Saturday, February 11, 2006

More Son of, Son of....

What drew us together was a mutual appreciation of singer Little Jimmy Scott. I had not met Jimmy at the time, and nearly everyone (Gerald Wilson and Betty Carter included) told me he was dead. But I found him living in Jersey, and played an early part in getting him back in action. Part of my help is documented in David Ritz's bio of Jimmy. It was a first person narrative by me, secretly recorded by Ritz w/o my permission. Of course, no harm done, none intended. But it was a odd feeling reading along w/o any advance "warning" and suddenly seeing a page-long quote by me.

I think that by the time Jimmy came back, he had more or less lost it vocally. When I first saw him perfom "live" it was just at the beginning of the comeback, and there was something (a little bit) left. But nearly all the post-comeback sides are unbearable for me to listen to. A couple of years ago I saw him perform in Tokyo, it was mid-week, a 6:00 pm (!) show at a very large club and the place was packed. "Live," his charisma tended to compensate for his diminished vocal powers. Afterwards, I went backstage and I'm not even certain that Jimmy recalled me, BUT his bassist and road manager, Hill Green (very sweet man), remembered me w/o any prompting from easily ten years earlier, tapping me on the shoulder, etc. Now THAT'S what I call total recall.

I don't know whether you are aware of just how big Jimmy is (or, perhaps, was) in other parts of the world: TV commercials, fashion spreads in L'uomo Vogue (Homo Vogue?), and one year when I was in Tokyo, his face was just everywhere on signage (along with others of Astor Piazolla. . .now just how hip is that?!). I think that's when I finally decided for once and all that Tokyo was the city for me. I was surprised to read recently how poor Jimmy still is. I suppose everyone has to get their, um, cut. Plus ca change. . ..

I was working very hard for Jimmy when I first found him, then he just---you should pardon the expression---slipped out of my grip. The real hero in Jimmy's renaissance was a (then) NY writer by the name of Jimmy McDonough. He just worked and slaved for Scott and the latter finally left him high and dry. Jimmy Scott just does whatever people tell him to do, so he probably has no sense of the emotional damage that he most likely inflicted on McDonough. I have not spoken with the latter for a number of years though, so I don't know the whole story. I DO know that Jimmy had a horrible person by name of---let's call her---Madame LaFarge managing him. If you ever have a meeting with her (please don't), come armed with garlic and a mirror. Eventually, Jimmy fired her. Followed by three fast choruses of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead! TTFN. Best, Bill