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Richard Cook: 1957-2007
Richard Cook
Writer, broadcaster, record executive

Born: 1957 in Kew, UK
Died: August 25, 2007 in London, UK

Noted British jazz journalist and author

Copyright © 2007 

One of Britain's leading jazz journalists, Richard Cook died of cancer -- a disease he had kept secret from all but his closest friends -- at the age of 49.

Cook began writing about music in the late 1970s, contributing articles on a range of musical styles to the publication NME. In 1985, he became editor of The Wire, a post he held for eight years. During this period he was also the jazz correspondent for The Sunday Times and host of a weekly jazz program on GLR radio.

In 1992, Cook jumped from journalism into the record industry, becoming the jazz catalogue manager for PolyGram UK. During his five years at the label he launched the Redial imprint for the reissue of classic British jazz albums.

Returning to journalism, Cook joined forces with his friend Brian Morton to produce The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, which they updated several times. In 2001, Cook published Blue Note: The Biography, the definitive story of the renowned record label. He subsequently wrote Richard Cook's Jazz Companion and, in 2005, It's About That Time: Miles Davis On and Off the Record. He also served as editor of the magazine Jazz Review.

During his later years, Cook returned to the record business, issuing a 10-CD limited edition box set of Cecil Taylor trio performances from 1990. He also co-wrote and directed a play in London's West End called A Sparkling Evening with Caroline Jackson.

He is survived by his wife Lee Ellen.

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