what can i say about mr. b a.k.a. billy eckstine? i wanted to include his rendition of the standard “everything i have is yours” in this clip but frankly, it was too much work. you can hear a snippet of it here but really only a full-length version of his work will do.
his style, his sex appeal, and his vibrato remain unparalleled (well, his frequent singing partner sarah vaughan could hold her own in the vibrato category but you get where i’m going with this). it seems to me that the only males of the jazz world we celebrate are the instrumentalists, composers, and arrangers but the singers were pretty amazing too.
if i’ve whet your appetite head over to wnyc.org and listen to a segment of the show “soundcheck” entitled: “60 years before Obama there was Mr. B.”
summary: Once more popular than Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, singer Billy Eckstine stole the show with sex appeal, sophistication and black machismo - all in an era of segregation. Music critic David Hajdu joins us to share Eckstine’s tragic story, which appears in his new book, Heroes and Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics and Culture.