JIMMY SCOTT: If You Only Knew

Jazz & Commerce


This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.

Sam Hilton
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

I saw Little Jimmy Scott last night at the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts. Jimmie and the band "Jazz Expressions" were awesome. After the last number, Little Jimmie Scott while leaving the stage, fell down to the stage floor and had to be helped up by fellow musicians. Jimmie is jazz.
Pia Pepponi
Chicago, Il

Reading his early muscial bio is heartbreaking but hearing his music is truly breathtaking. He is definitely due all the recognition that was denied him then. Those recordings need to be reissued with his name on them. And using the machismo culture of the jazz world as a justification is absolutely no excuse. He is one of jazz's legendary greats. All of the men who did Jimmy wrong they have long since died and Jimmy is still here. He may have lost the battles but he is winning the war. God is good.
David Boyd
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I can relate to Jimmy Scott in a lot of way's it's good seeing thing's like that on a channel here in Minneapolis's it's like the song that Jimmy sings bring's back way's of my child hood an the way's Ive grown up very interesting i going to find some more music about Jimmy Scott
Las Vegas, NV

Jimmy Scott is my uncle, my dad was the oldest.

I guess he was on hiatus when we were young - of course when you're little you can't picture someone you know that well as being sort of a "star"! Once I lived with his family for a bit and went through his record collection and he had Billie Holiday and Ella ORIGINAL �signed� vinyls! It was a trip!

I was always fascinated by his "lingo" it was always "ya dig" or "solid baby" - you always thought this guy has an inside track on "cool"!

I have had the privilege of hearing him and inviting my friends out to see him - I CANNOT get through it without crying! Of course I listen and think about my pop, their brother Uncle KEN... Uncle ROGER and reminisce about the deep soul & pain that this music comes from! I look at films from that era and think about all the STRIFE people went through to stay viable or just be "a person" - it was tough! Or I'll see the "accepted" ones from that era and cringe from the injustice! There could not have been a SMOOTHER guy than Nat King Cole -constantly trying to keep his cool, yet, "keep his head down... as it were" - and yet he suffered a great amount of denial!

I rarely see him... but it never stops the love I have for Uncle JIM, he is the BEST... "dig that"!
kersidra thompson
baltimore, md

i was up very late on a friday night watching pbc tv. I was amazed at the talent when i heard this mans voice (Jimmy Scott. His voice is beautiful. How could such talent be so hidden it seems. You can't get that quality today. It comes very rare. Thank God he is shining now. Thank God. I just feel the Music industry today is a very exploited business for anyone trying to make it as an artist. Timing really is everything. I have always believed you can't hide a humans light that God has given them. You will rise no matter how the evils of this world try to cover you. I will be purchasing some of his cds in the near future. I must have them in my collection after hearing him.
Julie Mansfield
Miami, Florida

I have the honor of presenting Jimmy Scott at a free event in Miami, Florida over the Labor Day weekend. We so often hear the term "once-in-a-lifetime"; this is truly my "ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME!!" It is such a pleasure and honor to share his incredible talent with as many people as possible. I can't remember looking forward with such anticipation!
Kelli Haynes
Columbia, SC

I saw this engaging, lyrical, tragic, yet ultimately triumphant film at the first Tribeca Film Festival. I was so inspired to see Mr. Scott that I took the train from DC to LA to watch him (through my tear-filled eyes) sing four songs in a Hollywood Bowl concert. By coincidence, Mr. Scott's bithday was that same day. Therefore, one of the great honors of my life was singing "Happy Birthday" to him at the top of my lungs along with the crowd. Genius lives among us in the form of Mr. Jimmy Scott.
Florence Brammer
Minneapolis, MN

Can anyone tell me on what Johnny Smith recording "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" is included?
Stan J. Bozek
Boston, Massachusetts

I met Jimmy at a club performance he did in Boston back in the 90's. He was sitting on a bench outside the club and I didn't recognize him. A friend of mine had a camera and urged me to go up to him and ask if he would have his photo taken with me. We chatted a bit and I told him that we shared the same birthday although he had 22 years on me. He said "nah go on." The photo was given to me as a birthday present as was the trip to Scullers to hear Jimmy. It is something I cherish. When I bought Over The Rainbow and heard the title song I cried. If Judy Garland were still alive and heard him sing her song, I'm sure she would shout bravo!
Pearl Thornton
San Diego, CA

About a year ago my photographer said he wanted to give me a CD that he knew I would love. It was" Lost and Found" by Jimmy Scott. I had no idea who he was. Many years ago I heard "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "I wish I knew." I thought It was a woman. I never followed through to find out who it was. I loved the voice.�Jimmy Scott has the most captivating, lingering, soothing, satisfying,�wonderful voice I have ever heard. I bought all of his CD's that I could find. I think I have seven (7). My favorite is The Source. When I go to bed every night. I put my ear phones on and The Source puts me right to sleep. I am 72 years old and cannot understand why I missed out on this wonderful voice. Most of the people I talk to haven't heard of him.� What a�loss of so many years. I would love to e-mail him and tell him how much I enjoy his music.

Thank you for all the great information on Jimmy Scott.

Jeffrey Norman

I am 35 yrs old, I first heard Jimmy Scott music on an episode of The Cosby Show and I was intrigued. However, after seeing the documentary on PBS I went and purchased everything I could get my hand on by the artist. The interpretation of "Embracable You" is beyond compare. I express to all my friends that they have not heard music until they have heard Jimmy Scott.

Beverly Williams
Joliet, IL

I came upon this wonderful documentary about a month ago, and was transfixed....suddenly there was this voice that was angelic, fragile, weary, uplifting and strong--all at the same time. The next day I ran to a music store and searched the jazz section until I found two of his CD's.

