‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

jimmyScottJazz singer Jimmy Scott passed away last week at the age 88. Scott, who had a rare genetic condition that gave him his distinctive voice, was popular in ’50s but didn’t make any records between 1975 and 1992. Here he speaks with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air in 1992 about his comeback. From the interview:

GROSS: When you started singing, were there a lot of listeners who assumed you were a woman?

SCOTT: Yes. Yes. I had people play the records, after doing them with Lionel Hampton. And they’d have contests on the programs to have the public tell them who it was. And many people called women’s names. Finally, it was announced that it was not a woman, but it was myself whom was singing with Lionel Hampton at the time. I’ve even had people in the public question, is he really a guy, or is he – is that a woman standing there, you know? (Laughing) So those things have happened, you know. But being in the business, you learn that opinions are not supposed to affect the work you do in public, you know?

Click here to read and listen to ‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott

—Peter Blasevick