Billy Eckstine | He sang and played trumpet with Earl Hines. He met Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, who had some new ideas about music. When Mr B left the Hines orchestra to start his own, he brought them along and hired other progressive jazz players. Mr B didn't like the word, but they were the first bebop big band.
The Earl Hines Band at the Apollo (1943) Billy Eckstine is at the mic with Hines just behind him. Dizzy plays at far left while, at the far right, Charlie Parker listens and grins. Sarah Vaughan is at the piano.
"I consider Billy Eckstine the Jackie Robinson of popular music," says Cary Ginell, author of Mr. B: The Music and Life of Billy Eckstine. "Before Billy Eckstine came along, blacks, they would either sing blues or they would be in jazz bands, or they would sing in vocal groups, like or . Or as a novelty singer. But they were not permitted to enter the domain of Perry Como and . And Eckstine was the first one to successfully do that."