I missed the start of the program, and hope that it will be rebroadcast in the near future so that I can watch it in its entirety, and alert all my friends. No one that I've mentioned Jimmy Scott to is familiar with him. I am over 50, and thought I was well-versed with most jazz singers. How did this wonderful man escape my notice? I'm so thankful to be fortunate to listen to him now.

Ron Barrett
Naperville, IL

I just finished watching the documentary on this extraordinary singer's life. As a fellow vocalist I was enthralled by his style, his delivery and his phrasing. It's sad that his music was not appreciated, respected or recognized until in his 'golden years', but I'm grateful to God in the heavens above for the legacy that others may now experience and enjoy. Jimmy Scott, one of the great wonderful musical artist of all time.

I was channel surfing late one night when I stumbled upon this amazing performance.. Jimmy has gained a new fan ,He is truly one of the most heartfelt performers I have seen..
Thanks to PBS for putting up such a great documentary!!
Christopher Walker
Fort Worth, Texas

Jimmy Scott is truly an American Treasure who should never be forgotten, he should be heralded for all he has given to the music world. He is a true Jazz Pioneer, and his voice is relaxing and just mesmerizing to listen to. I just watched the story on PBS early this morning around 3:30, and could not turn from it, it was delightful, I had previously seen excerpts of him on different shows, but nothing ever this detailed and it was worth every bit of staying awake. Much love to whomever brought this documentary to light. Much love to Jimmy Scott.
Michael Taylor
Lewisville TX

Brilliant!!! Loved this story. I loved the movie Ray, but loved even more hearing about this 'not so well known' singer (Jimmy Scott). I had to write to you to tell you how much I appreciated this documentary on his life. It touched my heart, and reminded me of my late grandfather that loved Jazz music. I am sure if he were still living he would have enjoyed seeing this great story. Now if only it was made into a Movie... Now that would be something. I have watched PBS for as long as I can remember, because of my father. I appreciate everything PBS has to offer, and I will be personally writing to my congressman in Texas to make sure they are doing everything possible to keep PBS alive. PBS is and has always been a part of my life for my 30 years of life, and I plan on doing whatever it takes to continue the excellence and quality of your programming. When I have children, they too will grow up to this quality of entertainment. PBS is not only for our lives, it is a way of life, with its stories for children to histories long lost, or newly found. I for one am glad that PBS has existed for so long, and hope that you will always strive to prove to us everyday, as you have always have, your grand symphony of enlightened entertainment, throughout your historical and beautiful radiance.

Thank you,
Michael G. Taylor

"The reality behind truth cannot be bought, it should be free and honestly given...."

Ann Peterson
Traverse City, Mi

this man is an AMERICAN TREASURE/ICON. SOMEONE MUST GET HIM ON THE OPRAH SHOW...SHE WILL FALL TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM, AS WE ALL HAVE. What a fabulous and deeply deeply moving singer/man..all of the above.d Please everyone, contact Oprah. He is getting older...we must give him his right in musical history.

Christine Brampton

It was an injustice to market black artists only to a black audience. Of that, there is no doubt. It was an injustice to the artists whose craft was not given a chance to be witnessed by all. But it was the executives who ultimately shot themselves in the foot and deprived the rest of society the opportunity to witness vocal artistry at its finest.

I stumbled upon Jimmy Scott's voice listening to his collaboration with Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Thank goodness for happy accidents!

Gabriela Fiscu
Portland, OR
Lyrics must speak of LIFE. As Jimmy Scott will say, the lyrics and the song itself, speak of his own experiences, his own life, suffering, joy, and in turn, of our own life and experiences.

A very special person, Andre J., introduced me to the music of Jimmy Scott, and was fortunate to also view the DVD: "If You Only Knew".

My response? Jimmy Scott is an enduring soul; he resisted the exploitation and negativity that comes along with the music industry. Jimmy exudes such hope in life and in the uncertainty of it; it's inspiring.

Sure it's possible to make music for 'music's sake' - it should be that way. However, it's not allways a guarantee that one can earn a living doing it. A true mucisian will stay true to his song, and his art, regardless.

Linda Gillespie
Silver Spring, MD
We were ROBBED for so many years of this wonderful talent, Jimmy Scott, with a voice of an angel. It is so sad that once again a great talented black man was held back, and for nothing more than just plain meaness. This injustice must never happen again!

August Nimtz
Minneapolis, MN
The narrator mentioned three singers said to be influenced by Scott; Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Marvin Gaye. I suspect there are others such as Abby Lincoln, Etta James, Little Willie John and Frankie Lymon. I'd be curious to hear what others might think.

kae benda
burnsville mn
Dear Mr. Scott--

I just finished watching your story on pbs. It was simply fascinating to learn about your life. Your music is quite wonderful. I am sorry that you are yet another Afro entertainer who was exploited back then. I hope to purchase your cd's this week. I also want to buy the video. Iam glad you audiences get to enjoy you once again. I think the record companies owe you and many others restitution. Thanks for your talent.

PS-- I am a 50+, happily married mother of 2, but if I had been back in your day, I would have loved to gotten to know you personally!

Nicholas Smith
Inglewood, CA
Dr. Jimmy Scott

This is the title that should be conferred upon this little known music legend. I hope the world now knows that is has yet another rare gem in America: a hidden treasure named Jimmy Scott.

Not only has he influenced men and women alike with his absolutely stunning voice, but he has raised the bar among the most talented vocalists, and ranks with the likes of Frank Sinata, Lou Rawls, and the comtemporaries.

God Bless "Dr." Jimmy Scott.

Fumio Saku Takeuchi
Tokyo, Japan
"Jimmy Scott : If You Only Knew " wins the 2004 Independent Lens Audience Award. Congratulations !!! to Jimmy, Matthew and Brian.

Geneva P. Davis
It's absolutely amazing....his voice is so special. I was channel surfing in early June of 2004 and came across this story about Jimmy Scott on PBS. I could not believe the voice...the emotions...the depth...it is so much to that voice. I praise God that he is able to share his own story and may he continue to bless audiences with his life and song.

