Entertainment & Arts

Jazz singer Jimmy Scott dies at 88

Jimmy Scott Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jimmy Scott enjoyed a late career renaissance after the 1990s

Jimmy Scott, the US jazz singer whose high and haunting voice earned him many high-profile fans and a Grammy nomination, has died at the age of 88.

Scott had the rare genetic condition Kallmann's Syndrome, which meant he never reached puberty and his voice did not deepen.

Madonna once described him as "the only singer who makes me cry".

He also recorded with Lou Reed and appeared on the soundtrack to 1990s TV drama Twin Peaks.

Speaking of his voice, which was often mistaken for a woman's, he said: "I learned that it was a gift that I was able to sing this way.

"Many times, I'd think, I'd love to try this in a lower register... but then after a while you think, sing with what you got."


Scott began his recording career in the 1950s. By 1962, he had been signed by Ray Charles, who also produced his album Falling in Love Is Wonderful.

Scott regarded the album as his "masterpiece" - but it was withdrawn from sale after a matter of weeks because of a legal wrangle with his former record label, and Scott withdrew from the music industry.

He then took jobs including as a shipping clerk, waiter and a ward captain for the Democratic Party before a late musical renaissance that began in the early 1990s.

All the Way, which was released in 1992, was nominated for a Grammy Award for best jazz vocal performance.

Scott's career blossomed late in life as he continued to record and tour.

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