[JPL] Richard Cook, Journalist and Author of Books on Jazz, Dies at 50

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 13 15:09:09 EDT 2007

September 13, 2007
Richard Cook, Journalist and Author of Books on Jazz,
Dies at 50 
Richard Cook, a veteran British music journalist and
the author of several acclaimed books on jazz, died in
London on Aug. 25. He was 50.

The cause was bowel and liver cancer, said Brian
Morton, who collaborated with Mr. Cook on his
best-known book, “The Penguin Guide to Jazz

That book, intended as a comprehensive survey of jazz
albums in print, was first published in 1992 as “The
Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, LP and Cassette.” It was
extensively revised seven times under various titles,
most recently last year. 

Mr. Cook also wrote the critically praised jazz books
“Blue Note Records: The Biography,” “It’s About That
Time: Miles Davis On and Off Record” and “Richard
Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia,” an idiosyncratic work whose
title reflected the fact that it was one man’s take on
the subject rather than a definitive overview.

As a staff writer for the British weekly New Musical
Express in the early 1980s, Mr. Cook wrote about a
range of music in addition to jazz, a practice he
continued as editor of The Wire, a magazine originally
devoted to the jazz avant-garde. He broadened its
focus to include not just other kinds of jazz but also
rock, hip-hop and contemporary classical and
electronic music. 

He was the jazz catalog manager for PolyGram Records
in Britain from 1992 to 1997 and later the editor of
Jazz Review magazine. He also wrote for other
publications and produced jazz documentaries for BBC

Survivors include his wife, Lee Ellen Newman.


Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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