"Groovy" Grant S. Hopkins/KKFI-90.1 FM
Kansas City MO.
Even From The Recording EveryBodys "Somebodys Fool" Recorded With Lionel Hampton In 1949, Jimmie Scott Shows That He Has A Life Of Patience. Here In K.C. He Once Worked For Moses Covington On 18th & Vine At Parkers Show Bar, Went To 12th & Vine To The Orchid Room. A True Classic Of The Afro-american Culture.I Play Jimmie Scott On My Program.

Eric Beatty
Jacksonville, Florida
I just saw the the program lastnight and was blown away with his voice, style, and character of a man. I now own one of his albums (from itunes) and now I can't ask for a better way to start my weekend by listening to his music.

Thank you,

Sebastopol, Ca.
What a voice? What a style. The lyrics make the music mean something. The words tweak old memories and the memories take me back to some great times.

I first heard Jimmy Scott on PBS. What a shame to have not had him all these years. I listened and was entranced. I must own his music. I hope its in the music stores.

That agent who had Jimmy Scott under contract, ruined his life. Statute of limitations or no statue of limitations, he was robbed and should be made whole again. Black artist groups should make music for music sake as long as they are fairly paid for their efforts.

Jamika H
San Angelo Texas
Jimmy Scott seemed as if he were hidden. You see I am 18 years old,and when I saw this documentary it really blew me away.Jimmy's voice is amaizing.I was flipping through the channels when I heard this little man singing he blew me away.His stroy was up lifting Jimmy you are the best.

Iris Gross
Edmond, OK
I never knew about this man; never heard of him. I can't believe the people he's obviously influenced don't mention him, nor do they lift a finger to help him. What incredible talent. Maybe something good will come of the showing of this documentary before it's too late, like it was for the Funk Brothers.

Ms. C. Armand Westervelt
Clearwater, FL
Today, in the wee hours of the morning, I happened upon WEDU's IndependentLens story about Mr. Jimmy Scott. I tuned in, just at the time, when Mr. Scott was singing one of his acclaimed songs. I hadn't heard his voice since my childhood. You see, my mom had his records and she would sing and dance to them a lot. I'm now 54 and she has since passed on. It was wonderful being able to rekindle some of the precious memories that I shared with her. Needless to say, I watched the show in its entirety. By the time it had ended, I found myself moved to tears especially since I share the same feelings that Mr. Scott does in relation to 'family'.

Through the years, Mr. Scott's music touched my mother?s and my life in a very special way. Yet, it's only due to your broadcast that countless others are just now being able to experience Mr. Scott?s unique singing style. Thank you for airing this show.

It's sad, that over the years, Mr. Scott didn't receive any great financial gains from his artistry. However it's wonderful that his talent has finally been recognized and appreciated, and that he is receiving this tribute while he?s still alive.

Cynthia Nevels
I was surfing channels on a Friday [04/02/04] night with my 2 young sons. I saw Don Cheadle and knew this program had to be of high quality(as with most of PBS' works). As I listened and Jimmy started to sing, tears came to my eyes and chill bumps on my arms. My 2 young sons (under the age of 10) were overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for the talent and music and stayed up to watch the entire program. Wow, is all I can say. I had never heard of Mr. Jimmy before this program and I'll never forget him or the story his voice told. True talent and artistry is a gift and much needed today. I thank you for sharing.

I've found a new friend...one I will truly cherish! I am not a student of music or scholar of any kind. I am however, a lover of music, especially jazz. My taste relies soley on how I feel when I first hear the work of the artist.

The first time I heard Jimmy Scott I experienced the telltale signs. Signs that have become a pattern for me when discovering my more favored artist's. I felt uncomfortable. It touched feelings in me that I wasn't sure I wanted to feel. It made me cry. It made me smile. It made me feel good inside. It made me want to fall in love. It made me want more...of everything.

Thank you to the filmmakers for bringing this wonderful artist to my attention. The magnitude of the effect your work is difficult to put into words, but it has changed my life.

Most importantly to Jimmy Scott(if you by some crazy chance read this), thank you. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing your life. Your humaness has effected me far beyond your music. You are now a cherished friend and your music now occupies a most treasured place in my home. On top of my stereo right next the Charlie.

Bonita Edmondson
Dallas, Texas
I cannot fully express the feelings that watching the Jimmy Scott documentary brought upon me. I didn't know that I knew him until I heard him singing the songs I had listened to my mother sing so many years ago. I remember hearing records played by her and listening to a voice that as a child I thought was a woman singing-- it was Jimmy Scott. The documentary brought back forgotten and fond memories of my departed mother. When he sang "Sometimes I feel like a mother-less child", I smiled and wept. Thanks for the memories. It is the all-too-few Jimmy Scott's in the world that remind us to "never give up". Thank you Mr. Scott!!

Alexandria VA
Actually, I was channel surfing and pause at the Jimmy Scott program, being drawn in I became mezmerized by this unique soul, his ability to translate deep emotional feelings into song. In Jimmy Scott God created a legend. A lump of clay on the Potter's wheel, but oh what a vessel he became, tortured anguished and fired in the kiln of life. No one can achieve such pathos, phrasing, depth, timber and character unless personally crafted by the Eternal Potter. Manmade accolades hardly do him justice. To God be the Glory!

Detroit, MI
Hello. I'm totally speechless!! While flipping channels, PBS(56) in Detroit at 2:00 a.m. Mr. Jimmy Scott was performing. I'm in my early 40s. He blew me away!! I purchased his autobiography, today. Mr. Jimmy Scott, please have a concert in the United States. I appreciate you! Thanks.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Thank you, thank you, for the moving tribute to an artist forgotten (or unknown) by so many. Jazz has been my passion for a lifetime (though my mother was a classical pianist!). Where others memorized poems, I committed lyrics to heart.

