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Gene Lees is probably the best jazz essayist in America today, and the book that consolidated his reputation was Singers and the Song, which appeared in 1987. Now this classic volume is being rereleased in an expanded edition.
The new edition retains a number of famous pieces from the original volume, some in expanded form, such as Lees's classic profile of Frank Sinatra. Lees has also retained his marvelous essay on lyric writing, his piece on the art of Edith Piaf, and his admiring look at the genius of songwriter Johnny Mercer. The expanded edition offers seven new essays that are no less accomplished. Here readers will find a wonderful tribute to "the sweetest voice in the world," Ella Fitzgerald; a moving interview with Jackie and Roy Kral; Lees's account of his involvement with Bossa Nova music and his collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim. We also read about Julius La Rosa, the lyrics of "Yip" Harburg, Harry Warren's unforgettable compositions, and the elegant Arthur Schwartz, writer of "Dancing in the Dark" and many other memorable songs.
Here then is an engaging volume that weaves together colorful portraits of major performers and insightful glimpses into the art of singing and songwriting.
The generation that emerged after World War II raised the performance of the popular song to the level of art form, as Lees demonstrates.
|William and Harold and How to Write Lyrics||3|
|Pavilion in the Rain||19|
|The Squirrel: Yip Harburg||43|
|Style Is the Man: Arthur Schwartz||53|
|Jeepers Creepers: Harry Warren||59|
|Roses in the Morning: Johnny Mercer||69|
|The Paradox: Frank Sinatra||91|
|GI Jo: Jo Stafford and Paul Weston||105|
|In from the Cold: Peggy Lee||123|
|Sweetest Voice in the World: Ella Fitzgerald||149|
|Phrasing: Julius La Rosa||159|
|A Family Affair: Jackie and Roy||175|
|The Sparrow: Edith Piaf||201|
|Um Abraco No Tom: Antonio Carlos Jobim||217|