BILLY ECKSTINE SIGNED 8 X 10 PROGRAM PHOTO, "To Dr. Scott, My best, Billy Eckstine", b/w, smiling portrait. The program, 8.5 x 11, 6 pages, honoring "Billy Eckstine's Day" and celebrating Saint Paul's College Centennial, (the private historically black college was located in Lawrenceville, VA), November 10, 1987. In fine condition.
William Clarence Eckstine (July 8, 1914
– March 8, 1993) was an American jazz and pop singer, and a
bandleader of the swing era. He was noted for his rich, resonant, almost
operatic bass-baritone voice. Eckstine's recording of “I Apologize”
(MGM, 1948) was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
In 1944, Eckstine formed his own big band and it became the
finishing school for adventurous young musicians
who would shape the future of jazz. Included in this group were Dizzy
Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, and Fats
Navarro, as well as vocalist Sarah Vaughan. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra is
considered to be the first bop big-band, and had Top Ten chart entries that
included “A Cottage for Sale”
and “Prisoner of Love”. Both were awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.
Eckstine was the subject of a three-page profile in the 25
April 1950 issue of LIFE magazine in which one photograph showed Eckstine
with a group of white female admirers. The publication of the image
caused letters of protest to be written to the magazine, and singer Harry
Belafonte subsequently said of the publication that "when that photo hit,
in this national publication, it was if a barrier had been broken". The
controversy that resulted from the photograph had a seminal effect on the
trajectory of Eckstine's career. Tony Bennett would recall that
"It changed everything...Before that, he had a tremendous following...and
it just offended the white community, coverage and that picture just slammed
the door shut for him". He went on recording, appearing on
television variety shows, and performing until his heart attack in 1992.