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Catalog Data

Artist:
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010  Search this
Sitter:
Billy Eckstine, 8 Jul 1914 - 8 Mar 1993  Search this
Medium:
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 39 × 31.5cm (15 3/8 × 12 3/8")
Sheet: 50.3 × 40.5cm (19 13/16 × 15 15/16")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
Type:
Photograph
Place:
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Date:
1948 (printed 1998)
Exhibition Label:
Billy Eckstine’s seductive bass-baritone made him America’s most popular singer at the start of the 1950s. Eckstine launched his career by winning an amateur contest at Washington, D.C.’s Howard Theater in 1933, and later served as the lead vocalist with Earl Hines’s orchestra (1939–43). At a time when record producers balked at allowing African American singers to record anything but the blues, Eckstine achieved a breakthrough with “Skylark” (1942), which outsold Bing Crosby’s version of the song. In 1944 he assembled a groundbreaking band whose changing roster of stellar jazz musicians included Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Art Blakey, and vocalist Sarah Vaughan. Credited as “the cradle of bebop,” the ensemble was not commercially successful and disbanded in 1947. Eckstine transitioned to a successful career as a solo performer and recording artist, and became actively involved in the civil rights movement.
Con su seductora voz de bajo-barítono, Billy Eckstine fue el cantante más famoso de Estados Unidos a principios de la década de 1950. Su carrera despegó en 1933 al ganar un concurso de aficionados en el Howard Theater de Washington, D.C., y poco después pasó a ser cantante principal de la orquesta de Earl Hines (1939–43). En tiempos en que los productores discográficos se resistían a que los cantantes afroamericanos grabaran algo que no fuera blues, Eckstine logró romper esquemas con su versión de “Skylark” (1942), que desbancó a la de Bing Crosby. En 1944 reunió una banda que sentó precedentes, con un elenco estelar que variaba regularmente y que llegó a incluir a Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Art Blakey y la cantante Sarah Vaughan. Aunque se le considera “la cuna del bebop”, el conjunto no tuvo éxito comercial y se disolvió en 1947. Eckstine hizo la transición hacia una exitosa carrera como solista en vivo y en discos, y se involucró activamente en el movimiento pro derechos civiles.
Topic:
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone  Search this
Costume\Dress Accessory\Handkerchief  Search this
Interior\Performing Arts  Search this
Billy Eckstine: Male  Search this
Billy Eckstine: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.2014.111.8
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
Copyright:
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm402b9e806-1f7d-4484-9c68-f0d2bc7da370
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2014.111.8