P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2002
May 1, 2002
Dr. John and Jimmy Scott to Play
MASS MoCA's Opening Concert on June 1
(North Adams, Mass.) While the mainstream music businesses churn out volumes of assembly line material backed by a drum machine, a few founding members of "that ol' time religion" are still going strong. New Orleans native and voodoo funk master Dr. John and extraordinary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott play MASS MoCA's season opening concert on Saturday, June 1, at 7 P.M. According to the New York Daily News, "Jimmy Scott's plaintive, high-pitched voice is one of the most unusual - and most moving - in all of jazz." Pulse! Magazine calls Dr. John "America's premier roots musician... a true-blue holy man of music."
The artist behind hits like Right Place Wrong Time, Such a Night, Iko Iko, and Honeydripper, Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack first appeared on Ivory Soap boxes as a baby - the only non-music related job he ever had. He grew up in 1940s New Orleans listening to Duke Ellington and Big Joe Turner at his father's record store. His parents sent him to music school, but he balked at the tame material and practice regimen. "I would come home and teach myself to play Lightning Hopkins music. I had no interest in learning Home on the Range," Rebennack remembers. His father gave in and let him take lessons from Walter "Papoose" Nelson, guitarist for Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. That led to recording jobs as a young session musician in the '50s where he studied at the knees of New Orleans legends Allen Toussaint, James Booker, Huey Smith and piano champ Professor Longhair.
Rebennack began producing records and, while still a teenager, overseeing talent development at thriving Ric and Ron labels. He created the "Dr. John the Night Tripper" persona with his 1968 album Gris Gris and in the early '70s gained national acclaim with Gumbo and In the Right Place. Since then he's spent his long career covering everything from jazz, blues, Caribbean and African rhythms, and even a Duke Ellington tribute (2000's Duke Elegant), but he's become best known as one of the R&B giants. For his latest album Creole Moon he returned to the New Orleans voodoo funk roots that got him started. The Atlanta Journal reviewed Creole Moon, saying, "The easy mix of rhythms incorporates everything from jazz to blues, R&B and soul to Cajun and even the throbbing pulse of West Africa, all infused with a laid-back pop sensibility. The artist calls the result 'musical gumbo,' and the brew is true New Orleans."
Billie Holiday's favorite singer, Jimmy Scott, got his start singing in church. A hereditary hormonal deficiency stunted Scott's growth and prevented his voice from changing. Scott's languid soprano voice, heartbreakingly fragile with his eggshell vibrato and brilliant jazz phrasing turn familiar songs into harrowing tales of loss and acceptance.
Scott began his professional career in the late 1940s as the featured vocalist with Lionel Hampton's Big Band. After his 1949 hit with the band, Everybody's Somebody's Fool, Scott struck out on his own, signing with the Savoy label. Due to low sales and creative differences the deal went sour and the company blocked his recordings with Atlantic and Tangerine from ever hitting store shelves. Scott walked away from the business for 15 years. He was rumored to be dead when he sang a heart-wrenching rendition of Someone to Watch Over Me at personal friend and famed songwriter Doc Pomus' funeral. Sire Records president, Seymour Stein, signed him to a contract later that day. Since then he's released seven albums in the last 10 years and has been the featured subject of a Bravo Profiles television special, and an in-depth biography, Faith in Time: The Jazz Life of Jimmy Scott, by award-winning author David Ritz. According to the Chicago Tribune, "it's the haunting timbre of his vocals and the genius of his phrasing that place Scott among the world's most distinctive jazz singers."
Tickets to the Dr. John and Jimmy Scott: Opening Concert are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show. MASS MoCA members get a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. every day but Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org at any time of day.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on a 13- acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA focuses on the work of visual and performing artists charting new territory.
For Immediate Release