The Essential Album Guide
If you have ever tried to figure out which of the 65 recordings of your favorite jazz artist to purchase you need this book. At 1,500 pages it is not a short read, but the wealth of information here is truly amazing. There are pioneers, mainstreamers, avant-garde, free, sidemen, smooth, singers, name it. This version comes with a CD of selected music.
MusicHound Jazz is a “must have” for any jazz collector. The book is well organized. Each group or artist, listed alphabetically, receives a short biography. “What to buy” lists the best bets and “What to buy next” suggests titles that may be of interest to the avid collector. My favorite category would have to be “What to avoid,” probably the most useful. “Worth searching for” and “Influences” round out the categories. Each recording includes the date and record company. Recordings are rated from a high of five bones (phenomenal) to Woof! (dogfood). There is a list of classic tunes, Web site URLs (which generally have the shelf life of an ice cube), record labels, radio stations and festivals.
If you love jazz, you want this book. Highly recommended.