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All The Way - Jimmy Scott

RHINO 8122-77655-2

 

 



All the way [4;29]
Embraceable you [5:08]
Angel eyes [4:53]
At last [4:53]
Someone to watch over me [5:30]
Everytime we say goodbye [5:14]
I’ll be around [4:38]
My foolish heart [5:23]
I’m getting sentimental over you [6:06]
Street of dreams [2:53]
Jimmy Scott (vocals)
Kenny Barron (piano)
Ron Carter (bass)
Grady Tate (drums)
John Pisano (guitar)
David ‘Fathead’ Newman (saxophone)

 

All The Way is a 2007 reissue of a recording made in 1992 featuring American jazz vocalist ‘Little’ Jimmy Scott. A Jimmy Scott virgin might be fooled by the soprano-like timbre of Scott’s voice – the result of a genetic condition which stunted Scott’s growth at five feet, and left him with a high, undeveloped voice.

With a vocal style somewhere between Nina Simone and Ray Charles, Scott’s unique high tone colour is akin to that of an alto saxophone. His style was hugely influential on many singers including Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, and doubtless continues to be so to many aspiring singers in this genre.

With an unobtrusive core backing personnel of piano, bass, drums, guitar and saxophone, Scott’s support hits exactly the right chord (pun intended). The smattering of perfectly placed and delicately tickled solos throughout from keyboard (Embraceable You) and sax (At Last) make for deliciously poised interludes allowing the diminutive star to catch his breath. There are also instrumental additions in some tracks including wind, strings and in one instance a harp, used to magical effect at the end of Every Time We Say Goodbye.

However, the overriding element of this recording is the distinctive quality of Scott’s trademark voice. It has a certain haunting elegance (assisted by the mood of the actual songs) and the performance sounds as if it genuinely comes from the heart. Such personal delivery of these songs makes for a truly magical listening experience. It is somehow comforting to know that this octogenarian crooner still maintains a busy performing schedule around the world.

All the songs on this disc are sumptuous slow ballads that amble along in a lazy and unhurried fashion, so if you’re after razzmatazz jazz with a kick on it like a mule, this is not the CD for you. Short of experiencing the real thing, my advice as to how best to enjoy this music is to sit back in your favourite comfy chair in a poorly lit room with a cigar and a good claret.

Max Kenworthy

 

 



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