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The Irving Berlin Songbook

Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan

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Album Review

Sarah Vaughan's heavenly vocalizing and Billy Eckstine's velvety deep tone proved an ideal match during the late '40s and throughout the '50s. This 1957 Irving Berlin collection qualifies as the high point of that collaboration. Sometimes surpassing their splendid solo sides, Vaughan and Eckstine obviously revel in each other's company here, seamlessly blending their voices on most every track. Draped in Hal Mooney's fine and unobtrusive charts, the singers particularly shine on such well-tread Berlin fare as "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" and "Cheek to Cheek"; there are equally splendid readings of the rarely covered "Easter Parade" and "Now It Can Be Told" as well. A highlight from the land of vintage vocal jazz.

Biography

Born: 08 July 1914 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Billy Eckstine's smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music. An influence looming large in the cultural development of soul and R&B singers from Sam Cooke to Prince, Eckstine was able to play it straight on his pop hits "Prisoner of Love," "My Foolish Heart" and "I Apologize." Born in Pittsburgh but raised in Washington, D.C., Eckstine began singing at the...
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