Jimmy Scott, Jazz Singer Who Appeared on ‘Twin Peaks,’ Dies at 88

Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer known for his falsetto voice and late-in-life appearance on “Twin Peaks,” died in his sleep Thursday at the age of 88, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

A family friend said that Scott died in his Las Vegas home.

Scott was often referred to as “Little” Jimmy Scott and rose to fame with the late 1940s hit “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” while he was singing with Lionel Hampton’s orchestra. He performed with jazz legends including Charles Mingus, Lester Young and Charlie Parker.

But though he continued recording, he stopped performing in the 1960s after becoming frustrated with the music business, working in Cleveland hotels and other jobs.

His career was revived when he caught the attention of record exec Seymour Stein when the 65-year-old Scott sang at the funeral of Doc Pomus in 1991. He went back on tour and his 1992 comeback album “All the Way” was Grammy nominated.

He released several more recordings, sang on Lou Reed’s “Magic and Loss” album and performed with Michael Stipe. But his most prominent gig came when he appeared in the series finale of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” singing the song “Sycamore Trees.” He was also featured in the follow up film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.”

Scott had been diagnosed with Kallmann’s syndrome, a rare genetic condition that prevented him from reaching puberty. The condition stunted his growth at 4 feet 11 inches until he grew 8 more inches at age 37. The condition also left him with a high, undeveloped voice.

The singer was born on July 17, 1925, in Cleveland.

He  performed at Dwight Eisenhower’s and  Bill Clinton’s presidential inaugurations and was inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State U. on Aug. 17.


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    1. scott landis says:

      He was an amazing performer and a great guy! here is a picture of Jimmy I took in NYC in 1998 at a club….

      • Kitty Daniels says:

        His style of phrasing after the beat was unique. I played piano for him when he performed about 45 years ago in Tampa at a night club at Cass and N. Blvd. with the ” sharps and Flats”. His singing was warm and wonderful!

    2. I had the great pleasure and privilege of knowing Mr. Scott through his performances and his friends in the San Francisco Jazz community. He gave the the most thrilling New Years Eve of my life at a private party in SF after his gig at Yoshi’s . He showed up and jammed with other guests Including the great Etta Jones, and SF legends Denise Perrier and the Lady Memfis. They were accompanied on piano by Tammy Hall for a 4 hour session of standards and hymns that to this day give me goose bumps. I recall Jimmy singing Motherless Child, as my head rested on the door frame , the wood vibrated from the power of his voice and sent physical music through my scull. What a man and what a night. God bless him.

    3. susanne says:

      Truly a national treasure for music lovers. . .he was indeed, a “musician’s musician”. Appropriately enough, I learned about his death from up/coming singing star, Jarrod Spector (Tony Nominated for Best Featured Male in Musical). Jimmy Scott’s death is a huge loss, he was so productive in his Golden Years. Yet, it’s reassuring to know that he is recognized/respected by younger singers who will keep his memory alive.

      May Jimmy Scott’s memory be for a blessing.

    4. flextones says:

      Delicious, gorgeous, freaky, peculiar, warm vocal skills that are very emotional and moving are just a few of the ideas that come to my mind when I hear the singing voice of Little Jimmy Scott. I forgot about this inspiring sound but his death has reminded me that he was a true male diva. Diva is a description that is given to todays mediocre pop singers like anyone can be a diva. The word has been trashed. A diva comes along once or twice in a generation. I remain very puzzled at how low the quality of today’s music has become. People hear music with their eyes now. Garbage is held in high esteem. RIP Jimmy Scott.

    5. Smooth says:

      “When did you leave heaven” was my favorite from Jimmy Scott and his protege Nancy Wilson. RIP Jimmy, and thanks.

    6. Hilda says:

      What a performer!! OMG thankyou for all of the good music Jimmy!!! Heaven got another angel!! RIP

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