Enter Jimmy Scott. When did I first hear him? I don't recall, except that it was long, long ago. His way with words stunned me; his phrasing told far more than words ever could. And then, he disappeared..............


The documentary brought him back, to those of us who missed his presence and others who never knew he was there.

The story of his life's journey, with its tragedies and, yes, triumphs, is a moving tribute. It honors what he accomplished, but perhaps more importantly, honors who he is (and was).

Again, my deepest thanks to everyone who made the documentary possible, everyone.

chicago, IL
I was flipping the channels one night and I came across the documentary of Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew; it was amazing. I have to admit, I had never heard of Jimmy Scott until that evening. I was moved my his struggles in life and the music industry. It's amazing how he still has a loving and giving spirit despite the difficulties he has faced. I have learned from watching the documentary and have also been educated by Kellman's disease and its' effects. I simply enjoyed the program and I hope one day if I am lucky to get a chance to hear him sing live. God Bless Jimmy Scott and his contributions.

Atlanta, Georgia
I've found my inspiration. I heard of Mr. Jimmy Scott last year while listening to WCLK 91.9. I really didn't catch all of the interview, but I was very interested in knowing more about this person.

Then February of this year 2004, there he was on PBS one night. I was up by myself and watched the entire program. It inspired me so much because it taught me no matter what you go through your dreams can still come true. I am a soon to be forty year old mother of two and wife. I sing, but I thought my life as a singer was over until I heard of Jimmy Scott. I know that it is not to late for me to fulfill my dreams. I am going out and purchasing everything I can on Jimmy Scott. I know I can learn a lot. Thank you for singing and recording again. I really appreciate you and listening to you brings tears to my eyes because your voice and your style of singing is so beautiful. Again, Thank you.

Jocelyn Rochelle Harris
Formerly from Detroit; currently from Hollywood, CA
This story touched my heart. Jimmy is a soldier and is a another story of faith. God fullfilled his purpose in jimmy after he was treated so badly. I knew of his song "DAY BY DAY" as that was one of my favorites from instantly when I heard it....I would have never known it was a man until I seen the so well written show on KCET last Sunday night.

I hope Jimmy lives a long, long time so I can hear him perform live in Los Angeles.....I'm going to request him at Catalina Jazz Bar and Grill.....

I want to see and hear Jimmy now.....I will purchase all his records.....and I will make every sacrafice to see and hear him sing whenever he comes to Los Angeles.

Thank you, KCET for being so non biased in bringing such heartfelt stories like this one to the public....I feel the passion as I am a struggling artist myself.

It is amazing and inspiring to read that we have all been so moved by this film, this man, this voice. Even through all his hardship, he has connected us on these planes of music and humanity. The film is a gift, and Jimmy Scott is pure magic. May he sing forever! Thank you.

Milwaukee, WI
What an lovely and inspiring human being... words can't really describe the beauty of Mr. Scott's wisdom and music. Thank you Matthew Buzzell, Brian Gerber and Independent Lens for turning me on to this national treasure. Where can I get a copy of the video to share with my family and friends?

Jerry Alexander
Howard, Ohio
* Everyone pays attention to the lyrics of a song... it's a given. Try exchanging one genre lyric for another; rap for folk; country for heavy metal; children's songs for R&B! This would turn heads immediately. The listener may not have a technical explanation, but it's a 'no sale', bank on it!

Logically, it's undisputable. A great lyricist is revered for generations. Many bad ones are parking cars and waiting tables. There are entire industries that separate the wannabe lyricist from the real McCoy. They are called agents and lawyers.

Analogy: A housewife can drive a car; a mechanic can fix them. But it's only each generation, or two, that someone comes along that renders the internal combustion engine a mute point. Jimmy Scott's greatness takes a well-written lyric, embraces it, embellishes it, many times down to the syllable. And like a mother's love, gives the listener an experience that at the least causes a prolonged head-shaking episode, and at most requires recovery! Simply put, he is an artist among artists.

* I discovered Jimmy Scott about five or six years ago. My brother, Carl, has taken jazz very seriously for 30 years or so. Carl ran across two Jimmy Scott albums in an old record shop. The album covers were his only source of information. Carl could tell me Jimmy's name; that he was positively thrilled with Jimmy's music; and to validate of Jimmy Scott's gender for me. Carl basically knew enough to know that he didn't know enough. This is a story in itself. Carl studies words. He compiles note books of words he encounters, a knowledge base that is an extension of his personality. However, not knowing of Jimmy Scott, how excellent a performer Jimmy Scott is, and why he hadn't known about Jimmy Scott before he did, was a conundrum- in his vernacular. A situation that I want to end by obtaining a copy of the video, "Jimmy Scott: If you only knew."

* Music and money? The greatness of Jimmy Scott is our best teacher, as well as answer to this question! I believe "If you only knew" is a compelling and poignant lesson in life. Knowledge is power. Knowledge of history is the crucial stepping stone to the future. Black history should be told in grade levels, i.e., Africa to Jimmy Scott and others in his class.

Of the people, for the people and by the people . . . a phrase that is SUPPOSED to describe how our form of government works. I believe it IS an accurate description of how music works today and always, past and present. William Congreve said "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak". Music has been described as the fourth constant: Earth, Fire, Water & Music.

What I mean to say is, it is not a question of music or money. Money that controls people is limited to a few. Music is the riches of each and every one of us. What I mean to say is, Jimmy Scott life's story is the ultimate educational story. He had talent, but that by itself was not enough. Jimmy Scott had to be prepared and disciplined [for decades], Jimmy Scott had to be committed and dedicated [for decades], Jimmy Scott had to manifest perseverance and tenacity [for decades]!

