Afflicted as a child with Kallman's syndrome, a rare hormonal deficiency that stunted his growth and left him with a high-pitched and eerily androgynous voice, Jimmy Scott had a successful career as a jazz singer in the 1940s and 1950s, but then dropped from view until his rediscovery in the 1990s. At age 78, his voice can no longer be reasonably described as "pretty," but he is generally hailed as a song interpreter in a style somewhat similar to that of Billie Holiday or Mabel Mercer -- someone whose interpretive flair and deeply personal delivery transform the familiar songs that are his bread and butter. On Moon Glow, he picks up where he left off with "But Beautiful," accompanied by a crack group of A-list session men (including Eric Alexander, Hank Crawford, David "Fathead" Newman, and George Mraz) on a program of pop and jazz standards. The album is a mixed success, however. His exquisitely heartfelt take on "How Long Has This Been Going On" is revelatory, and he brings a bittersweet loveliness to the Robin/Rainger composition "If I Should Lose You." His take on "Those Who Were," on which he is accompanied only by Larry Willis' piano, is effective but a bit too long and, in places, somewhat overwrought. Even more questionable is Scott's highly personal rendition of the Lennon/McCartney classic "Yesterday," and he ruins the delicate Duke Ellington song "Solitude" by oversinging. His new cadre of fans will likely see these as lovable idiosyncrasies rather than flaws, though. Recommended with reservations.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson