Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home (Eden River)

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home
Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home

Throughout his stellar but erratic career, Jimmy Scott often depended on strangers—influential figures like Ray Charles, Joel Dorn and Todd Barkan were compelled to try and secure for Scott the wider audience he so richly deserved. Last among such heroes was German producer Ralf Kemper, who spent years, and a small fortune, assembling what would prove Scott’s final album, I Go Back Home (which shares its title with a superb “making-of” documentary, presented last year at Austin’s SXSW festival).

Scott, who died in 2014, at age 88, rarely partnered with other artists, which makes this epitaph all the more special. Across multiple recording sessions, Kemper persuaded an array of guests—Dee Dee Bridgewater, Renee Olstead, Monica Mancini, Joey DeFrancesco, James Moody, Oscar Castro-Neves, Kenny Barron, Till Brönner, Grégoire Maret, Arturo Sandoval and actor/singer Joe Pesci, a longtime pal—to participate.

Scott, whose ephemeral, androgynous, snail-paced sound remained little changed across his seven-decade career, is in remarkably fine voice. The playlist is built almost exclusively of his songbook’s cornerstones, and his musical partners are unilaterally respectful, providing gentle accompaniment, keeping the spotlight squarely on Scott. The dozen tracks are stunning testament to his singular artistry. The standout is his revisiting, alongside Moody, of his sole chart hit, “Everybody’s Somebody Fool,” nearly 60 years after it introduced the measured, balladic ache that would so define his rare gift.

Originally Published