The life of Jimmy Scott is not one of meteoric stardom but a journey that has taken nearly seventy years to find its much deserved success.
One of ten children, James Victor Scott was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 17, 1925.
The f irst time Jimmy sang on a public stage was at school when the teacher had him sing the lead in a play Ferdinand the Bull, after that she always had him do the leads. He was only 12 years old when he became known as a singer around Cleveland. While in his teens a Comedian saw the potential in Jimmy, he was Tim McCoy from Akron. Whenever Tim got a gig around Northeast Ohio, he would take Jimmy along with him on the bill. Jimmy would sing at different clubs, they would sneak him out before the cops arrived, because he was not only under age, but looked even younger than his actual years. Later Jimmy produced the Summer Festivals, a group of talented youngsters, like his friend jazz baritone singer Jimmy Reed and dancer Barbara Taylor, that would put on shows all around the area.
They also worked and put on shows at the Metropolitan Theater where the big bands would come in to play, Jimmy set up a concession to supply the Artists with soap, clean towels, and toiletries. He was hired by the dance troupe, The Two Flashes, Jimmy took the job to be close to show business, its players, and the stage. While in Meadville, PA. they were working with some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day, Lester Young, Slam Stewart, Ben Webster, Papa Jo Jones, Sir Charles, etc…The music was jumpin' and so was Jimmy, he asked the dancers to see if the band would let him do a couple of numbers, they said ok. Jimmy sang The Talk of the Town and Don't Take Your Love Away, the audience went crazy showing their love for Jimmy and the thunderous applause was deafening. Every time the band ran into Jimmy, they'd ask him to come up on stage a do a couple numbers. Some of the early big bands Jimmy enjoyed were Count Basie's Band, Erskine Hawkins, and Father Earl Hines, but Lester Young was his favorite tenor sax player. He joined Lionel Hampton's Band in 1948, where he discovered the vibraphone and the strings, Jimmy said it helped him to learn the beauty of the song and encouraged him to sing. Lionel was a mentor to Jimmy and the one who tagged him with the stage name, Little Jimmy Scott, at the time he was 23, only 4'11, thin, and very young looking. Jimmy said it was a gimmick for Lionel's show, but it wasn't too many years later that you started hearing more singers take their cue from Jimmy's stage name and call themselves Little So & So.