Rutgers-Newark Alumnus Will Preview Upcoming Book On Jazz Great Billy Eckstine During Sept. 25 Talk

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Another alumnus returns to headline the 2012 event at Dana Library’s Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) as part of Homecoming Week with the Rutgers University Alumni Association. Jeff S. McMillan, a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark Master’s program in Jazz History and Research, returns to the campus on September 25 to speak on his forthcoming book on the famed singer Billy Eckstine.

Eckstine was a singer and bandleader, known for hits such as “My Foolish Heart” and “I Apologize.” A rarity in the 40s swing era of White bandleaders, Eckstine paved the way for future Black singers and performers with his unique blend of soul and R&B. He graduated from being a member in the 30s big bands, like those of Earl Hines, to forming his own band, The Billy Eckstine Orchestra. Eckstine jumpstarted the careers of many jazz musicians by hiring modernist performers like Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Tadd Dameron, who went on to earn stardom in their own right.

McMillan, a 2000 graduate of the masters program, is an active alumnus and recently became managing editor of the IJS publication, the Journal of Jazz Studies. His previous book on trumpeter Lee Morgan, Delightfulee: The Life and Music of Lee Morgan, won the Jazz Times Readers’ Poll for “Best in the Industry: Books.” He writes about both jazz and opera for numerous publications, including Current Musicology, Opera News, and The Historic Brass Journal.

The free event will take place on September 25, 2012, from 6-8pm, in the Dana Room on the 4th floor of the John Cotton Dana Library. The program will include a reception, followed by a presentation by McMillan, interspersed with performances of Eckstine’s music. Jazz vocalist Carrie Jackson will perform Eckstine’s music along with a trio of musicians including: Alan Rosenthal on piano, Thaddeus Expose on bass, and Earl Grice on drums.

Members of the university community, public, and alumni are invited to attend this celebration of Eckstine’s life and music, with honored guest speaker Jeff McMillan.

For more information contact Merve Fejzula at or go to  ;to RSVP contact Alexandra Brown at or call 973-353-5242.