Richard Cook (journalist)

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Richard David Cook (7 February 1957 25 August 2007) was a British jazz writer, magazine editor and former record company executive. Sometimes credited as R. D. Cook, Cook was born in Kew, Surrey, [1] and lived in west London as an adult. A writer on music from the late 1970s until he died, Cook was co-author, with Brian Morton, of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings , which lasted for ten editions until 2010. Richard Cook's Jazz Companion and It's About That Time: Miles Davis On and Off the Record were published in 2005.

Cook began as a staff writer for NME in the early 1980s. [2] The editor at the time, Neil Spencer, commented that he "would take on the pieces that the fashion-oriented shunned - a Roxy Music review, an audience with a fading star, a piece on the emergent sounds of Africa". [3] He was later the jazz critic for The Sunday Times and a music writer for the New Statesman . Cook was formerly editor of The Wire , when it was a jazz-centred periodical (it broadened its coverage towards the end of his editorship), and edited Jazz Review magazine from its foundation in 1998. Jazz Review continued for a time after his death, using Cook's approach to the music as continuing inspiration; it did not name a specific successor (Morton) for six months. Cook also presented a programme on jazz for BBC local radio GLR.

Cook was the UK jazz catalogue manager for PolyGram (1992–97) and also produced albums by the trumpeter Guy Barker. During his spell at PolyGram, Cook launched the short-lived 'Redial' re-issue line of classic British jazz albums. In 2002, he was responsible for issuing a 10 CD limited-edition set by the American avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor of 1990 recordings, 2 Ts for a Lovely T , on the Codanza label.

Cook died from bowel and liver cancer on 25 August 2007, aged 50, in London, a year after diagnosis. [4]

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  1. Morton, Brian (1 September 2007). "Richard Cook: Jazz writer and editor". The Independent . Archived from the original on 1 October 2007.
  2. "Richard Cook, Journalist and Author of Books on Jazz, Dies at 50". The New York Times. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  3. Fordham, John (25 September 2007). "Richard Cook". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  4. "Richard Cook". The Times. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2020.(subscription required)