Blumenthal's First Two Listener's Guides Now Available

Author and television producer Howard J. Blumenthal has completed his Jazz and World Music CD Listener's Guides, the first two volumes in a four-volume series. The publications include brief biographies of the top artists in each genre, arranged alphabetically, and hundreds of short reviews of the discs the author considers essential.

"Only the best CDs are included---if a CD is not worth owning, it's not included in the book," Blumenthal states on his Web site, where viewers can read approximately thirty sample reviews. The $14.95 guidebooks are intended to help music lovers build substantial libraries of recordings, and are small enough to be taken along on shopping expeditions.

Two more volumes of this mammoth Billboard Books project will be released later this summer: CD Listener's Guides to blues and classical music. Will Blumenthal venture into rock, country, gospel, soul, and folk music as well? It seems both a logical direction for the series and an insurmountable task for one man. The author invites suggestions; readers can email him at sheltie2@aol.com.

The prolific Blumenthal's personal audio odyssey was entertainingly detailed in two Stereophile feature stories. The first---"Got the Upgrade Bug?," in the July 1996 issue---told how he first got rolling down the high-end highway. The second---"Perhaps the Journey Ends," in the December 1997 issue---describes his enduring doubt along the way, and how he eventually arrived at the audiophile's ideal: a system that plays music so well he feels as if the players are in the room with him. His Listener's Guides are available from amazon.com.

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