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Singer Jimmy Scott Dies at 88

Known for his high, soulful voice, he was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2007

Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott, whose distinctively high contralto voice-caused by a rare genetic condition called Kallmann’s syndrome-gave his music a purity and youthfulness even into old age, died June 12 in his sleep at his Las Vegas home. His death, the cause of which was cardiac arrest, was confirmed by a family friend. Scott was 88.

Born James Victor Scott in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 17, 1925, one of 10 children, “Little” Jimmy Scott, as he was known early in his career, was born with the aforementioned condition, which stunted his physical growth and made him unable to reach puberty. As a result, Scott’s singing voice was unusually high for an adult male, however he used it to his advantage onstage and in the recordings he made beginning in the late 1940s with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Charlie Parker and others. Scott’s appeal crossed over from jazz into the nascent rhythm and blues world, and his 1950 Decca single with Hampton, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” landed in the Billboard R&B top 10 (Scott was not credited on the record label, however).

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