~ Jimmy Scott – The life of Jimmy Scott is not one of meteoric stardom, but a journey that has taken nearly 70 years to find its much-deserved success. One of ten children, James Victor Scott was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 17, 1925. He was only 12 years old when he became known as a singer around Cleveland. Joining Lionel Hampton’s band in 1948, he discovered the vibraphone and the strings, which he said “helped him to learn the beauty of the song” and encouraged him to sing.
Scott met Estelle “Caldonia” Young in the early 1940s, and she hired him as the featured singer for her road show. Although the tour only had the group booked for one week at a Harlem club, Scott sang that one week and the club kept him on for three more months! Billie Holiday would often show up nightly while in town to listen to Scott sing.
Legendary blues singer Doc Pomus was in the audience during that first week and wanted to meet this amazing singer. The two became fast friends, cultivating a friendship that lasted over 45 years. When Smith sang at Doc’s funeral in 1991, label owner Seymour Stein heard him and practically signed him on the spot. Thus begam Scott’s re-emergence as a singer. All the Way, his Grammy-nominated comeback album, came out the following year.
At age 67, Scott began to tour the world, where he was introduced to new appreciative audiences and legions of new young fans. After a long climb, things are really looking up for this talented singer in the new millennium. He’s established a dedicated international audience through triumphant tours of Europe and Japan, was featured in a Bravo Profiles television special, and was the subject of an in-depth biography by award-winning author David Ritz. With his recent studio releases But Beautiful (2002) and Moonglow (2003), he continues to flesh out a persuasive portrait of his jazz mastery and storytelling.
Of the success he’s achieved relatively late in life, Scott says, “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.”