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INTERVIEWS

Jimmy Scott: Across the Universe

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Listening to Little Jimmy Scott sing is different from listening to any other singer. His high-pitched voice carries more emotion than any instrument can reasonably bear, and seems to come from a special place deep within his heart. Yet that voice also seems to resound from a profound source far beyond any one man, a place where individuality no longer exists: The everlasting pulse of the universe. Jimmy Scott's voice soars in the heaven of romantic love, and burns in the hell of a broken heart. When he sings, his voice surrounds, from the inside and out.Now 86, ...

INTERVIEWS

Meet Little Jimmy Scott

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All About Jazz: You've been out of the country recently?Jimmy Scott: Yes, I was in France and Italy. I was there with my regular group. Hilliard Greene is on bass, Michael Keenan is on piano, and Victor Jones is on drums. Hilliard has been with me for twelve years, and the other two have been with me for at least four years. I organized a band in '85, and Hilliard was with me then.AAJ: Was the restart of your career in '84?JS: Yes. I was in Cleveland, and I was intending to go back ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Jimmy Scott: Counting His Blessings

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“Jimmy had soul way back when people weren't using the word," observed Ray Charles. Even though through the years he's inspired champions like Quincy Jones, Lou Reed, Elton John and director David Lynch, NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Scott's career has been a rollercoaster for over seven decades. He's unlikely ever to become a household name and yet scores of singers have been influenced by his powerfully emotional style and uniquely expressive phrasing, among them Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Frankie Valli. Nancy Wilson, who recalls hearing his recordings of “Everybody Needs Somebody" and “The Show Must Go On" at age ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Profiles

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No singer in jazz or popular music can convey heartache and loss with the conviction of Jimmy Scott. Then again, few have endured the struggles and overcome the challenges that the Cleveland native with the inimitable soprano has faced over his long and remarkable career. This compilation in Milestone's Profiles series draws from a set of albums Scott recorded for the label over a short span from 2000-01, when he was about 75 and about a decade following his triumphant return to the music scene after years working outside the business. The album focuses on Scott's idiosyncratic, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Moon Glow

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No matter how you define it, a real “jazz singer" is exactly what Jimmy Scott is. His phrasing and delivery are simply impeccable, and – though at age 78 his voice may be a bit rough around the edges – he sings straight from the heart. Scott's newest release offers up ten ballads sung in his typical unpredictable and captivating style. This is prime Scott luring the listener into each song with his subtle nuances and revealing hidden meanings behind every lyric, communicating the longing, the sadness, and the pain of lost love better than any singer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Moon Glow

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It took a long time in coming, but Jimmy Scott’s sure found his career groove with his series of “comeback” albums with Todd Barkan for the Milestone label. Barkan somehow knows how to set up Scott’s distinctive vocal presence – an unparalleled dynamic between the performer's exquisite sense of jazz and blues timing, and the ravages of Kallmann’s Syndrome on his voice – with simple perfection. On his fourth Milestone set, Scott burns like a classic torch singer through classic songs, except he seems to do more than sing these songs – he seems to embody them, to give them ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Moonglow

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There is something strangely perfect about Jimmy Scott’s singing. And I do not attribute this to his well-documented Kallman’s Syndrome, a condition that has preserved his beautiful high tenor. Mr. Scott’s recordings are characterized by an uncharacterizable voice and delivery that keeps the listener off center. This works both to his advantage and disadvantage. While “Moonglow" is delivered and accepted with a smile, the Beatles’ “Yesterday" is offered with disconcerting vocal starts and stops. Still provocative, it is not bad, just anxious. Scott is unsurpassed as a singer of romantic ballads, particularly those ballads associated with loss. This ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Faith in Time: the Life of Jimmy Scott By David Ritz

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Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy ScottDavid RitzDaCapo Press (2002)ISBN: 0306810883272 pages Blessed with one of the sweetest voices and kindest dispositions in jazz, Jimmy Scott has also been cursed with some of the worst luck – though the still vibrant 77-year-old song stylist would never admit that. Despite years of neglect by audiences, mistreatment by managers and record labels, endless taunts over his androgynous voice and appearance, numerous failed relationships and family tragedies, alcohol abuse, and a lifelong battle with a physically debilitating disease, Scott remains ever ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Over the Rainbow

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Though age may be taking its toll on the unmistakable voice of Jimmy Scott, that is not stopping the “Little" (in physical stature only) legend from making the most of his recent renaissance. No longer considered a novelty, this powerful performer is putting out some of the best work of his career. With the support of fellow big swingers like George Mraz and David “Fathead" Newman, Scott squeaks and struts his way through some of the great unsung (or at least less sung) selections from the Great American Songbook. From a dreamy, vibe-drenched trip through Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow" ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Everybody's Somebody's Fool

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On this new collection of career-launching sides, Jimmy Scott primarily deals with two main issues: the fool and Fortune. While Scott was often made to play the former thanks to the development-stunting condition that the latter foisted upon him, he has enough conviction and strength (both vocally and otherwise) to deliver a star-making performance. From the opening horn punch of the collection’s title track, Scott is demanding attention be paid despite his diminutive size. This attention is rewarded with an emotive set of heart-felt selections that includes the plaintive “I Wish I Knew," the questioning “Alone with a Memory," the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: Falling In Love Is Wonderful

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There is no other voice in Jazz like Jimmy Scott’s Voice... The Eighteenth Century saw the zenith of a subset of opera singers known collectively as the castrati. These singers, eunuchs relieved of their primary sexual characteristics between the ages of 7 and 10 years, had voices full, with high range and perfect timbre. Technically, the normal male voice deepens during puberty under the pressure of increasing secretion of the male sex hormone testosterone, or more probably its biological byproduct dihydrotestosterone. The male vocal cords increase 70% in length during this time, where the female vocal cords increase ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: The Source

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It may be a cliché to state that a singer has to live before he or she can sing about life. But the hardships that Jimmy Scott has endured in a long life of struggle and injustice could, to quote another cliché, test the patience of Job.Yet, Jimmy Scott has endured. Without bitterness. Without regret. With optimism. With humanity.Possessing a hugely influential voice that has gone straight to the heart of some of the last half century’s greatest jazz and R&B singers--not to mention cult followers like director David Lynch and actor Joe Pesci--Scott suffered the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Scott: The Savoy Years And More...

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While time may heal all wounds, sometimes you wonder why those wounds are ever inflicted in the first place. Little Jimmy Scott, after years of as a cult figure in an on-again, off-again career in singing, is enjoying a resurgence in interest in his seventies. People like Nancy Wilson and Frankie Valli and Nancy Wilson understood Scott's unique talent early, and late-comers like director David Lynch, actor Joe Pesci, Bruce Spingsteen, Lou Reed and Bill Cosby comprise a coterie of followers in the current generation. Now Bravo is producing a TV special about Scott, and he's touring around the world ...



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