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The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums by Will Friedwald (Pantheon Books)

With his latest book, Will Friedwald crafts a smartly subjective guide to essential vocal LPs

Cover of The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums by Will Friedwald
Cover of The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums by Will Friedwald

In his introduction to The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums (Pantheon), noted authority Will Friedwald positions it as the conclusion of a quasi-trilogy. That triptych of sorts began a decade and a half ago with Stardust Melodies: A Biography of 12 of America’s Most Popular Songs, assaying such timeless Tin Pan Alley gems as “Summertime” and “Stormy Weather,” and continued with 2010’s A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers. So, in logical sequence: songs, singers, albums.

Around the time A Biographical Guide was published, Friedwald observed in a JazzTimes interview that even at 800-plus pages, with individual entries for more than 200 singers, the hefty tome wasn’t definitive, leaving out such worthy artists as Catherine Russell, Jane Harvey and Rebecca Kilgore.

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