Jazz singer “Little” Jimmy Scott has died at the age of 88.
Born on 17th July 1925, Scott’s first major hit was ‘Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool’, recorded in 1949 with the Lionel Hampton Band. However, Scott missed out on the potential exposure from the song as he received no credit, with the song released under the name ‘Lionel Hampton and vocalists’. Despite this, his distinctive voice (caused by Kallmann’s syndrome, a rare genetic condition which causes the patient to not go through puberty and as a result, leaves the voice unchanged), began to gain notice amongst musicians and Ray Charles signed Scott to his label Tangerine Records where he recorded the album ‘Falling In Love Is Wonderful’. The album was only available for a very limited time before difficulties arose from a contract Scott was previously tied into which eventually led to his career stalling until a upturn of fortunes in the early 1990’s.
He was signed to Sire Records after being seen by the label boss performing at Doc Pomus’ funeral and went on to release ‘All The Way’, an album of standards featuring Ron Carter and Kenny Barron, for which he received a Grammy nomination. He released a further seven albums over the next eleven years to great acclaim, not only singing standards but also his unique versions of more modern pop songs including ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’, as well as re-releasing material from the 1960’s that had been affected by the aforementioned contractual issues. As well as his own musical projects, he also worked with artists including David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Lou Reed and took part in some TV and film work, most notably the series finale of ‘Twin Peaks’ in 1991.
Speaking about his success later in life, Scott said, “I’m pleased now that (my voice) is pleasing to people. In a way, I feel like now maybe people will hear what I have to offer, whereas before the music never got to a level where all people had access to it. All I can do is give what I really feel. It’ll work out in the end. You gotta believe”.