Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri., 6/21 & Tues., 6/24

Here’s an odd detail: Jimmy Scott sang at Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1953 and at Bill Clinton’s forty years later, although he spent too many of the intervening years in an obscurity that sent him home to Cleveland to work as a cook and a nurse’s aide, among other odd jobs. (See the fine obituary by Peter Keepnews in the NY Times for more). There’d been hits, then bad breaks, and another constant factor, people’s confused apprehension of the man, whose growth was stunted and then restarted by a version of Kallmann’s Syndrome that kept his voice, and most of the time his look, apparently androgynous (which he was not). His early singing possessed a searing intensity that obliterated the gap between blues and jazz and gospel; in his later years, after a rediscovery (in which taintradio’s Kip Hanrahan played no small part) accorded him every honor the jazz world could provide, the voice itself was seared by time and what is lightly called experience. He was eighty-eight years old when he died the other day, and once his music gets to you, you will never forget it. After a long vocal set built around his work, Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Hudson River time—takes a trip from death to life with Mahler’s 5th Symphony, revisiting Claudio Abbado’s superlative Mahler cycle with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. It’s a pretty full two hours. People get ready, as Scott sings, about twenty minutes in.JimmyScotts

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