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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



Yours to Command




  1. When You Return
  2. If
  3. Bring Back the Thrill
  4. Stardust
  5. I Wanna Be Loved
  6. Here Comes the Blues
  7. I Left My Hat in Haiti
  8. Iím Yours to Command
  9. What Will I Tell My Heart?
  10. Iím a Fool to Want You
  11. Love Me
  12. Once
  13. Be Fair
  14. Pandora
  15. Wonder Why
  16. Enchanted Land
  17. Iíve Got My Mind on You
  18. Strange Sensation
  19. Because Youíre Mine
  20. Until Eternity

These recordings were made in the period 1950 to 1952 and find Mr B in the company of several different Bandleaders and Musical Directors. They were not just any Bandleaders and Musical directors, the names of Pete Rugolo, Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle, Russ Case and Buddy Baker show that by this time in his career he could command the best.

Billy Eckstine had a unique voice and style of vocal delivery, imitated by many people, but all pale shadows of the original rich baritone voice that was his trademark. As a jazz person it always seems a shame to me that a man who also played guitar, trumpet and trombone brought so little of his jazz background to his commercial presentation. His big band of 1944 was short lived, but one of the most influential big bands of all time. It nurtured the talents of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Ammons, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Fats Navarro and Lucky Thompson to say nothing of vocalists Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne.

The performances here are immaculate, as you would expect from a combination of a superb singer and the very best arrangers of the day, using the pick of studio musicians. Unfortunately the lack of jazz content in it makes everything sound similar

and whilst Joe Williams was probably a lesser vocal talent he never forgot to swing, it is disappointing that I canít say the same for Billy Eckstine.

If you are an Eckstine fan this is an excellent sample of his work of the period, if you are a fan of jazz vocals, there is not much here for you.

Don Mather



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