Richard Cook (journalist)

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. He was co-author, with Brian Morton, of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (formerly ...on CD), 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.

A writer on music from the late 1970s until he died, he was a contributor to the NME (often writing confused reviews of punk and new wave artists when venturing away from jazz), the jazz critic for The Sunday Times and later 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, 2Ts for a Lovely T, which was on the Codanza label.

Cook died of cancer on 25 August 2007, aged 50, in London.


  1. Brian Morton, "Richard Cook | Jazz writer and editor", The Independent, 1 September 2007.
  • Obituary from The Times
  • Obituary by Brian Morton, The Independent, 1 September 2007
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