It is not a matter of condemning the long list of injustices Jimmy Scott out-dueled. The importance and the lessons we harvest from this great man are that in the end, the money did not matter! It was the music! Some talent is born, some is accomplished, but all talent has to have its' preparation, its' commitment and perseverance. Jimmy Scott's travail should have a grade level in Black history. Its lessons are invaluable, as well as a fitting tribute, that is most deserved by its teacher.

phenomonally gifted musician, i would never have learned about him had it not been for the wonderful program on pbs., his courage and strength that shines through him amidst all of the painful experiences, is breathtaking and humbles my slight heartbreaks. I would love to invite him to our muslim community to show us what real fortitude and talent is. sincerely, dr. aisha love

The Jimmy Scott Film: (If They Only Knew).

Was quite inspiring. From the soul type of film. Made me nervious towards the end ,reason being is because I thought the film was going to end like so many of the jazz/blues documented films. Him dieing poor,sick, black and unrewarded while still alive in his life time. Great film/Great Ending.

Question? Is it going to air again anytime soon? Because I noticed that the video/Dvd is unavailable for purchasing.

Keep up the superb work....Spencer





Daphne Jones-Lackey
Garfield Hts, OH
I just happened to turn to PBS when your program about Jimmie was on. I could not turn away. I would love to meet him and just give him a hug. He's such an outstanding person with the voice to match. I was just mezmerized by this man. I would love to see him in concert. I was born and raised in Cleveland and although I am much younger than Jimmie, I feel robbed because I never heard of Jimmie Scott. I'm not a jazz sort of person, but Jimmie's voice was something else. God bless you, Jimmie.

Brad Loveland
WOW! What an awesome and inspiring life. I had heard Jimmy sing before in a previous PBS program several years ago, though I didn't get his name at the time, his music moved me deeply. I have Jimmy to thank for turning my soul to Jazz. Thanks Jimmy. God Bless!

Danville, PA
I still remember the first time I ever heard Jimmy Scott. It was on the sessions at west 54th street series on pbs with David Byrnes and Jimmy Scott. I had my back turned to the tv for the first couple of minutes and was totally amazed when I turned around and saw this wee little man belting out this wonderful music!! I was totally mesmerized by his singing and ran out and bought his "holding back the years" cd. I had no idea who he was at the time. Later on I did some reading about him on the internet and was amazed at what I read. Over the years I've added a few more of his cd's to my collection :) I watched "if you only knew" with my son this week and it completed the story about Jimmy in my mind. My 13 year old son was amazed to hear his story ( though he still doesn't like it when I have jimmy on the stereo...he he he ). What an amazing story. I'm so glad PBS showed this documentary so even more people can "discover" Jimmy Scott like I have.

Chrissey Fox
Corvallis, OR
I never heard of Jimmy Scott until now,and in one huge way.I wasn't even planning on it, but there he was,the voice,captivating,and pretty darn positive regardless of all the pitfalls.I hope he and his new bride are doing Paris,etc.like nobody's biz.I look forward to buying the video and watching where he is touring-he deserves it all.When I hear him sing,I think of many artists who copyhis nuances,from Tony Bennett toNancy Wilson.In any walk of life the greedy exist. But now the world is his oyster!!

Mary Glennon
Brooklyn, N.Y.
I loved the film! I'd love to buy it, will it be for sale? I was lucky enough to be at the concert in Tokyo with the full orchestra where Jimmy sang "Motherless Child" and at the cocert in Kobe.

Manning G.Wiley
Dear Brother Jimmy Scott,

You are a MASTER!! Looking at that program about your life,was very hard to take... i felt like and still do feel like i have been robbed;in some way... Everyone took from you,so many... i looking in to buying all your music,all that i can find...However i'm happy for you that things kind of work out in the end....

Manning G. Wiley


South Orange, NJ
Jimmy Scott is truly amazing! The night of Feb 24, 2004 will never fade for me. For it was the night I fell in love with the voice of Jimmy! Never before had I heard of him. He is Truly one of the greatest singers of all time! I hope I get a chance to see him in concert. Jimmy I love you!

Thank you Jimmy and thank you PBS!

Nell Barnett
Oakland, California
I would love to purchase a video of last evenings documentary on Jimmy Scott. My husband was asleep, and I can not do it justice in telling the story. It was so hard to watch and hear how he was taken advantage of and it seemed he had no way of getting away from that first publisher. What a tragic story. I had not heard of Jimmy Scott until my son's wedding, his wife is from Cleveland and her father knew Mr. Scott personally, so Mr. Scott sung at my son's wedding. I was so impressed, but had not heard of him, I just assumed it was because I wasn't aware of all the good ole jazz artist, until I saw the reason why last evening. What can we do to give him his dues NOW. He has a beautiful voice. Please inform me when I can get the video.

San Francisco
it was his chilled out be here now wisdom that first turned be from my cooking and then after i looked and saw his eyes, and he was here man...i sat down for about the next 73 minutes finishing the movie-slash-story, and found endless parallels to one that is going to deal and then go beyond and throw down with style....amongst my own existential angst, i was shaken out by jimmy and his elements.....

when will the movie be available for sale?

I heard Jimmy Scott for the first time wed.night.on scetv last night(2/24/04).

I dont think I've ever been as captivated so instantly by anyones music as Jimmys.I could feel a gentle arm on my shoulder as he guided me into his world and his caress of the music he so tenderly interpreted.The old songs mesmerised like never before.Easily the very best in my book.Just exquisite!

Jennifer Rankins
Cleveland, OH
Last night when I watched this documentary about Jimmy Scott, it brought tears to my eyes. I could not believe what had happened to this man, and with such extrodinary talent. How could it be? But, Jimmy scott hit it right on the head when he said, "If you only knew" I'm a baby boomer and didn't know Jimmy, but it is wonderful to know that he comes from my hometown - Cleveland. What a voice! Grace & Peace to you, Jimmy. Cleveland loves you.

