Billy Eckstine was looking back more than forward by 1960, and his second record for Roulette featured two remakes of familiar hits he'd enjoyed almost 20 years earlier. He also covered two average themes from forgottable movies, the first being the title song (from a Yul Brynner vehicle), the second being "Secret Love" (from a Doris Day film). It may read like a desultory date, and indeed it would have been if not for the presence of a solid jazz band and the surprisingly sympathetic arrangements of big-brass auteur Billy May.
This CD has an unusual cover picture showing Billy Eckstine singing while holding a trumpet. He does indeed take a few short trumpet solos on the well-rounded program, 24 songs (13 previously unissued) performed during one night in Las Vegas. Eckstine, who is backed by an orchestra arranged by his pianist Bobby Tucker, is heard in prime form on a variety of standards. His baritone voice (which was quite influential) straddles the boundary between middle-of-the-road pop and jazz on such numbers as "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "Without a Song," "Prisoner of Love," "I Apologize", "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "'Deed I Do." A good example of his talents.
This 15-track set puts together some amazing performances by Billy Eckstine's band from the early '40s when he was leading one of the more intense, smoking bands on the scene. Some of his players during these years included Fats Navarro, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and Kenny Dorham, just to name a few. The Eckstine band was sophisticated, jumping, and they swung like mad no matter the tune. Here, of course, the emphasis is on Eckstine's vocals, his smooth as silk baritone that could sing a ballad like Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," or a deep swinging blues by Doc Pomus ("She Got the Blues for Sale"). There's scat, solid jazz balladry, and jumping, tough-hitting blues here. Highly recommended.
This outstanding DVD features many of the most important artists from the heyday of the big band era. Such giants as Billy Eckstine, Gene Ammons, Andy Kirk, Bing Crosby, Tex Beneke, Johnny Long, Ozzie Nelson and Johnny Messner can be seen here leading their orchestras in superlative fashion.
Billy Eckstine - The celebrated vocalist and band leader Billy Eckstine was one of the most important musical figures of the 1940's.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. A great return to form for vocalist Earl Coleman – a singer who'd recorded earlier in the bop years, but who makes a rare 60s appearance here on a soulful set for Atlantic Records! Coleman's got a rich voice that's somewhere between Johnny Hartman and Billy Eckstine – with a great range that really goes deep when it wants, yet still has a fluid sensibility that's definitely jazz more than anything else. Billy Taylor's on the record on piano, and leads the combo on most numbers – but the set also features some nice arrangements from Frank Foster and Tom McIntosh, both of whom really keep things interesting. Titles include "Charade", "When Did You Leave Heaven", "I Wish I Knew", "Day In the Life Of a Fool", and "I Won't Tell A Soul".