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The Playboy Guide to Jazz Paperback – August 1, 1998

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Paperback, July 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Aside from its role in encouraging and chronicling the sexual revolution, Playboy has been in the vanguard of reviewing jazz. This guide, written by the magazine's Chicago-based jazz critic, Neil Tesser, is a complete, compact handbook for the general public that offers a well-written and informative look at the essential recordings of "America's classical music."

Putting a jazz guide together is an intricate balancing act: what--and whom--do you include or leave out? Tesser has done a great job of presenting the jazz canon of yesterday and today, but he also gives us a credible glimpse into what we'll be listening to in the future. Starting from 1917 and working up to the 1990s, Tesser lists some of the best jazz albums, including Duke Ellington's The Blanton-Webster Years, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, Ornette Coleman's avant-garde stylings on Free Jazz, the fusion of Weather Report's Mysterious Traveller, and Wynton Marsalis's neoclassic J Mood. Although the book could have benefited from illustrations and lacks specific Latin jazz recommendations, Tesser's compilation is in the groove and up-to-date. --Eugene Holley Jr.

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Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 1998
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