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Dunsy's World of Pain

Diary Entries

Sunday, 18 September 2005

Location: New York, USA

The place is New York's Blue Note jazz club. The volume is loud. The rhythms are crossed, the endings tight, and the lineup as hot as Havana in Midsummer. Jimmy Scott might be well into the sixth decade of professional music-making, but he's still about sharp as they come. Celebrating his 80th birthday (apparantly since July) Jimmy performed with Savion Glover, the renowned Tap Dancer.

As a singer, Scott's voice is frayed and his pitch is often uncertain, though his sense of time remains impeccable. Every ballad he sings achingly really makes you feel the pain of the words. Jimmy performed with his longtime band the Jazz Expressions, featuring pianist Aaron Graves, bassist Hillard Greene, drummer Dwayne ''Cook" Broadnax, and alto saxophonist T. K. Blue.

I was amazed to hear that Jimmy never gained fame himself, but his sound has influenced a broad swath of singers in jazz, R&B, and pop, including Nancy Wilson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson.

Clad in a loose black suit and soaking-wet tank top, Savion Glover was hunched over onstage, sweat flying from his shoulder-length dreads as he drums out a series of beats and rhythms with terminology-defying footwork on an amplified floorboard. Rrrat-tat-tat-tat! It is difficult to keep up with Glover's fast and furious tap shoes. He manipulates his feet so it looks as if they have more movable joints than they actually do. The movement is so beautifully organic, the steps so unpredictable, it appears to be completely improvised.

Just an amazing night and an amazing experience.

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