In Memoriam: Jazz singer Jimmy Scott passes away

Posted Jun 14, 2014 by Markos Papadatos
On June 13, it was revealed that veteran jazz singer Jimmy Scott has passed away from natural causes. He was 88 years old.
R&B legend Jimmy Scott
R&B legend Jimmy Scott
Professor Bop, Wikimedia Commons
According to an article on National Public Radio's official website, he died on Thursday morning (June 12) in his Las Vegas home from cardiac arrest.
Affectionately dubbed as "Little" Jimmy Scott, he had suffered from Kallman's syndrome, a condition that prevented his body from maturing through puberty. This affected his growth, leaving his stature at 4 feet 11 inches until his late 30s. That is why on multiple occasions, his high voice was mistaken from a woman's.
He rose to fame singing in the Lionel Hamption Band when he sang the 1940s hit "Everybody's Somebody's Fool," which would subsequently become a Top 10 R&B hit in 1950, however, the label had credited the song to "Lionel Hampton and Vocalists," when indeed he was the one singing lead.
His illustrious career in music has spanned an astonishing 65 years. He has performed with such diverse artists as Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Lester Young, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Fats Navarro, Quincy Jones, David Byrne, Lou Reed, Flea, Michael Stipe, among many others.
Scott's "If I Ever Lost You" can be heard in the opening credits of the HBO motion picture Lackawanna Blues, which starred award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson (from Law & Order).
He was admired by Liza Minelli and such R&B legends as Billie Holiday and Nancy Wilson, the latter of which dubbed him as "the master of the ballad form." Holiday listed Scott as her personal favorite singer, and ironically enough, Minelli's mother, Judy Garland, was an influence to him.
Scott sang the song "Why Was I Born?" at two presidential inaugurations, for President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 and President Bill Clinton in 1993 respectively. He had continued to play internationally and sing at music festivals and at his own concerts up until his death.
He had earned such accolades as the 2007 NEA Jazz Master Award, the Kennedy Center's "Jazz In Our Time" Living Legend Award, as well as the "Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Foundation of America" in 2010.
On August 17, 2013, in his hometown, Cleveland, Ohio, Scott was inducted into the inaugural R&B Music Hall of Fame.