The fifty greatest jazz and pop vocal albums - Will Friedwald [BOOK]
Yet the albums Friedwald has chosen to anatomize go about their work in a variety of ways. There are studio and solo albums: Lee's Black Coffee, June Christy's Something Cool, Cassandra Wilson's Belly of the Sun. There are brilliant collaborations: famous ones-Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson-and wonderful surprises like Doris Day and Robert Goulet singing Annie Get Your Gun. There are theme albums-Dinah Washington singing Fats Waller, Maxine Sullivan singing Andy Razaf, Margaret Whiting singing Jerome Kern, Barb Jungr singing Bob Dylan, and the sublime Jo Stafford singing American and Scottish folk songs. There are also stunning concert albums like Ella in Berlin, Sarah in Japan, Lena at the Waldorf, and, of course, Judy at Carnegie Hall. All the greats are on hand, from Kay Starr and Carmen McRae to Jimmy Scott and Della Reese (Della Della Cha Cha Cha). And, from out of left field, the astounding God Bless Tiny Tim.
Each of the fifty-seven albums discussed here captures the artist at a high point, if not at the expected moment, of her or his career. The individual cuts are evaluated, the sequencing explicated, the songs and songwriters heralded; anecdotes abound of how songs were born and how artists and producers collaborated. And in appraising each album, Friedwald balances his own opinions with those of musicians, listeners, and critics. A monumental achievement, The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums is an essential book for lovers of American jazz and popular music.
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