Leonard Feather's indispensible jazz bible, "The Encyclopedia of Jazz," and its 1960s and 1970s supplements now have some comprehensive competition as a standard jazz reference. In fact, "The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz" brings new meaning to the word comprehensive in terms of jazz research.

Entries on more than 3,000 composers and performers - the essence of jazz from J-to-Z, are diligently researched and written about in scholarly detail, often cross-referenced for a performer's nickname in case you aren't sure of the real name. Most entries are followed by discographies and bibliographies containing recommendations for further listening or reading. As a bonus, some include classic photographs of the participants.There are separate listings for jazz terms, instrumental traditions, record labels, clubs and jazz festivals worldwide. Longer essays focus on the contributions of Duke Ellington and the pioneering New Orleans music tradition. James Lincoln Collier penned a 26-page history of jazz. Feather wrote an extensive survey of the vocal tradition.

This is a work that was painstakingly researched, written and double-checked for accuracy. Hard-core jazzophiles will find its 10 pounds and two volumes a valuable reference in spite of the heavy investment.