Rich Dorsey
Hyde Park, Massacusetts
Like so many others,I was totally blown away while watching the story of this great jazz legend. I don't know alot about jazz but Jimmy Scott has made a lasting impression on me to the point I've been talking about him all day. I plan to buy as much of his music as I can find.God bless you Jimmy Scott you are one sharp brother!!!

San Francisco, CA
I was flipping through the channels last night, and stopped for a moment on the kindest old face, as I continued watching I realized this beautiful face belonged to Jimmy Scott. I was absolutely rivited,by his story and his voice. I found myself at times laughing and others crying, his spirit was almost too beautiful for me to take in, yet I could not stop watching, feeling mesmerized by his soul and his song. Today I will buy all his albums.

avonelle h pole
paradise view, antigua (west indies)
I heard "There's No Disappointment in Heaven" on WBGO-FM on my car radio one afternoon and was so struck by the unique emotional, lyrical style, and the depth of the feelings (both pain and joy) conveyed in the song, that I made it a point to see Jimmy Scott who was appearing at (the new) Birdland in New York City. Then I went straight to the record store after the show and bought "Over The Rainbow" and "Heaven." Your Independent Focus on Jimmy Scott was a revelation. I now admire him even more and can't wait to hear the Charlie Parker and Ray Charles albums that were recently re-released. Thank you for a well-deserved focus on an extraordinary artist.

Mac Rodriguez
Nashville, TN
I was transfixed with the voice, the face, and the spirit of the man last night as I watched the PBS documentary on this extraordinary, Jimmy Scott. I had never heard of him but I instantly wish I had so I could have enjoyed his wonderful, soothing voice way before last night. How sad that such talent is exploited by horrible animals of the industry. His recognition is certainly way overdue and I'm so glad I happened to switch channels when I did. I'm looking forward to purchasing this man's work..lead me to a COMPLETE list of his life's work so I can purchase it immediately. May GOD BLESS THIS MAN even more.

Cleo Encarnacion
New York, New York
I am thrilled to have discovered Jimmy Scott! What an extraordinary piece of work by Mr. Gerber and Mr. Buzzell! I commend them for having the artistic sensibility to do this piece on Mr. Scott. Thanks to them I discovered a new favorite jazz artist and Mr. Scott finally got his much deserved turn to shine in the limelight in so many ways. This film celebrated his extraordinary life and makes him an almost divine figure in my eyes. How can someone suffer so much and be able to share his story with such grace and complacency? Mr. Scott deserved our respect and admiration a long time ago, but it is good to know that it is never to late to do it.

Stephanie Statham
No one... absolutely no one... is a bigger Jimmy Scott fan than I am. I have every single song he has ever recorded. If anyone claims to be a bigger fan than I... they are sadly mistaken.

As I continuously watch PBS, I happen to come in late on the 2/24/04. Decided not to watch t.v., but couldn't sleep. What a blessing, from God's mouth to my ears, this man is truly blessed. He touched such a core in me until I was mesmerized. I am a jazz fan but somehow had never heard of Jimmy Scott. I'm going out immediately to update my CD collection with his fabulous sound.

Arnie Perez
Mount Vernon, New York
I want to thank you for letting more people experience the voice and story of Jimmy Scott. It's just so terrible how he has been treated for most of his career. I have known about this artist for many years and to see that someone finally brought his story to a larger audience is so beautiful. To think that someone who is as precious as he had to be subjected to that kind of treatment is still unthinkable. This man is a treasure and should be treated with all the respect and dignity he so rightfully deserves. It's just a shame that he had to wait this long to have his story told. Thank you PBS, we need more programs like this on TV. I hope this program opens more doors for this amazing artist. He has waited long enough.

Maria Garcia
Phoenix, AZ
I had heard of Jimmy Scott from my sister and uncle (both are huge fans) but it wasn't until viewing last night's film on Mr. Scott that I became so facinated with him. His voice is sublime the delivery of everyword is marked with his life experiences...something so rare in today's group of artists. Simply unique!

Tessie Jackson
New Orleans, Louisiana
I saw the documentary on Jimmy Scott late in the A.M.and after listening for a while had to awaken my mother because she had to hear him, too. I am not an avid Jazz fan but was "taken aback" by that voice. Very rich! His renditions of the songs were like I have never heard before, moving and spiritual. I want to hear more and see more of Jimmy Scott. He is phenomenol!

I watched the film on New York's PBS/Thirteen last night and I was completely taken by Jimmy's voice and life story. As I was in the midst of changing channels, I came upon him singing and his beautiful voice and heart wrenching vocal interpretation of the music stopped me in my tracks. I had never heard of him beforehand and in many ways was saddened by his story but inspired by his spirit and gladdened by his overdue success.

I have become an overnight fan and am anxiously looking forward to seeing him in performance in a the near future.

Eugene Or
Last night (2/24/04) I saw the documentary for the first time. I had never heard of Jimmy Scott and am not normally a big fan of jazz, however, I think I am a new fan of Jimmy Scott. He touched my heart.

Charmaine P. Cox-Mahiai
Kapolei, Hawaii
I'm purchasing all five of the CD'S that are listed in the catalog; mood indigo, over the rainbow,But beautiful,Moon Glow and Little Jimmys/The Paul Gayten Band; regal records: Live in New Orleans! with special guest Sam Butera, and I'm looking forward for,Fantasy, Inc., Tenth and Parker to offer more of Jimmy Scott!!!

Jason Vantreese
Milan, MI
I saw Jimmy Scott, If You Only Knew last night (2-24-04), and my only gripe is that I wasn't able to discover Jimmy Scott earlier in my life. It's such a thrill, that feeling one gets, when discovering a new artist for the first time. I wish I could convey the emotion I feel inside after hearing this man sing. I didn't realize a human being could elevate another to new emotional highs. After the program, I went to bed and held my wife, realizing how lucky I am to be loved. I'm heading to the music store after work.

