Aaltonen figured as a great voice in the European jazz of the '70s and his retreat from prominence in the '80s and '90s must be accounted a major disappointment. Lire la première page
Ouvrage totalement indispensable à tout amateur de jazz qui se respecte. La somme d'informations est colossale et les commentaires très pertinents. Devrait être présent en libre consultation chez tous les disquaires...
Les amateurs de Jazz sont généralement (et à juste titre) exigeants sur les renseignements discographiques des enregistrements. Souvent, l'oreille des plus avertis suffit à reconnaître tel ou tel instrumentiste sur ses qualités de phrasé et d'improvisation. Mais, à l'heure ou les pochettes de CD sont de moins en moins explicites, et impossibles à consulter lorsqu'on achète un CD sur internet, disposer d'un ouvrage de référence est bienvenu. Le Penguin Guide répond (presque) totalement à cet objectif. Les auteurs nous fournissent pour chaque album le label et le numéro de catalogue, la date des enregistrements et les noms des musiciens (souvent plus exacts que sur les CD eux-mêmes. où pour des raisons de contrat, les musiciens apparaissent parfois sous des nome d'emprunt), ainsi qu'une (courte) notice biographique concernant le leader du groupe. Chaque album est assorti d'une évaluation, allant de une étoile, signe de réprobation jusqu'à quatre étoiles, distinguant les albums les plus importants et les mieux enregistrés. On navigue facilement dans les 1600 pages de l'ouvrage où les musiciens sont classés selon un ordre alphabétique de leader. Lorsque l'album réunit deux vedettes, il n'est listé que sous le nom de l'un des deux: par exemple les enregistrements Grapelli-Peterson sont signalés dans la rubrique consacrée au pianiste, pas dans celle du violoniste. On peut cependant les retrouver grâce à un index général très complet où tous les albums auxquels a participé un musicien, qu'il soit leader ou pas, sont indiqués.Lire la suite ›
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
50 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
THE Best Jazz Guide!12 janvier 2001
M. Allen Greenbaum
- Publié sur Amazon.com
If the story of jazz is best found in the music itself, this is, far and away, your best guide to CDs. IT is simply the best jazz review book available. The authors have exceptionally good, eclectic tastes; I detected no particular biases here. Other reviewers have complained a little about the relative emphasis on English and European performers. I found that this improved the coverage of jazz, and did not feel that American performers were slighted. Besides, these performers are excellent, perhaps underrated in America, and often record alongside musicians from many countries! The authors clearly explain their rating system, and there is a valuable emphasis on the sound quality of the recordings. Excellent notes on personnel and dates of recording: This is important because publishers seem to constantly repackage their jazz CDs, sometimes the only way to know what you've got is to compare personnel and dates. Another strength here is the biographies of the performers. There's lots of detail, and, as in the reviews, the authors don't refrain from fully critiqueing the records. Unfortuantely, this new edition does not have the small section on compilation CDs (i.e., Special limited-time gatherings of great musicians, such as the All-Star Metronome Band. Perhaps these are no longer in print, or they are now listed under the principle player(s), at any rate, I preferred the prior method of listing these separately.) I think the reviews are fair and insightful. Of course, you'll disagree with some of them, but this is really an excellent guide to jazz musicians and their output. Their choice of musicians is thorough and appropriate (scant attention is paid to "light" jazz/pop artists such as Kenny G., etc., favoring instead performers ranging from Armstrong and Basie, bebop and big band, to contemporary musicians like Metheny and Krall. The only question is whether you should wait for the next edition. I recommend buying every edition (if you can), new mixes, box sets, and re-done CDs are, perhaps unfortunately because of the confusion, coming out all of the time. But between this and the last edition (despite my one reservation above), this will map better onto what's available. Very highly recommended for the serious fan, and for beginners who want to learn a LOT more!
45 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Buy, but don't upgrade.7 mai 2003
Stephen A. Smith
- Publié sur Amazon.com
If you haven't bought one of these books, buy this one. If you own the 5th edition, however, save your money. You have three primary choices for these "jazz guides": All Music Guide, MusicHound, and Penguin. AMG includes reviews of out-of-print CDs, and older LPs, which can be frustrating because you'll read glowing reviews of albums you won't be able to find. MusicHound is a compilation of reviews by different authors, so you can forget about any kind of consistency. Penguin is informative, contemporary, and consistent. It's your best choice. This book features 1601 pages of CD reviews and artist biographies, not including the introduction and index. Whatever your level of knowledge, however long you've spent listening to jazz, you're sure to discover something new in this book. And that's a tremendous reward for Amazon's price. On the other hand, as an update, this edition doesn't impress me. Significant artists like Mel Lewis and Carl Fontana still lack entries. Mick Goodrick, Christian McBride, and others have actually been removed. The artists suggest, in their introduction, that those noting omissions should get a life. Of course, no one's perfect. There are, however, both minor omissions and glaring omissions, and this edition still includes too many of the latter. Jim McNeely, for example, is listed on page 1005, along with four of his CDs -- the most recent, from 1992. The authors ignore "The Power and the Glory" [Storyville, 2001] and "Play Bill Evans" [Stunt Records, 2002], which are forgivable omissions. I believe "In This Moment" [Stunt Records, 2003] was released too late to be included. But also missing are McNeely's "Lickety Split" [New World Records, 1997], which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998; "Nice Work" [Dacapo Records, 2000], which was nominated for two Grammies in 2001; and "Group Therapy" [OmniTone, 2001], which was nominated for a Grammy in 2002. You'd think an artist nominated for four Grammies would receive a more complete listing in a book like this. These are limited examples of a larger trend: this edition doesn't show enough improvement over its previous edition to be worth updating. If you don't own the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD yet, then my criticisms are nitpicks. It's a great investment for a reasonable price, and you should buy it. If you already own an older edition, however, I can't recommend you buy this. Spend your money buying a new CD, instead. Let's hope that 2005 will bring a 7th edition that will amaze us all, anew.
