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Little Jimmy Scott--Imagination

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Uploaded on Sep 26, 2008

For more than five decades, vocalist Jimmy Scott has numbered the jazz world's best singers among his select group of fans. No less an authority than Billie Holiday named Scott -- and only Scott -- as a vocalist she admired. Although he was, for a period, "perhaps the most unjustly ignored American singer of the 20th century" (according to Joseph Hooper in a New York Times Magazine profile), Scott today is once more finding a dedicated international audience for his emotionally penetrating art.

Born in 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, where he still lives, James Victor Scott got his first big break in 1949, when Lionel Hampton hired him and billed him as "Little Jimmy Scott." As featured vocalist with the Hampton big band, Scott achieved fame in 1950 with the ballad "Everybody's Somebody's Fool." His success continued throughout the next decade, notably with his hit recording in 1955 of the old Bing Crosby favorite "When Did You Leave Heaven?," a song that he made his own.

Scott subsequently spent long periods away from the microphone, working for a time as a hotel shipping clerk and as a caretaker for his ailing father. He returned to the stage in 1985 and began recording again in 1990, and his career took off again two years later when Seymour Stein heard him perform at songwriter Doc Pomus's funeral and signed him to the Warner Brothers Sire label. Since that time, Scott recorded two albums for Sire, one for Warner Bros., and one for Artists Only! before joining Milestone Records in 2000. He sang new interpretations of "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "When Did You Leave Heaven?" on the Milestone CD Over the Rainbow, released in 2001, on which he returned the compliment Billie Holiday had paid him by performing his own distinctive version of one of her signature songs, "Strange Fruit."

Scott's new fans have rediscovered his original hit recordings of the 1950s on such collections as three-CD box set The Savoy Years and More released in 1999, which included his 1952 recordings for Roost Records and his 1955-72 recordings for Savoy, and his resurgence in the public eye included appearances on Lou Reed's 1992 recording Magic and Loss and in an episode of David Lynch's 1990s television series Twin Peaks. He continues to record and perform frequently.

Selected Discography

The Savoy Years and More, Savoy, 1952-72
Falling in Love is Wonderful, Rhino, 1962
All the Way, Sire, 1992
Holding Back the Years, Artists Only, 1998
Over the Rainbow, Milestone, 2000

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