The World 2, 000 Best Jazz Singers And Musicians
by Dr. Etienne Leroux
The new and second edition of ENTERTAINMENT GREATS FROM THE 1800'S TO THE PRESENT: CINEMA, STAGE, MUSIC, DIVAS, LEGENDS is just published. A massive volume containing 1, 500 photos of stars, icons, celebrities from the 17th century to the present, and the 2, 000 most prominent singers and musicians of jazz, cabaret, pop, oldies, and American standards.
This is the pre-final volume of the series World Who's Who in Jazz, Cabaret, Music and Entertainment, written by Maximillien de Lafayette who authored 115 books and 5 encyclopedias, and published by the Federation of American Musicians, Singers and Performing Artists, Inc. (FAMSPA). This massive tome is an international platform for jazz and cabaret singers and musicians who made their mark, as well as, rising stars with promising talent. It lists and describes artists under different categories such as best pianists, flutists, trombonists, bass players, drummers. Also it rates and depicts singers at different levels and according to their styles. For instance, the book provides ample description and photos of the best jazz singers in various genres, the cabaret chanteuses, ranging from voice quality to stage presence, in addition, the book pays homage to entertainment personalities, writers, critics, historians and music publishers who have contributed to the world of jazz, cabaret, music and performing arts.
The book is unique for several reasons; in addition to its biographical wealth and description of the career highlights, life and times of American legends and 2, 000 contemporary artists ranging from Liza Minelli Barbara Cook and Diane Krall to Madonna, Britney Spears and Bono, the book sheds lights on subjects and stories completely unknown to the general public. De facto it is academic work, but it is also extremely fun and entertaining, because on one side the author analyzes in depth the fabric, roots, origin of music and its pioneers from the 17th century to the present day, and on another side, he hits you with unknown bizarre stories, lifestyles, facts and gossip about stars and headliners that could and would change the way we conceive them or think they are who they are! For instance:
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was America's earliest songwriter and lyricist? According to the book, the English religious songs were largely replaced by "The Bay Psalter" when it was officially and dearly adopted by Benjamin Franklin who began to write the first American songs and ballads. In that sense, Franklin could be considered as the first American songwriter, composer and lyricist, as well as the first publisher of a book of American songs and music sheets. The publication of Franklin's book gave birth to the first "American Folkloric Operas" also referred to as "Popular Operas".
The book's historical and thematic chapters are full with fascinating stories and suspense about the early days of American music. Such as the story of the Underground Movement; according to the book (Pages 1980-1981) "The Underground: The Underground Railroad organization helped a considerable number of slaves to escape to other states. The underground organization developed a "know how" for escapees, a sort of an instruction manual and a survival guide. Those basic instructions were incorporated in the early Afro-Americans songs. For instance: A-The escapees should use swamps, rivers, lakes, water to avoid the dogs which were chasing them, because dogs could not smell them in the water and follow their tracks; B-Trucks and preferably, wagons should be used by escapees if they were able to hide in the back of the vehicle…. This is how and why early tunes, popular songs and "Negro Spirituals" were called "The Gospel Train", "The Railroad", "Wade in the Water" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". The latest tune was directly linked to the Underground Railroad. "
Another fascinating story in the book rotates around Singing in codes. "Another extremely interesting aspect of the early songs of the Afro-American slaves was the expression of feelings, emotions and shared concerns and places "in code". For instance, Ohio or more exactly, the northern side of Ohio river, (Their favorite place, for some reason, ) was called "Jordan". A "free country", was called "the promised land", "my home" or "Sweet Canaan". Any organization or group which tried back then to help the salves was referred to as the "Underground Railroad" or just the "Railroad".
Although it is a universal who's who of showbiz, music and entertainment, only those who made their mark are listed. Nearly 2, 000 jazz and cabaret singers and musicians are written up. In addition, approximately 500 greatest divas of all time are described in an unusual narrative style and depicted in their most intimate lifestyles and confidential surroundings. Betty Johnson, Cynthia Basinet and Molly Branderburg appeared on the back cover, while jazz saxophonist Suzanne Grzanna graced the front cover.
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