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A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singersby Will Friedwald
Synopses & Reviews
Will Friedwald's illuminating, opinionated essays--provocative, funny, and personal--on the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers anatomize the work of the mostimportant jazz and popular performers of the twentieth century. From giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland to lesser-known artists like Jeri Southern and Joe Mooney, they havecreated a body of work that continues to please and inspire. Here is the most extensive biographical and critical survey of these singers ever written, as well as an essential guide to the Great American Songbook and thosewho shaped the way it has been sung.
The music crosses from jazz to pop and back again, from the songs of Irving Berlin and W. C. Handy through Stephen Sondheim and beyond, bringing togetherstraightforward jazz and pop singers (Billie Holiday, Perry Como); hybrid artists who moved among genres and combined them (Peggy Lee, Mel Torme); the leading men and women of Broadway and Hollywood (EthelMerman, Al Jolson); yesterday's vaudeville and radio stars (Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor); and today's cabaret artists and hit-makers (Diana Krall, Michael Buble). Friedwald has also writtenextended pieces on the most representative artists of five significant genres that lie outside the songbook: Bessie Smith (blues), Mahalia Jackson (gospel), Hank Williams (country and western), Elvis Presley (rock'n' roll), and Bob Dylan (folk-rock).
Friedwald reconsiders the personal stories and professional successes and failures of all these artists, their songs, and theirperformances, appraising both the singers and their music by balancing his opinions with those of fellow musicians, listeners, and critics.
This magisterial reference book--ten yearsin the making--will delight and inform anyone with a passion for the iconic music of America, which continues to resonate throughout our popular culture.
From theHardcover edition.
Will Friedwald writes about music for The Wall Street Journal and was the jazz (and cabaret) critic for The New York Sun. He is the author of eight books, including Stardust Melodies: A Biography of Twelve of America’s Most Popular Songs; Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond; Sinatra The Song Is You: A Singer’s Art; and The Good Life (with Tony Bennett). He has written nearly five hundred liner notes for compact discs, for which he has received eight Grammy nominations. He has also written for Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, American Heritage, and The New York Times, among other publications.
From the Hardcover edition.
The most extensive biographical and critical survey of jazz and popular singers ever written—an essential guide to the Great American Songbook and those who performed it.
These illuminating, opinionated essays—provocative, funny, and personal—on the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers anatomize the work of the greatest popular vocalists of the twentieth century, from giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland to lesser-known artists whose work still pleases and inspires.
Will Friedwald reconsiders their personal stories and professional successes and failures, their songs and performances, appraising both the singers and their music by balancing his opinions with the criticism of fellow musicians, listeners, and critics. This magisterial reference book—ten years in the making— brings into focus the Great American Songbook and the men and women who have sung it: straightforward jazz and pop singers; hybrid artists who moved among and combined genres; the leading men and women of Broadway and Hollywood; yesterday’s vaudeville stars and today’s cabaret artists.
A must-have for anyone with a passion for the classic, iconic music of America—the music that continues to resonate throughout our popular culture.
About the Author
WILL FRIEDWALD is the author of, among other works, Stardust Melodies: A Biography of 12 of America’s Most Popular Songs; Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond; and Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer’s Art. One of the leading contemporary writers of liner notes for music albums, he was the New York Sun jazz critic for seven years. Other publications he has written for include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City.
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