Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Billy Eckstine "Jelly, Jelly"

 Billy Eckstine is not usually thought of as a blues singer, but as this clip shows he was a powerful, urbane blues singer.  Mr. B is credited with leading the first be-bop big band and recognized as the the first romantic black male in popular music.

Quincy Jones quoted in Billboard: "I looked up to Mr. B as an idol. I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, pattern my whole life as a musician and as a complete person in the image of dignity that he projected... As a black man, Eckstine was not immune to the prejudice that characterized the 1950s". Quincy Jones is quoted in The Pleasures of Jazz as saying of Eckstine: “If he’d been white, the sky would have been the limit. As it was, he didn’t have his own radio or TV show, much less a movie career. He had to fight the system, so things never quite fell into place.”"

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