LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Jazz singer Jimmy Scott - famed for his unusually high soprano voice caused by a rare genetic condition - has died, US media reported Friday. He was 88.
Scott died in his sleep on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas, the reports said, without revealing the cause of death.
James Victor Scott was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 17, 1925. He was one of 10 children. Scott began his career in the 1940s, recording with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Charlie Parker and others.
He also crossed over into rhythm and blues, reaching the top of the charts with Everybody's Somebody’s Fool – though it was bandleader Lionel Hampton, and not Scott, who was credited on the record label.
His distinctive, high voice was traced to Kallmann’s Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that meant he never reached puberty, stunting his growth and leaving his voice undeepened by age.
Scott began recording under his own name in the 1950s. Although he never became a household name, his work influenced later musicians, including Madonna, who once said “Jimmy Scott is the only singer who makes me cry,” according to The Washington Post.
A legal dispute led to his 1963 album Falling In Love Is Wonderful being pulled from the shelves. Scott largely withdrew from the music business, only to re-emerge in the 1990s with new recordings and performances until recently.
His 1992 album All The Way was nominated for the Grammy Awards.
Scott also appeared on screen and on the soundtrack in the series finale of cult hit television series Twin Peaks, by director David Lynch in the early 1990s.