A new Jimmy Scott recording is cause for celebration, at least among his most ardent fans, like Patti Smith, Lou Reed and Madonna -- although at 75, the eerie-voiced jazz stylist has, admittedly, lost some of his spellbinding control and timing.
Mood Indigo places Scott in small combo settings in which Hank Crawford, Grady Tate, Cyrus Chesnutt, George Mraz and Joe Beck follow sensitively. Scott's soaring croon has deepened over the years, and lately he's taken to barking out notes when short of breath, which runs against the mellow vibe. The addition of cheesy harmonica wheeze doesn't help.
To get a better impression of Scott's vocal prowess, check his dramatic early-50s sessions with the orchestras of Lionel Hampton, Billy Taylor and Lucky Thompson, compiled on Everybody's Somebody's Fool. How Scott pulls profound meaning out of the broad pop hits of the day is pure magic.