Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Little Jimmy Scott, 1925-2014: He wanted all of it

Just heard the news that singer Jimmy Scott, “the jazz vocalist with "more pain and prettiness in his voice than any singer anywhere",” has died.

"He sang like no one else," said saxophonist Dexter Gordon. "Ahead of the beat. Behind the beat. In a haunting high-pitched voice that was neither male nor female but both at the same time." …
    Kallmann syndrome, a condition that halted Jimmy's hormonal growth, left him with an alto voice that remained unchanged.
    "Some thought he was a woman in drag," said Gordon. "He caught hell for being different – not just as a singer, but as a person on the planet. Yet I never saw him anything but positive, cheerful and ready to roll to the next gig with a smile on his face. Jimmy Scott was one brave motherfucker."

I first heard him through his haunting voice on Lou Reed’s songs and shows. I saw him several times in London singing this, with Lou …

… and this.

A favourite of, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Wilson and many more, this, for Lionel Hampton’s band, was his first big hit, way back in 1950:

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