Fortunately, the passion of his beliefs only occasionally gets thebetter of him, as when an eight-page screed against Barbra Streisand runs soover the top that one can only wonder what the heck La Streisand ever did tohim.
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Next Post: Unbroken Next. There has been for decades a kind of reverse racism in assessing the work of jazz musicians, and especially of jazz-oriented singers—it was thought that Crosby, the Boswells, Mildred Bailey, etc. Every singer is assessed on his or her own standards of craft, and credit is given where credit is due. His attention to detail is daunting. He knows track after track, album after album, and, for the most part, it seems that he did not do his listening just for the purpose of this book—he seems to know thousands of recordings intimately and tens of thousands in passing.
In a project of this size, there are inevitably places where intelligent listeners will cross swords with Friedwald. A little farther from the center, I was a bit surprised at his enthusiasm for Nelson Riddle as an arranger and orchestrator. To me, Riddle is too often guilty of just these faults. Maybe this enthusiasm could have been dialed back a bit.
Many singers are referred to outside of their essays, as influences on others or as figures of contrast with other singers.
Many instrumentalists are discussed, sometimes more than in passing. And there are hundreds of other figures in popular culture who add color and interest.
Holdings: A biographical guide to the great jazz and pop singers
If you want to catalog the work of great arrangers or find compliments paid to singers who did not rate essays, you are on your own. Even more crucially, the book needs a song index.
- A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers - Will Friedwald.
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These problems could be remedied promptly with an on-line index, and if the book goes to more printings, it could be corrected in future editions. Speaking of which, Friedwald hopes to bring out new versions of this book every six or seven years. I hope he does so, and I hope that future editions get indexes.
Here are some other suggestions for the next one and its successors: There is a strong sense of genealogy in the book—of singers begetting other singers stylistically; a schematic chart putting this in visual form would be valuable. And the biographical material or a just-the-facts edit thereof might be placed at the head of each essay in distinguishing typeface, which would make things more useful to someone consulting the book for facts.
With this book, he proves that he owns it outright. He was jazz and popular music editor of The Schwann Record and Tape Guides from to and wrote free-lance music and travel pieces for The Boston Globe and The Boston Phoenix from through Your email address will not be published. Judy Garland made the cut; daughter Liz Minelli didn't.
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