Home » Jazz Musicians » Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott is an NEA Jazz Master

The life of Jimmy Scott is not one of meteoric stardom but a journey that has taken nearly seventy years to find its much deserved success.

One of ten children, James Victor Scott was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 17, 1925.

The f irst time Jimmy sang on a public stage was at school when the teacher had him sing the lead in a play "Ferdinand the Bull", after that she always had him do the leads. He was only 12 years old when he became known as a singer around Cleveland. While in his teens a Comedian saw the potential in Jimmy, he was Tim McCoy from Akron. Whenever Tim got a "gig" around Northeast Ohio, he would take Jimmy along with him on the bill. Jimmy would sing at different clubs, they would sneak him out before the cops arrived, because he was not only under age, but looked even younger than his actual years. Later Jimmy produced the Summer Festivals, a group of talented youngsters, like his friend jazz baritone singer Jimmy Reed and dancer Barbara Taylor, that would put on shows all around the area.

They also worked and put on shows at the Metropolitan Theater where the big bands would come in to play, Jimmy set up a concession to supply the Artists with soap, clean towels, and toiletries. He was hired by the dance troupe, "The Two Flashes", Jimmy took the job to be close to show business, its players, and the stage. While in Meadville, PA. they were working with some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day, Lester Young, Slam Stewart, Ben Webster, Papa Jo Jones, Sir Charles, etc…The music was jumpin' and so was Jimmy, he asked the dancers to see if the band would let him do a couple of numbers, they said ok. Jimmy sang "The Talk of the Town" and "Don't Take Your Love Away", the audience went crazy showing their love for Jimmy and the thunderous applause was deafening. Every time the band ran into Jimmy, they'd ask him to come up on stage a do a couple numbers. Some of the early big bands Jimmy enjoyed were Count Basie's Band, Erskine Hawkins, and Father Earl Hines, but Lester Young was his favorite tenor sax player. He joined Lionel Hampton's Band in 1948, where he discovered the vibraphone and the strings, Jimmy said "it helped him to learn the beauty of the song and encouraged him to sing". Lionel was a mentor to Jimmy and the one who tagged him with the stage name, "Little Jimmy Scott", at the time he was 23, only 4'11", thin, and very young looking. Jimmy said it was a gimmick for Lionel's show, but it wasn't too many years later that you started hearing more singers take their cue from Jimmy's stage name and call themselves Little So & So.

Read more

Tags

Album Review

Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming

Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


I Go Back Home è l'ultima toccante testimonianza di Jimmy Scott, singolare cantante afro-americano, riscoperto e celebrato in età avanzata all'inizio degli anni Novanta. La produzione di questo album è stata fortemente voluta dal tedesco Ralf Kemper che ha affiancato a Jimmy Scott ospiti del calibro di Kenny Barron, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Brönner, Joey DeFrancesco, James Moody, Gregoire Maret, Joe Pesci, Arturo Sandoval e risale al 2009. Accanto al disco è stato realizzato un documentario del regista ...

7
Album Review

Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming

Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Sadness naturally hovers like a black cloud over life's December days, but hope and joy can often find a way to peak through the overcast skies. That's a message that comes through most clearly on Jimmy Scott's beautiful parting gift to the world. I Go Back Home manages to serve as swan song, celebration, tribute, soiree, and soundtrack all at once. It brings Scott into contact with an incredible array of musicians while showcasing his inimitable voice--a ...

6
Film Review

Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home

Read "Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home Kemper Music, Sine Qua Non Music 2016 “Little" Jimmy Scott (1925-2014) was for a long time the world's greatest jazz singer nobody ever heard of. Enormously talented, with an intuitive grasp of the jazz idiom and the blues, he began his ascendance as a singer with Lionel Hampton's band in the 1950s, and then almost vanished from the scene for three decades. In 1991, Velvet Underground guitarist Lou Reed and ...

267
Interview

Jimmy Scott: Across the Universe

Read "Jimmy Scott: Across the Universe" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


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 ...

603
Interview

Meet Little Jimmy Scott

Read "Meet Little Jimmy Scott" reviewed by Bill Donaldson


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: ...

679
Profile

Jimmy Scott: Counting His Blessings

Read "Jimmy Scott: Counting His Blessings" reviewed by Andrew Velez


“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 ...

121
Album Review

Jimmy Scott: Profiles

Read "Profiles" reviewed by Joel Roberts


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 ...

Read more articles

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

I Go Back Home: A...

Eden River Records
2017

buy

I Go Back Home: A...

Eden River Records
2016

buy

I Go Back Home - A...

Eden River Records
2016

buy

Profiles

Milestone
2006

buy

Moon Glow

Fantasy Jazz
2003

buy

Videos

Similar

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.