Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Jimmy Scott, posted September 17, 2006 at 08:05 PM


I got clever and bought tickets for Christopher and I to go hear Jimmy Scott at the Iridium Jazz Club. Then I got stupid and wrote it on the wrong day in my calendar and we were 24 hours late for the show. Then I got lucky when the club honored my tickets anyway. Disaster averted.

Nobody sings a song slower than Jimmy Scott. That was true when he was a young man, it was true when I first saw him about 13 years ago, and it's truer than ever now that he's an octogenarian. Jimmy wore a shocking white suit--white white white shirt tie shoes everything, except black socks. With a fabulous rhinestone music note brooch. Nice! And while his age is slowing him down when taking and leaving the stage, it isn't weakening his delivery of the music any. The man is truly a song stylist, making each song his own. His high, thin voice stretches itself over the expansive song structures, each slowed down to a crawl, and it just breaks your heart. He sings with the authority and gravity that only the elderly can convey. As Christopher put it last night, age has given him the knowledge of all he doesn't know.

He sang Day by Day, a great Sammy Cahn lyric, which I loved, and later after a mid-set break he came back with Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, which was downright amazing. But all the songs were. Even a slow, moody take on Pennies from Heaven.

After the show ended, Christopher saw the band's saxophonist standing by the stage door and approached him. Half a minute later there we were back in the dressing room having a laugh with Jimmy Scott. Wow. He was gracious and friendly. It was an honor to meet him, and a thrill to hear him sing live again after all these years.

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Christopher and I had put on ties and wore our matching Dior boots. So to end the night Christopher whisked me up to the Carlyle for for nightcap at Bemelmans Bar. For an evening that started out with $80-worth of tickets down the drain, it turned out to be a wonderful and romantic date.

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