Matthew Buzzell, Jimmy Scott - If You Only Knew
My man Jimmy, what a heartbreaker. One area where the world wide web is deficient is in footage of our man in action, so I got this as soon as Amazonianly
possible. I knew most of the personal history already; I knew of Jimmy's need for family and emotional mainline to his lost mother; and I knew of his impeccably behind-the-beat phrasing and complete possession-immersion in the song with that sublime androgynous and clear voice; but I wasn’t prepared for the magnetism and intense focus of his performing style, to see him in action. So personal and yet so performative, so much singing from the deepest, private heart, with everyone hanging on his every note. Such rare genius, so rare and total soul, such faultless execution. Jimmy’s heartbreakingly simple lesson: it all comes from the soul. The broken, suffering, but moving-on soul. And a part of his beauty as a person comes, partly, from an intelligence born of that suffering. An articulate, moving, generous man.
Heaps of concert footage on the road in Japan, heaps of interviews with family and friends, heaps of music and archival photos and anecdotes; even an 'artistically' bespectacled art-fart biographer to pad out the historical detail. Simple, respectful documentary homage. An important chapter in the historical trajectory of vocal jazz.