The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums, by Will Friedwald
It is through their albums that Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and the rest of the glorious honor roll of jazz and pop singers have been most tellingly and lastingly appreciated, and the history of the album itself, as Will Friedwald sketches it, can now be seen as a crucial part of musical history.
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 and wonderful surprises like Doris Day and Robert Goulet singing Annie Get Your Gun. There are theme albums—Dinah Washington singing Fats Waller, 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.
"With verve and an infectious love of music, jazz critic Friedwald tells the stories of fifty-seven jazz and pop albums that have become benchmarks by which subsequent records have been measured. . . . His passionate description of each album in this indispensable guide will drive readers to listen to the albums once again, or for the first time." - Publishers Weekly
“Absolutely indispensable . . . never less than perceptive and often stop-in-your tracks brilliant. . . . A magnificent achievement.” - Booklist