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Musichound Jazz: The Essential Album Guide (MisicHound) Paperback – July, 1998

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

There is certainly no current dearth of buyer's guides to recorded jazz. The Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz (LJ 3/1/95), The Penguin Guide to Jazz (Penguin, 1996), and Jazz: The Rough Guide (LJ 3/1/96) are now joined by a third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz (LJ 9/1/96. 1st ed.) and Musichound Jazz. These two guides are very similar in content and coverage, with some significant differences in approach. Both consist of biographical entries, ranging in length from a mere paragraph to several pages, followed by discographical listings with some kind of rating system. Musichound covers almost 1300 artists in 1390 pages, while All Music has over 1700 entries in 1378 pages (employing a somewhat smaller font). The biographical entries in both tend to be more in-depth than those found in Jazz: The Rough Guide and cover a much wider range of artists than found in the more conservative Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz. Quite helpful and easy to read, Musichound covers in essay style which recordings to buy first, which to buy next, which to avoid, and which are rare but worth hunting. It also manages to include several artists' birthdates that do not appear elsewhere, giving it added strength as a reference source. All Music presents its listings in chronological order, employing a system of symbols indicating essential collections and recommended first purchases, as well as a rating system. The discussion of each individual recording seems designed to stand on its own, which makes for some repetition. This edition of All Music corrects many of the errors that plagued earlier ones. Both books are recommended; the library that can only obtain one might opt for All Music, since it is more comprehensive, but it would be a very close call.?Michael Colby, Univ. of California, Davis
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: MisicHound
  • Paperback: 1390 pages
  • Publisher: Schirmer Books; First Edition edition (July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578590310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578590315
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,350,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While there is much information in this book, it is more of a jazz encyclopedia than a guide. I say this because it does a good job of summarizing the artists - the entries are well written. But, it's a bit weak on the recording reviews. It tends to review only those recordings that are currently available. With the labels re-releasing so many old recordings, you will find that many recent re-releases are not covered. I would prefer a comprehensive list of an artists original releases (as much as possible - at least all of an artist's major releases should be listed, whether they are currently available or not).
The entries should be listed or highlighted with bold text - instead they are burried in the paragraph making quick reference difficult.
Like many guides they are too liberal with the 5 star (they use bones) ratings.
This book covers all forms of jazz including fusion and crossover, a positive for those who want to learn about all types of music related to jazz. Personally, I could do without the Kenny G. reviews.
Even with my reservations, I will admit its a fun book to have and for the price you get much useful information and an accompanying CD with very well chosen titles. -GR4
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By A Customer on September 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is one complete and fun to read guide to jazz albums. Very intelligent (but not overly scholarly) biographies and well stated, easy to understand reviews of albums. I have the All Music Guide and Penguin jazz books, but this one is much more accessible and interesting. I especially like the section that lists all of the 5 star albums. Any music lover would be proud to own this hefty book. And it includes a nice Blue Note CD in the back. I heartily recommend this book!
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Format: Paperback
I was astounded to find that a good percentage of the jazz albums in my collection aren't even mentioned in this book. With all the re-releases of classic albums of the 40's, 50's and 60's over the last couple of years, this book is sorely behind. At the time of its printing (1998), it took into account only those items in print at that time rather than reflecting the entire catalog of any given artist. Thus, a good number of recordings are completely ignored.
There is some entertaining information here, but it is missing way too many albums to be considered the "Essential Album Guide".
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Format: Paperback
As someone who is just discovering the jazz genre, I found it very helpful in pointing me in the right direction as to what makes up a good collection. Just about everyone you could think of is reviewed, plus some you didn't. If you are just getting into jazz, I highly recommend this book !!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's true that this guide is screaming to be updated, as far as the buyer's guide part goes, but it's really the bios on the musicians that are the strength of this book. Plus, the albums mentioned are often good(if not the BEST) options for purchase. I mean, although there are newer and newer generations of earlier releases hitting the market, just be aware of this and shop smart. The direction of CD(and DVD) now is moving swiftly, as far as digital restoration. Just always keep this in mind. Still, this guide is perfect when it comes to explaining what NOT to get. Most of these warnings hold up, I've found. Yes, it's also probably true that reviewers can be elitist, too. However, the competitive guides, like AMG, are no better in this. Not to mention, these are not near as detailed. The albums these guides have referred are much more OFTEN not near the best. One guide out there, Penguin, has kept up and just updated a few years ago. However, Musichound does great bios & decent picks of CDs. Penguin will probably be the better decision, though, for buying, since its recent update is within a few years.
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