30 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A witty and useful guide for jazz collectors.13 mars 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This really is an indispensable book for the jazz collector. The biggest advantage it has over the books referred to in some of the customer reviews is that it lists session information. If, like me, you like to wander into used record stores or Goodwills, you'll appreciate the listings of personnel and recording dates that you can find in this book. The reviews are well written and very witty. The writers treat their subject seriously but not stodgily and, in some instances, their geographic distance allows them a measure of independence from US opinions of certain artists. Their treatment of two musicians in particular, Kenton and Brubeck, are unexpectedly fair, acknowledging their weakness, while pointing out what is interesting and valuable about their best music. As to the attention given to European and avant-garde jazz: Thank God. American critics and fans alike seem to think that be-bop and hard bop are the only kinds of jazz worth considering. While one might quibble with some of Cook's and Morton's opinions-I tend to bypass most fusion albums-seasoned jazz collectors will be able to figure out what they're getting into from the accurate descriptions contained here. If you buy a Sam Rivers disc expecting something like Ben Webster, you can't say you weren't forewarned by these guys. I do wonder why some readily available discs were not included. Gerry Mulligan's Pacific Jazz stuff is all still in print and isn't reviewed here (although it is included in previous editions). My only complaint is that the small print, running across a fairly wide page, is a little tough for those of us who are bi-focaled. Otherwise, I hope to see this book in many editions to come.
28 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The best single volume in the music13 novembre 2000
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Despite the bland title of this book it is much more than a quick star-rating guide to recorded jazz; the accompanying texts are often quite detailed essays that give biographical & historical context for the recordings, besides often detailed commentary on the recordings themselves. Personnel listings are another important & useful feature. The British authors manage to combine catholic tastes with sharp & often opinionated commentary. They've thought hard about the music: it's often illuminating to compare the versions of entries between editions (for instance, their increased skepticism about the self-consciousness of the music of Geri Allen and Don Byron between this edition and the last two; or their rethinks about Coltrane's _Ascension_ or the later recordings of Evan Parker). The European perspective makes this an unusually unprejudiced guide, one reason why it can be recommended more than most published histories of jazz or guidebooks to a neophyte: free-jazz and fusion musicians are dealt with seriously & respectfully, as are Wynton Marsalis & other neotraditionalists. Though I note that a few reviewers on this page dislike the book's non-American perspective, I should think it a salutary reminder that jazz has many traditions & innovators, & that its influence now stretches over the world. There are some small flaws. The most irritating is the occasional ambiguity created by the "As above." entry for personnel listings (& occasionally one of these entries is incorrect as the preceding entry has changed from the previous edition). There's the odd inconsistency in the ratings too (as when a four-star disc is mostly criticized in the text below, or a low-starred disc is praised highly in the text), but nothing major. It's a small pity that compilations are excluded, which means that fine discs like _The Birth of the Third Stream_ (e.g.) don't get a look-in. Above all, this book is a demonstration of how jazz is not simply a canon of a select few geniuses, but is & has always been a lively meeting-place of many different players & traditions & talents, who all, in a big or smaller way, contribute something to the pot. A reader will come away from this book with a greater understanding of figures like Coltrane, Ellington, Parker, Coleman, &c., precisely because he or she will have a fuller sense of the whole scene--having met figures like Hill, Bley, Haig, Nichols, Konitz, Mitchell, Marsh, Giuffre, Mosca, Larry Young, Rivers, Hemphill, Lake, etc.
33 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Well-written, but not the best reference for USA readers18 mars 1999
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The Penguin Guide is a well-written, informative survey of the field. It's the only jazz review omnibus I return to for pleasure, rather than for reference.
While this tome is more opinionated than competing reviews, it's good to have a consistent frame of reference. You learn what the authors like and dislike, and can apply that to your own preferences. The essays that accompany the ratings avoid the redundancies found in the All Music Guide, and do a better job of placing the recording in the context of an artist's career.
Because the authors are English, however, much of the discographical data isn't very useful for American consumers. Also, the representation of American labels can be understated. For example, there's a lot more Blue Note CDs in print between the U.S. and Japan than in Europe, leaving some notable gaps in some artists' listings. Fans of other American labels and artists might find similar holes in the discography.
The flip side of its European focus is that you get reviews of artists and releases usually ignored by American reviewers. And the English/European jazz canon is different than the American version, making the Penguin Guide something more than the Revised Standard Version of the received wisdom you'd find in an American omnibus.
I wish the Penguin Guide would follow the example of the All Music Guide and simply review the important albums, deleted or not. Eventually those Bobby Hutcherson titles (to choose some personal favorites) will return to print, here in the U.S.A. or more likely in Japan, and when they do, you won't be able to consult the Penguin Guide unless you wait for the biannual update, by which time the album may be out of print again.