Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Penguin Guide to Jazz 9th Edition

My Amazon Review

I have been acquiring The Penguin Guide to Jazz since the 4th Edition. The Ninth is an excellent continuation to the best publication for Jazz Collectors and new converts.
What is great about The Penguin Guide is that it serves the collector audience as well as being the best guide for those who have been bitten by the Jazz bug but who are seeking a road map for what is a brand new immense universe.
For the 2000+ CD Jazz collector, the exhaustive amount of information isn't gathered together and structured better in any other book built for the same purpose. The format which includes all of the necessary details such as dates, players, labels and locations fuels the avid collectors need for information. Without a doubt, recordings are presented that even the most thorough collector has missed or is reminded of in the Guide.
Of course, the funnest part of this colossal book is the rating system. The star system with the peppered Crown scoring is both affirming and maddening, i.e. how could McCoy Tyner's, "The Real McCoy" not be granted a crown but some other lesser (in my opinion) album get the award. But the surprises are also great. A friend of mine sent me a copy of Steve Harris & Zaum's, "Above Our Heads The Sky Splits Open" a few months before I ordered the Ninth Edition. My friend from Texas noted that he thought this might be one of the best contributions to Improvisational Jazz in recent years. Finding it in the new edition rated as a Crown record was a high point.
Of course, any avid Jazz fan will find artists not represented. Albert van Veenendaals absence particularly surprised me.
All in all, this companion is 99% perfect and essential for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the greatest music.

Taran's Free Jazz Hour

If you aren't already aware of this man's contribution to the web, please check out for his readings and writings on Free Jazz and his incredible podcasts. For Jan. 17, 2009, Taran is featuring releases from Cleanfeed, Edgetone and esp. Taran posts mp3 links of current titles and information related to the artists he is featuring. The best effort Taran puts forth are his podcasts. These regularly include commentary, artist interviews and lots and lots of music. This site should be in your Favorites.

New label links added

psi out of England featuring a long series of Evan Parker releases along with Bennink, Houle, von Schlippenbach, van Hove and others

Henceforth Records based in San Diego with their newest release, "Cities and Eyes" by Andrea Parkins and Jessica Constable. Also in the catalog, Lisle Ellis, Gustavo Aguila and many others.

Creative Works [Switzerland] has Franz Koglmann, Ned Rothenberg and a long list of other artists.

Check the full list of labels on the left.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Welcome! I intend to use this forum to share my adventures in Modern and Classic Jazz. My intent is to track down and catalog small batch Jazz labels worldwide and create a unified directory. If you know of a label that should be listed, please drop me a line. -Rob