At three years of age, Jimmy loved to listen to Jazz. As he tells it, “I’d choose a 78 from my father’s Jazz collection and play it on the Victrola.
A particular favorite of mine was a picture record of Charlie Shavers performing “She’s Funny That Way” on one side and “Dizzy’s Dilemma” on the other side. Or I’d choose Duke Ellington’s “Stompy Jones” or “Tulip or Turnip.” Then my father would scoop me up in his arms and we’d dance! The best part, though, was seeing the reflection of me dancing with my daddy in the living room mirror. It was a great feeling.”
At fifteen, Donald Byrd, his mentor, arranged for Jimmy to audition for a place in the Newport Youth Band