Billy Eckstine. August 27, 1969. Referred to as "Mr. B" Eckstine was a jazz singer and bandleader. He formed and directed his own band and also played the trumpet, valve trombone, and guitar. He went on to become a solo artist often collaborating with other renowned vocalists such as Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughn and other musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Count Basie and Quincy Jones.