"Little" Jimmy Scott - The Jazz World's Best Kept Secret
Scott never made it to international fame, but his influence can still be heard in jazz music today.
Jimmy Scott may have been one of the most unique voices in jazz and an inspiration to many, but he remained largely unknown for most of his career. He died last Thursday, leaving a musical legacy of sixteen studio albums and almost seven decades in the business, making an impact with his unique voice and romantic lyrics. His ethereal voice and high pitch were due to a the hormone-related Kallmann’s Syndrome, but “Little” Jimmy overcame and used his condition to make beautiful music.
Jimmy Scott didn't reach mainstream success until his later years.
Jimmy’s best known recording has to be Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool, recorded in 1949 – long before he reached any kind of success in the industry. Back then he was working with Lionel Hampton’s popular orchestra. It was Hampton, who gave him the nickname “Little Jimmy”, which stuck with Scott throughout his career.
His music saw an unexpected revival in 1992 and, for the past couple of decades, Scott had something of a cult star status, especially among his peers in jazz. He performed with the likes of Charlie Parker, Quincy Jones and Ray Charles as well as greats outside the jazz genre, David Byrne and Lou Reed. He is said to have influenced everyone from Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye to Prince, Nancy Wilson and Frank Sinatra.