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Each of the 57 albums Will Friedwald discusses here captures the artist at the best, though not necessarily the expected moment of her or his career. Here are first albums (Marilyn Maye's Meet Marvelous Marilyn Maye) and final works (Fred Astaire's The Astaire Story). Here are albums by veteran singers entering new phases (Peggy Lee's Black Coffee, Nina Simone's Nina Simone and Piano!, Carmen McRae's As Time Goes By: Live at the Dug); albums from artists who dazzle with their typical sound (Ella Fitzgerald's Lullabies of Birdland); and albums from the likes of Frank Sinatra that mark milestones in the history of American musical culture. Friedwald considers how singers and musicians shaped and organized their extraordinary collections of songs, revealing personal stories of the singers' successes and failures, both before and after their groundbreaking albums, appraising each album by balancing his opinions with those of fellow musicians, listeners and critics. A monumental achievement, The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums will be a must-read for all lovers of American jazz and popular music.
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