Jimmy Scott, angel-voiced jazz
singer, dies at 88
Send a link to a friend
[June 16, 2014]
By Jonathan Allen
(Reuters) - Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer whose soulful,
androgynous voice won him the admiration of the likes of Ray Charles
and Lou Reed before he found a wider audience later in life, has
died at age 88, his wife said on Saturday.
Scott died in his sleep at home in Las Vegas on Thursday as a
result of cardiac arrest following a period of illness, his
wife, Jeannie Scott, said in a telephone interview.
Scott became known as a "singer's singer" who was revered by
music figures such as Reed, Quincy Jones and Madonna for
rendering standards from the American songbook in his
distinctive high register.
His unusual voice was a result of being born with a rare genetic
condition called Kallmann syndrome, which meant he never passed
His early career had its moments of triumph, but seemed to stop
more often than it started. He performed as Little Jimmy Scott
with the Lionel Hampton Band in the late 1940s and early 1950s,
although his name went uncredited on recordings.
Charles signed Scott to his record label in the early 1960s, and
accompanied Scott's vocals on the piano for the album "Falling
in Love Is Wonderful." The record was quickly pulled from stores
in a contract dispute with another label, but would go on to
acquire cult acclaim among jazz aficionados.
Attempts over the next few years to revive his recording career
were similarly stymied. Scott returned to his birthplace,
Cleveland, and took a series of odd jobs, working as a nursing
home aide and as a shipping clerk, according to a New York Times
Magazine profile from 2000.
[to top of second column]
Scott's music career was revived in 1991, when he sang at the
funeral of his old friend Doc Pomus, a blues songwriter.
Seymour Stein, a record label executive, was at the funeral and
signed Scott, who returned to the studio, his voice a little smokier
than in his youth, to record a quartet of albums in the 1990s for
Sire and Warner Bros Records. Scott's 1992 album, "All the Way," was
nominated for a Grammy, and he began touring internationally in his
Scott said it was not until his 30s that he learned to embrace his
pristine voice. "Well, I learned that it was a gift that I was able
to sing this way," he told the New York Times Magazine.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, Editing by Alex
Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.