May 29, 2003

Henry Grimes Found

Though this has really nothing to do with electronic music but much to do with experimental music....The great Henry Grimes has been found after being mia for over 30 years. For those who don't know, Henry Grimes was one of the premiere bass players of the 1960's playing with the likes of Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Sonny Rollins, and many others. He was one of the players who helped develop an individual language on the bass for what is known as "free jazz". Since 1970, NOTHING has been heard from him. With that in mind, please find the article below:

Master bassist Henry Grimes, missing from and presumed dead by the music world since the late 1960s, was recently discovered to be living in a single-room occupancy hotel in South Central Los Angeles, in good health and state of mind, though pretty much destitute. He'd been living in the same room for the past 20 years but had long ago sold his bass for survival needs and has since contented himself with writing poetry, trying a bit of acting, doing construction work and odd jobs, and surviving on Social Security income. The person who found Henry Grimes last year is a young social worker named Marshall Marrotte, himself living in Athens, Georgia.

Between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s, the Juilliard-educated Henry Grimes played brilliantly on some 50 albums with an enormous range of musicians, including Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Sunny Murray, Perry Robinson, Sonny Rollins, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Charles Tyler, McCoy Tyner, Rev. Frank Wright, and many more...and then, one day, for reasons largely having to do with the way things were in those times, he simply walked away from the music world and disappeared.

When word of Mr. Grimes's whereabouts and circumstances first reached a small circle of musicians and fans late last year, efforts began immediately to find him a bass so that he could start playing again, since he had told Marshall Marrotte how much he wished that were possible, and before long a bass nicknamed Olive Oil (for its greenish finish) arrived at Henry Grimes's door, donated by New York's great bassist William Parker, who as a teenager had gone to Brooklyn to hear Mr. Grimes play. The bass reached Henry Grimes on December 16th, 2002, and for the first month Mr. Grimes practiced virtually around the clock -and then began to emerge from his room. Since then he's been practicing with several Los Angeles-musicians, has played concerts brilliantly with Nels and Alex Cline at Billy Higgins's World Stage and the Howling Monk, and has been teaching improvisation part-time at a local high school. While he's with us in New York, we will also have a five-day WKCR Henry Grimes Radio Festival (May 28 through June 1st) with his participation. We are also planning a benefit concert for him with many of the great musicians who played and recorded with Henry Grimes in the past reuniting with him on the bandstand, to take place later this summer." Posted by at May 29, 2003 10:00 AM


That's brilliant :D.

Posted by: Ludo at May 29, 2003 11:46 AM

Henry Grimes will be playing June 10, 2003 in Los Angeles, California at the Jazz Bakery. Further info:

Posted by: Greg Dahl at June 3, 2003 02:44 PM

The re-emergence of free-jazz-wizard Henry Grimes could not have come at a better time for music.It is unbelievable that he could have virtually disappeared,without trace,for 30 years--but to have been recently found in L.A. by a social-worker,is even more bizarre!....The death of Albert Ayler pretty much ended an era,but the disappearance of Henry Grimes sealed its fate.Now,with his emergence again,the world is in for a big treat!.......

Posted by: Brian Richmond at August 16, 2003 01:02 AM

Hello again folks,I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this man to that era/scene.As an historian,this "discovery" of a man often thought dead,would be as if Albert Ayler himself were to play one last show at Slug's Saloon!...amazing!...Ayler/Grimes fans can correspond with me directly,if they wish=

Posted by: Brian Richmond at August 16, 2003 01:06 AM