Friday, 7 September 2007

Richard Cook 1957-2007

With the death of Richard Cook at the tragically early age of 50, the jazz community has lost one of its most articulate and broad-minded advocates.

Author of books on Blue Note Records and the recordings of Miles Davis as well as an encyclopedia of jazz, editor of Jazz Review, instigator of the Polygram UK jazz reissue programme, co-author (with Brian Morton) of the essential Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, his enthusiasms were individual and wide-ranging- it's hard to imagine any other jazz magazine daring to put Bing Crosby on the cover, as Jazz Review did in an early issue. I hope the magazine and the Guide survive without him, but he will be a very hard act to follow.

He used to be a regular at the (now-discontinued) Wimbledon Record Fair selling off surplus vinyl. When I bought a few (very reasonably-priced) albums from him and thanked him by name he seemed a little surprised to be recognised; I wish now I had told him how much I admired his writing.

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