical and musical context. Although much of the reference’s content bears Cook’s opinions, readers need not worry: In addition to The Penguin Guide…, Cook is the editor of the leading U.K. jazz magazine Jazz Review, making his input authoritative. The included photographs and its novel-like cover give this encyclopedia a hip, less academic feel. Richard Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia will retail for $30.