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




Crotchet

BILLY ECKSTINE

My Foolish Heart

Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120655


  1. All I Sing Is Blues
  2. Prisoner Of Love
  3. Intrigue
  4. I’m Out To Forget Tonight
  5. Somehow
  6. What’s My Name
  7. Body & Soul
  8. Jealousy
  9. Sitting By the Window
  10. My Foolish Heart
  11. Free
  12. I Apologise
  13. The Show Must Go On
  14. You’ve Got Me Crying Again
  15. Be My Love
  16. Only A Moment Ago
  17. I’m Crazy For You
  18. I’ve Never Been In Love Before
  19. I Guess I’ll Have To Dream the Rest
  20. Take Me Back

Billy Eckstine’s first claim to fame as a vocalist occurred when he joined Earl Hines band in 1939. The band was breeding ground for some of the most famous names in jazz, including Gillespie and for a while Charlie Parker. Billy was also at that time quite an accomplished musician, playing guitar, trumpet and trombone at

various times.

It was of course his superb abilities as a vocalist that were his main attribute, he is instantly recognisable with a full baritone voice and a vibrato that his impersonators always latched on to.

The reason for his inclusion in the history of jazz is the big band he started in 1944, although it didn’t make him rich, it was the first real bebop big band and it nurtured the talents of Gillespie and Charlie Parker as well as Gene Ammons, Art Blakey, Miles Davies, Dexter Gordon, Fats Navarro and Lucky Thompson, as well as vocalists Lena Horne and Sarah Vaughan. The band lasted for three years before Billy realised that he could have a much more lucrative career as a vocalist. Rumour has it that the band became the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and another legend was born.

Billy went on to have many hit records, including some very famous duets with Sarah Vaughan,. Many of his hits, though not the duets are included on this record which is a good representation of his work in the popular recording business. There are some very famous orchestras and musical directors associated with the various backing orchestras, but not only all do they all sound the same, they all sound pretty dull as well. Perhaps ‘Mr B’ was such a huge personality with such an enormous voice he swamped the talents he worked with. For his many fans however this will be a welcome release. because many of these tracks were only available on 78RPM records before and Naxos have done their usual splendid job on the clean up

Don Mather



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