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Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices From Bessie Smith To Bebop And Beyond Paperback – August 22, 1996


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Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices From Bessie Smith To Bebop And Beyond + A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers + The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo ed edition (August 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306807122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306807121
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The exhaustive research, useful discographies, and absence of a comparable study on the subject assures this work a place in many collections, but the eccentricities of style and the labyrinth of facts make it, at best, a difficult read and, at worst, annoying. Those with only a casual knowledge of the subject might find themselves lost in the sudden shifts from figure to figure and might also fall easy prey to the author's flippant dismissal of certain performers whose work he holds in undisguised contempt. To become what it pretends to be, this work needs a big infusion of objectivity and an editor with as big an aversion to the parenthetical phrase as Friedwald has to the Ink Spots.
- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll., N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Will Friedwald is the author of The Warner Bros. Cartoons, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and Sinatra! The Song Is You.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
Tried hard as I may, but I never found another book as half as passionate about this subject.O.K. I understand that some people have problems with liking the same things as author (I as the first one, LOVE Cleo Laine and he despises her, so what?)but Mr.Friewlad obviously know the field he is writting about and for me its pure pleasure to read this book again and again.I found so many inspirations here, discovered so many names nowadays no one mention anymore and to put it simply, I think this is the best book written about jazz singing.Music being my hobby & passion, I have this book with me as Im travelling and I never get bored with it... I would love to meet Mr.Friewald one day and thank him for the hours of pleasures he gave me with this book and all this suggestions (and to discuss Cleo laine with him)!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ralph D. Miller on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Friedwald is not an elegant writer, but he crams a lot of information into the book. This is a controversial subject. I would prefer to limit the lineage to Armstrong-Rushing-Cole-Torme, Holiday-Humes-Fitzgerald-Vaughan-O'Day (and followers), leaving the Crosby-Sinatra-Bennett-Brewer-Clooney group separate as 'jazz-influenced' singers. But it's his book. I think, as others have mentioned, that he really misses the boat by dismissing the Four Freshmen and Hi-Los so contemptuously, and I can't find a thing to admire about Betty Carter's squeaky little voice myself. But those are my opinions. Great discography. Just wince and read on.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Will Friedwald has written the most definitive book on Jazz Singing to date (and I think you'd find it rather difficult to scope out another book solely on this subject). He dared to do what others wouldn't; he's written a book that can never have a final edition. Friedwald is smart enough to know that Jazz singing influenced Pop singing, and the influence was reciprocated (as is the case with Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong). He's not afraid to write about singers or even entertainers that might have helped bring jazz singing to the mainstream simply by their adopting jazz-vocal characteristics (as is the case with Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor).
Will Friedwald finally gives certain singers their due by showing them to be the trailblazers, pioneers, and inspirations that they were and will always be. He gives Mel Torme the credit he deserves with Cool Jazz Vocals, sighting his artistry, and scatting-the-chorus method. And he finally shows the world that Bing Crosby is the singular most influential American Pop Vocalist of the 20th Century (as his influence effected Jazz singing aswell).
In addition, Freidwald gives exstensive, beautifully written passages on the great Vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Billy Eckstine, and Sarah Vaughn.
He also writes just as brilliantly about the great Jimmy Rushings, Ethel Waters, and Bessie Smith.
All in all, Will Friedwald's "Jazz Singing" is a must for anyone studying American Music, and you MUST HAVE IT if you're a jazz fan!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Orfuss on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Friedwald has written a great book--precisely because it's opinionated, un-pretentious, filled with passionate likes and dislikes. Friedwald has apparently listened to every jazz-sung record in history, and his book makes you want to listen to all of it too--in my case, for the first time. For that I'd love to thank him personally. If you believe that understanding the conventions of an art form helps you appreciate it fully, "Jazz Singing" is an eduacation in what to listen for...in how to listen to jazz singing. I don't always agree with Friedwald and neither will you, but so what? A wonderful book about an art that seems unfortunately to be dying out--a book that helps, along with all the CD re-issues that thankfully come out, to keep it alive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
this book is unusual in that mr friedwald, who has obviously listened and studied his subjects recordings to an almost scholarly degree,is one of the very few music writers/critics whose writing is so engrossing that i want to go and buy all the artists recordings of those he reviews in the pages of this book and yet i find some of his sniping against rock music a wee bit tedious not so much that he does but he telegraphs his punches so when he initially attacks it it's ok but after awhile as you read thru' the book it becomes tedious and virtually blaming mitch miller and in particular elvis presley for the fall of western civilisation is again a bit tedious and over the top.his sniping at linda ronstadt i feel is also unfair because it was her records in the mid 80's that made me a fan of the american popular songbook,not so much her singing which i found not really up to the job but she did introduce a 16 yr old boy to those great songs and the wonderful nelson riddle and riddle actually made his first serious money from her records,he was only paid on a per chart basis for his classic work with frank sinatra as i understand it.his over the top praising of mel torme is too much,he was ok but no way deserving of the rapturous kudos handed out to his work by mr friedwald,he also seemed to ignore one my faves in lena horne,yet he wrote the liner notes to two of the best horne cds out there.flawed but i wouldn't be without this book and i would recommend it to anyone .
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