Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer’s Art

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9780684193687: Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer’s Art

Sinatra! The Song Is You is the first full-length work to document the musical life of Frank Sinatra. Drawing upon recent interviews with Sinatra collaborators, arrangers, and musicians - as well as previously unpublished conversations with "The Voice" himself - author Will Friedwald chronicles this five-decade career, tracing the evolution of his vocal style from such early influences as Harry James (the bandleader who in the late thirties "discovered" Sinatra in New Jersey's Rustic Cabin), Tommy Dorsey, and Axel Stordahl, with whom Sinatra recorded his first string of solo hits. With the orchestrations of Nelson Riddle in the fifties came a more hard-swinging, uptempo Sinatra; the creation of his own label, Reprise Records, in the sixties gave him the venue to experiment with such unexpected forms as soft rock and psychedelia. Friedwald argues that Sinatra's recordings in the two decades following his 1971 to 1973 retirement weren't as prolific or as consistent as his earlier work, despite a startling comeback that culminated in the 1990s with the platinum-selling Duets discs.

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Review :

Not surprisingly, most of Frank Sinatra's biographers have raked through the muck of the singer's marriages, divorces, mob connections, and outbursts of foul-mouthed misogyny. Will Friedwald takes a different tack. Oh, the biographical facts are there, but Friedwald is mostly interested in the Voice--that irresistible, inimitable instrument, the absence of which would punch a major hole in the soundtrack of life. This is certainly the best book ever written on Sinatra's music, which means that it sheds a great deal of light on American pop music in general. And while Friedwald gets downright rhapsodic when it comes to the career highlights, he's not afraid to tweak Ol' Blue Eyes when he comes up with a dud.

About the Author :

The week Will Friedwald was born, Frank Sinatra commemorated the occasion by recording Point of No Return. The author of Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond and a regular contributor to The Village Voice and The New York Times, Friedwald has also written for New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, New York Newsday, L.A. Weekly, and The New York Observer, as well as for numerous music and film journals. He has been a consultant on many television documentaries and has produced and annotated hundreds of compact disc reissues, including several Grammy-winning packages. In 1990, Nancy Sinatra Lambert invited him to write an essay for Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Years. Since then he has contributed to compilations of the music of Frank Sinatra on all four labels on which Sinatra has recorded.

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Will Friedwald
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