Darlene Moses
Upper Darby Pa.
I am a 34 year old female who doesn't listen to jazz unless it's modern/contempory jazz. However, the other evening, I couldn't sleep and I turned on the television and there I saw Jimmy Scott. He just illuminated off of the screen. His gracious smile and raspy uptempo voice captived me. As they showed clips of him singing live, my eyes could not leave the t.v. screen. His voice and the way he sings has left an impression on my heart. I love to hear how he expresses himself in song. He truly feels what he is singing. I am truly taken back by this wonderful human being. I am a die-hard fan of his now. I only regret I didn't know of him sooner. I would have been to any of the local concerts he performed. I hope he will perform here in Philadelphia soon, because I would love to hear him live and possibly meet him. I will never forget how he has touched my heart.

Ann Peterson
Traverse City,Mi
I cried an "ocean" while watching the documentary on Jimmy on PBS.

I have not cried for many many years, was "locked in" with my own personal suffering...but as I lay In bed bed last eve. watching this man sing...as soon as I heard him go into an old song called HOME...and all the others from my era(I am his age)I tell you...you are so right. The greatest and most neglected talent in his field of blues and jazz that one could emagine. Unbeleivable. I am a "piano bar" musician and oh how I wish I had been where he walked way back when he was young. I feel so much better after my "big cry" and am now on a search for his records/cd's.

The world needs to "feel" Jimmy and "listen" to Jimmy. You will never be the same....NEVER!!!!! Thanks for listening....

Charmaine P. Cox-Mahiai
Kapolei, Hawaii
Iwas able to caught only about 15 miniutes of the documentary on Jimmy Scott, and i fell in love with his music!!! I'm intrested in buying his music . This is my first time contacting, PBS and it's all because I fell in love with Jimmy's music!!! How do I get my hands on his music! I'm an instant fan.

Skye White
Honolulu, HI
This is the best music bio-film since the story of the funk brothers. It brought home the fact that there are so many singers and musicians such as Jimmy that had a Linbisky in their lives, and because of that, so much great music is lost. May Jimmy's great talent live on.

R. Goddard
How wonderful. It brought tears to my eyes. HIs face and music refelect art and genius. Thank you so much for airing this incredible documentary.

I also love that Don Cheadle is the host. He's wonderful too.

Thank you.

Goldie Susan Marie Bush
Chugiak, Alaska
I hadnt known this artist until tonight. The first instance I saw of of the pbs film of Jimmy Scott at the airline counter I instantly loved this man...then he sang, I was sooo moved. I was totally captivated from beginning to end. I sobbed for him, I laughed with him. I related to him totally. I hope he never dies.

I am going to get all his music. I hope I can see him sing in person somewhere. What an inspiration to us all. Long live Jimmy Scott. Thank you PBS. Thank you Jimmy Scott.

Catherine Hogan
San Antonio, Tx
Memories! Going with my girl friends to the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., to see Little Jimmy Scott. I was thrilled then and am thrilled now to hear his voice. My very favorite song was "Hands Across the Table."

Tomorrow I will be shopping for the re-released recordings.

What a wonderful film. Thank you PBS for airing the story of this one of a kind talent. A gentle and unassuming human being.

A happy ending, I'm sure the best is yet to come.

Judy Garza
Houston, Texas
I Cried! I just watched the documentary and it completely blew me away. I had never heard of Jimmy Scott, but he amazed me. I enjoy jazz but his style is different. His music is soft, simple, and taps into your soul. He seems very in touch with his music and forces the audience to feel his emotions. Absolutely Beautiful!

Mesa Arizona
Great film. It was both informative as well as ent. My thanks to you and your teammates for making it happen.

What can individuals like myself do to stop or prevent what happen to Mr. Scott's career?

Is there a comp. of all Mr. Scotts songs?

By purchasing Mr. Scotts music am I still supporting the producer? Let me know...

Ruby Estrada
Las Cruces New Mexico
Jimmy I am so glad to hear of your resurgence! Finally a quintessential voice, the ultimate voice is out there and it belongs to you! You have a wonderful testment to success afterall! Your voice is dauntingly gorgeous and heart wrenching. Please make it to New Mexico soon. I have three words for your promoters: publicity publicity publicity -- your voice should not go unheard -- it somehow suspends time for me!

Juan Oskar
Glendale, AZ
Just saw the PBS program on Jimmy Scott. Jimmy has a new fan.

Sinceramente, Juan Oskar

Wendy Hull
League City, Texas
Absolutely fabulous. I loved his voice, his spirit, his ability to live life despite adversity. What a soul he has!

And yes, I listen to the lyrics...being a singer myself, and a big fan of Billie Holiday, I sing lyrics that mean something to me...

This is the first time I've heard of Jimmy Scott and it's bittersweet because of all I've missed thus far...he's incredible and he touched me...I plan to look for his albums...I feel like I've discovered a blessing in music...actually I just can't put it into words...he just lit me up :)

Music for music's sake...ideally yes, wouldn't it be wonderful...unfortunately it's a business like any other...give artists freedom to create...let their voice fly like Jimmy's...the reward ultimately is in the feeling...

Thank you Jimmy for everything you've given to me this evening...you are a treasure...Don't you know your Momma and family are proud of you :)

Francine Douaihy
I love Jimmy Scott-his music,his style,his humanity,his story and what he has taught me about living life.What a beautiful tribute to a truly special American artist!I laughed,I cried alot,especially his lyric tributes to his mother,but most of all I came away from this documentary with the greatest admiration for the way Jimmy has travelled life's bumpy road with love, grace,compassion and soul.God Bless you,Jimmy Scott!

Phill Modjeski
I learned of Mr. Scott through his appearance on PBS when David Byrne brought him to the program I believe was called Music on 57th St. A film maker friend of mine was in the works of securing the rights to a story on his life jst a few months ago...

