Jun 13, 2014

Jimmy Scott RIP

Jimmy Scott - RIP

Jimmy Scott - Official Website

Jimmy Scott was truly an angel who graced us with his presence, and when possible, his unsurpassed talent to sing. Thank you, Jimmy. I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to shake your hand, and say thank you. 

Its funny how things work...And it comes back to Lou Reed for me. Last night there was a by-all-accounts wonderful tribute to Ornette Coleman in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Then I heard about Jimmy Scott this morning. Whats the connection with Lou Reed to both of these artists?

Many years ago, when WNEW was still a rock station here in NYC, and Vin Scelsa had a show on it, he was interviewing Lou Reed. When asked what ONE song would he choose to take to a desert island, Lou chose "Lonely Woman" by Ornette Coleman. Being a good listener, I went out and bought a copy of The Shape of Jazz To Come - Ornette's third album, and released by Atlantic Records in 1959 (a very good year for jazz). Lesson learned. Thank you, Lou.

Jump forward a few years. Following the death of the legendary Doc Pomus (Jimmy Scott fan and friend of Lou), Jimmy Scott performs at Doc's funeral. Lou is there. He then goes on to write & record Magic & Loss, a collection of songs contemplating life and its end (or not), and definitely inspired by Doc Pomus. Lou asks Jimmy Scott to sing on the album, and then has Jimmy appear with him in concert. I don't know how many shows Jimmy did with Lou, but I was at a Radio City Hall show where I saw him. Right around this same time, also resulting from Jimmy's performance at the Pomus funeral, Jimmy Scott was signed to Sire Records resulting in a couple of gorgeous albums, so I was aware of who Jimmy was by the time I saw him with Lou. But again, if it weren't for Lou I may not have known about Jimmy.

So, thank you, Lou - for Ornette & Jimmy.

I went on to see Jimmy several times throughout the 90's and into the early 00's. Jimmy ALWAYS looked like a visiting angel. He would just seem to appear on stage. Etherea in a spotlight. With those LONG fingers pointing the way. And no matter what was going on in the room, you had to completely give yourself over to listening. At Jimmy's tempo. Slow. We were lucky to have him.  

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