Forty-Year Itch

After decades in limbo, a jazz classic from Jimmy Scott finally sees the light of day

Perhaps this is a matter of lions in winter helping each other out. Charles is 72, Scott 77. Each was at his peak when they collaborated on Falling.

"It's not really a jazz record," Bentley says. "It's like a great Sinatra record. It does something to you, like Only the Lonely. That was a lonely record. This is a record about love and romance, and not necessarily lost love. It's the sound of love. That's what it is."

Scott, meanwhile, doesn't have any record deals, even though three lovely, sparse albums he recently recorded for Milestone were well received. With or without a record deal, his sound will remain distinctive: Because of a rare genetic defect, Scott never fully developed, giving his voice a uniquely androgynous quality. He's often been mistaken for a woman, in looks and in voice. It's his gift and his curse.

Jimmy Scott: "No sense kicking, babe."
Jimmy Scott: "No sense kicking, babe."

"No sense kicking, babe," says Scott, who makes hurt sound particularly beautiful on Falling in Love Is Wonderful.

"Complaining ain't going to help, because you're going to get a misery here, a misery there, you just pass on to it, babe. Uh-hmmm. You goin' to get 'em, but you get rid of 'em, too."

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