Following up their excellent set of Billy Eckstine's 1944-1945 sides, Classics' has now brought together more of the bandleader's prime bebop-era material on this disc of 1946-1947 material. Once again, Eckstine is backed by some of the day's top players, namely Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, and Art Blakey. The highlights abound, including an update of Eckstine's early-'40s hit with the Earl Hines band, "The Jitney Man"; excellent readings of "Without a Song" and "In the Still of the Night"; and a riveting go at Dizzy Gillespie's bop classic, "Oo Bop Sh'bam." Presaging his subsequent fame as a grand ballad singer, the collection also features early orchestra cuts like "My Silent Love" and "All the Things You Are," all featuring the singer's lush baritone against some slightly cloying string charts. Finally, the show ends in intimate fashion, as Eckstine takes up the trombone -- don't worry, he sings too -- in a small combo featuring tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray. A pure delight.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook