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The Legendary Big Band

Billy Eckstine

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Album Review

The Legendary Big Band 1943-1947 features 42 of Billy Eckstine's most memorable songs as played by one of the most powerful bebop big bands in jazz history. A powerful singer with a resonant baritone voice, trumpeter and valve trombonist William Clarence Eckstine, a former member of the Earl Hines Orchestra, formed his own band in 1943 after the economic hardships associated with World War II prevented Earl Hines from keeping him and other jazz artists, such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, in his orchestra. As the leader and creator of the first bebop big band, Billy Eckstine established what was a forerunner to the bop big bands of Gillespie, Woody Herman, and others. This two-disc set presents some of Billy Eckstine's finest work, including the blues hit "Jelly, Jelly," which he first recorded with the Earl Hines band in 1940. The collection involves a heavy emphasis on romantic ballads, blues, and specialty vocals, but also features several great instrumentals, including "Second Balcony Jump" and "Cool Breeze." Trombone solos by Eckstine on such songs as "All of Me" and "In My Solitude," as well as an informative booklet with photos of this legendary big band, add more interest to this valuable box set. This is the ultimate Billy Eckstine collection and is a must-have for jazz educators, historians, and enthusiasts of jazz vocalists.

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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