Monday, June 27, 2011

Album Review: Jimmy Scott – The Source

Jimmy Scott, also known as Little Jimmy Scott was born with a genetic deformity which prevented his vocal chords from maturing fully. It gives him a highly distinctive, startling sounding voice, which sits somewhere between a male and female voice.

Though none of the eight songs on this album, released in 1969, were written by Scott, it shows off his ability to fully inhabit a song right from the start with the powerful Exodus, enhanced by sweeping strings. A performance that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing up.

He takes well-worn standards like On Broadway and Unchained Melody and turns them inside out. These are songs some feel they need never hear again, yet Jimmy Scott, showing superb grasp of pacing and dynamics, gives them an interesting twist. Later Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, is a great big slab of sadness, with some wonderfully moody piano, flutes and strings.

The accompanying music is mainly orchestral jazz, with a hint of blues here and there, with piano, strings and saxophone. It provides an engaging backdrop, without overpowering the singing. It’s a perfect album for coffee on a sunny morning, with a mood perhaps along the lines of Nina Simone.