Published Jun 13, 2014The music world has lost another legend, as famed jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott has reportedly passed away. So far, details of his passing our scarce, but various media reports and social media posts point to the singer dying yesterday (June 12) at the age of 88, with close friends and family reportedly confirming the news. So far, his cause of death has yet to be revealed, but Scott passed away in his Las Vegas home.
Often known as "Little Jimmy Scott," the singer was born on July 17, 1925, in Cleveland. At an early age, he was diagnosed with Kallmann's syndrome, a rare genetic condition that stunted his growth. He only grew to five feet seven inches, with the condition preventing him from reaching puberty — something that left Scott with a high yet entirely unique voice.
Like so many, he got his start singing in the church choir, but was orphaned at 13 when his mother was killed by a drunk driver. He first rose to fame when he sang lead in the Lionel Hampton Band for the '40s hit "Everybody's Somebody's Fool." This was followed by an up-and-down career that in the '60s eventually saw him sign to Ray Charles' Tangerine Records, for whom he did the classic album Falling in Love Is Wonderful.
Along the way, he gained the praise of such peers as Charles, Billie Holiday and Nancy Wilson. In the 1990s, he saw a revival thanks to attracting the attention of Lou Reed and David Lynch. Reed recruited him to sing back-up vocals on his song "Power and Glory" on the Velvet Underground leader's 1992 album Magic and Loss. And perhaps most famously, Scott appeared in the series finale of Lynch's cult TV program Twin Peaks, where he sang the haunting "Sycamore Trees." He was also featured in the Twin Peaks film Fire Walk with Me.
Throughout his six-decade-plus career, Scott also performed with the likes of Michael Stipe, Antony & the Johnsons, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Charles Mingus and Quincy Jones, among many others.
On August 17, 2013, he was inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University.