Those who remember The Great “Little Jimmy” will welcome this recording with Joy. It not only comes as a great epitaph and the summary of his unusual carrier but also, as a package with documentary paying tribute to his life achievement, it makes a full circle.
Without going into the details, except two tracks which are actually tributes to Jimmy: Folks Who Live On The Hill and I Remember You, all remaining ten are Jimmy’s favourite standards he repeatedly performed all his life. Some of them became pillars of his Legend. Like the opening Motherless Child. This traditional Negro Spiritual has its special meaning, and in Jimmy’s interpretation it strikes your heart just like Abel Meeropol’s Strange Fruit sung by Billie Holiday. There is no other version after that which can be considered serious.
Here with Joey De Francesco’s organ accompaniment it holds on with the same sadness and intimacy but reach arrangement and strings are giving a new makeover to it. The same pattern is well exploited on Easy Leaving , another arrangement with an organ and strings support. Both tunes are also part mono-declaimed part sung what adds to emotional richness.
Brilliant The Nearness of You , possesses all the Noir Romance signature under Jimmy’s treatment, just as intended by the authors, with fully supportive sophistication of the string arrangements. It shows Scott’s ability to change the palette of feelings from intimate delicacy to Broadway like dandy-ism ala Tony Bennett. It Also tributes his own Savoy period with such a stylish quotes weaves into the tissue. Here sung in duet with Joe Pesci.
Love Letters, performed in duo with Oscar Castro Neves, could not be anything else more than the Bossa-ova, exquisite one with both of them singing, where the guitarist’s dark and gentle voice is wonderfully counterpointing Jimmy’s lines with occasional unison of harp.
Another Bossa on this recording is mentioned above I Remember You wonderfully sung by Monica Mancini accompanied with full of taste trumpet ornamentation by Arturo Sandoval.
And surprisingly Berlin’s How Deep is The Ocean comes as a bossa nova cut too. I heard Kenny Barron playing bossa before, but never heard Jimmy singing this particular song. As always he made in the way like no one before.
Someone To Watch Over Me, featuring Renee Olstead took me by surprise. I am not a fun of the actress known mostly from TV series, as I am not a fan of those either, therefore it was a nice discovery to me to see that she is such a talented vocalist. With light, but deep voice with a tad of the surface harshness she fulfilled the mood of the song perfectly. That song could equally fall to the tributes basket as Jimmy is not taking a part of this.
He is however in a wonderfully emotional duet with Dee Dee Bridgewater in For Once In My Life. Opening with Barron’s sensual intro brings Jimmy’s vocal straight to the focus drifting over string arrangements. Lovely sax brake played by Bob Mintzer introduces Dee Dee to the dialogue. This is a jewel in the crown and it really made me cry. Those two voices in unison, which each of them is so feminine, are blending together like cashmere and silk. It’s a touch that can leave no sensitive soul inert.
I wouldn’t like to unveil all the mystic feelings and magic moments this recording possesses so it is time to end it now. But those treasure hunters who follow temptation and will get the recording won’t never regret it, that said, this is outstanding quality with no budget spoiled for making it happen , but with no penny waste either.