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New Jimmy Scott Movie, Book

Little Jimmy Scott is not so little anymore. No, the petite singer didn’t have a growth spurt recently, but on July 17 Scott will turn 77. The singer will celebrate his birthday with an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl as part of a Billie Holiday tribute. In addition, Scott is the subject of two major projects that are currently in the works: Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew, a documentary directed by Matthew Buzzell, and a biography, Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott, by David Ritz.

Buzzell, who is a graduate of the American Film Institute, recently won the Audience award at the Atlanta Film and Video Festival for If You Only Knew. The film was also an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival, the South by Southwest Film Festival, and the Florida Film Festival. Scott will be in attendance for the Los Angeles premiere of If You Only Knew, which will take place on July 16 at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian theater. Immediately following the film will be a birthday party for Scott.

Faith in Time, published by Da Capo Press, is due to be released October 2. Scott was born in Cleveland in 1925, and suffered from Kallman’s syndrome, which prevented his body and voice from developing past boyhood. Ritz covers this period of Scott’s life, including the death of his mother in a traffic accident, as well as the singer’s associations with Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker and Ray Charles, among others. The recall of Scott’s 1962 album Falling in Love is Wonderful, produced by Charles, is also discussed. Thought to be Scott’s best work, the LP was pulled off the shelves by Charles due to a contract dispute between him and Tangerine Records. Ritz also describes Scott’s resurgence into the music business after being heard at songwriter Doc Pomus’ funeral in 1991.

David Ritz is the author of several music biographies, including Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King and Brother Ray: Ray Charles’ Own Story.

Scott’s latest album, entitled But Beautiful, is out on Fantasy Jazz.

Originally Published