The man has certainly paid his dues and is a living legend. I have trouble imagining I could find the perseverance necessary to continue as Mr. Scott has done. I am blessed to live at the same time this man does.

Thank You PBS!

John Loscalzo
Forest Hills, New York
What a treat for an old man!

One of my favorite songs was an oldie called "When Did You Leave Heaven", and 'Little Jimmy Scott' reads that lyric like no one else. A few years ago when I heard that Jimmy was recording again, I bought the album "All The Way" and everything on it was a gem....and what a bonus for me...a new rendition of "When Did You Leave Heaven".

At the end of the film tonight, I saw that both of the supressed albums have been re-released...They'll be in my collection as soon as I can get them.

What a voice...What a talent...a true gift to anyone that appreciates originality and 'heart'.

God bless you Jimmy...and keep on keeping on!

I caught the last 20 minutes or so tonight on Channel 13 while surfing over a cup of cocoa before retiring. I don't remember drinking the cocoa; I was mesmerized. I love jazz, had never heard of Jimmy Scott and I am his age give or take. Not only was I awe struck by his music but his humility, insight and beautiful spirit shown forth from his face and touched me deeply. The film is done with such due reverence and obviously with much love. Where can I purchase a DVD of this film?

New York, NY
I vaguely remembered hearing this voice as a child, and thinking it was the voice of a woman, and surprised to find out it was a male vocalists. Didn't matter, the voice was an amazing one. One that I could listen to for hours. I was so pleased to see a face put to this voice in the documentary. A sad and beautiful story at the same time. Shame on the industry for the voices that have not been heard, and thank you for making this a beautiful moment for me to relate to. I can now become a fan to this increadible voice with a name and now, a face. Jimmy Scott... you go.

David Buzzell
Atlanta, GA
I saw this exquisite documentary at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2002 where it got a standing ovation and subsequently received the Audience Choice Award as the festival's best film. Although the story of Jimmy Scott's tragic life and singing career has been covered previously in other documentaries, and his story of being the victim of unscrupulous musical industry executives is not unique, this film tells his story in a thoughtful, empathetic manner that grabs and holds your attention from beginning to end. Certainly Scott is a compelling subject, and the film maximizes that by focusing on Jimmy Scott telling us who Jimmy Scott is. The film really gets it right when it allows Scott to reflect on how and why his life unfolded the way it did, and then drives these points home with Scott's renditions of poignant songs in their entirety. The filmmakers clearly understand the dramatic value of Scott's jazz vocals and his choices of material. They expose us to the anguish and pain of Scott's life in his own words and music, yet at the same time make it inspirational. The film is crafted in a loving and reverential way, and accomplishes something unusual for a bio-documentary...it takes the viewer on a full-gamut emotional journey. And yes, I'm biased...I'm Matthew's brother...but I guarantee you will be fascinated and moved by this film.

Fumio Saku Takeuchi
Tokyo, Japan
Hello ever fan of Jimmy,

I am a big fan of Jimmy and the manager of "Jimmy Scott Fan Site on the Music Planet". http://www.alpha-net.ne.jp/users2/msuisei/english/index.html

Jimmy came to Japan six times for the last five years. And last July I went to hear his performances on eight days, but never got tired of listening to his singing. His songs are very wonderful and moving. Always his voice touches me in the deepest part of my heart.

I am looking forward to seeing this documemtary film someday.

Hello Mary, Hill,Cook and Michael are also my friends!

Curtis White
Augusta, GA.
Just as hundreds of other Jazz fans; I'd never heard of Jimmy Scott. I recently saw him live in Augusta. I was blown away. So many different emotions ran through me. I'm am now an instant fan. I will cop every piece of music this man has created. He is truely a lost treasure found.

Very Best Regards,


Sue Mahoney
Augusta, GA
Saw the documentary followed by Jimmy's live performance at a packed Imperial Theater here in Augusta, February 2004. I'm not a big jazz fan but this story and the man touched my heart. When you join the audience in applauding Jimmy singing on film, then you know you're witnessing something wonderful.

Great movie Matt. I'm glad I got to meet you.

Mary Glennon
Brooklyn, New York
I can't wait to see this film. I was touring around with Jimmy as a friend of his musical director and bassist, Hill Greene, in Japan in November 2000 while Matthew was filming a great deal of this film. Matthew probably doesn't remember but we all went out for sushi one night.

Jimmy's concerts in Japan were utterly breathtaking and beautiful. I was so lucky, I got to hear him sing every night! Traveling around for 2 weeks with the band gave me a fantastic opportunity to get to know Jimmy, Justin, Cook and Michael so well. I knew I adored Jimmy's voice but getting to know him as a friend in Japan was so wonderful. I discovered that he has the most beautiful, sweet and wise soul. And, he's so punctual--he was always the first one down in the lobby for the morning call! :-) I'm so happy to say that I'm still close to all the cats in the band and count Jimmy as a special friend. I was lucky enough to just see him a week ago playing at the Jazz Standard in New York and he was as wonderful as ever! Marriage agrees with him!

Charlotte Simpson

I am from Pila.Pa, and I remember seeing 'Little Jimmy Scott' at a jazz club called the Pep Bar. It was located at Broad and South sts. For $3,you saw the show and got a drink (1960's ). He sang "Why Try To Change Me Now", and I became a instant fan. I last saw him about 2 yrs. ago ( again in Phila) and he can still blow you away.

Craig Erickson
Chicago, IL

I saw this film over the summer at a festival and was totally blown away. It's an inspiring and triumphant story, spiritual and lyrical, and I am now an avid Scott fan. When and where can I buy the DVD?

Home | The Film | The Songs | Filmmaker Bios | Filmmaker Q&A | Learn More | Talkback | Jazz & Commerce | Site Credits

Get The Video Learn More Filmmaker Q&A Filmmaker Bios The Songs The Film JIMMY SCOTT: If You Only Knew