Text Box: JAZZ autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $150.00



Autographed complete page photograph within a 24 page 8.25” x 11” souvenir program for a tour of Eckstine with Count Basie and his Orchestra and George Shearing and his Quintet, Fall, 1952.  The autograph is in bold pencil.


Eckstine (1914-1993) was 38 years old in 1952 and one of the very top jazz performers in the Country.  In 1949, 1950 and 1951 Eckstine was at the top of his game on the charts and audience appeal.  His 1950 concert at the Paramount Theatre drew a bigger audience than Frank Sinatra, his appearance at the Oasis Club drew a standing room only crowd and he was presented by Carnegie Hall in a solo concert in November of the same year.  Metronome Magazine named him top male vocalist in 1949 and 1950, Downbeat Magazine readers poll scored him the same and he won the Billboard Magazine college poll in 1951.


Eckstine came from an unusual family.  His Jewish Grandfather came to the U.S. from Germany in the middle of the 19th Century.  He married a former African-American slave, which was absolutely unthinkable at the time.  The couple had two children, William Clarence Eckstein Sr. was his Father and made his livelihood as a chauffer in Pittsburgh.  Billy learned to sing at a young age in the church and songs his Grandmother taught him.  He moved to Washington D.C. with his family, completed high school and enrolled in Howard University.  He entered a singing contest there and mimicked his idol Cab Calloway and won the contest.  As a high school senior he sung with the Tommy Myles Orchestra and soon thereafter started his own band in Pittsburgh where he fashioned himself as “Baron Billy” and his Orchestra.  At the behest of Budd Johnson, in 1937 Eckstine went to Chicago where he began to sing in Club DeLisa.  He hired onto Earl Hines’s Big Band in 1939 as a solo singer, while on tour he learned to play the trumpet and the trombone and a hybrid version, a valve trombone.  He stayed with Hines until 1943 convincing him to hire Dizzy Gillsepie and Charlie Parker among others which led to the genesis of be-bop.  Eckstine also wrote and recorded his first chart topping hit with the band, “Jelly-Jelly” in 1940. From 1944-1947 Eckstine led his own bop big band, which was a pioneering exercise in the movement, but realized his big success was going to be as a solo singer and occasional instrumentalist.  His huge success in 1949 and 1950 led to an MGM contract for five years. 

At the time of this program, Eckstine was one of the most popular male jazz stars.


The program is full of photographs and biographical sketches of Eckstine, Shearing and Basie.  But make no mistake, Eckstine was the star of the show.  The program itself is in exceptional condition, the last photograph, which covers the entire back page on heavy stock is the signed image.  There is one flaw in the program, a small portion of the page preceding the autographed photograph is missing, else mint.