Henry Grimes life and biography

Henry Grimes picture, image, poster

Henry Grimes biography

Date of birth : 1935-11-03
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-11-18
Credited as : jazz double-bassist, Violonist, poet

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Henry Grimes is a jazz double bassist, violinist, and poet.After more than a decade of activity and performance, notably as a leading bassist in free jazz, Grimes completely disappeared from the music scene by 1970. Grimes was often presumed dead, but he was rediscovered in 2002 and returned to performing.

Henry Grimes has played almost 300 concerts in 23 countries (including many festivals) since May of '03, when he made his astonishing return to the music world after 35 years away. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the Mastbaum School and Juilliard.

In the '50's and '60's, he played and recorded with great musicians of that era, including Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Sunny Murray, Sonny Rollins, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Rev. Frank Wright, and many more.

But a trip to the West Coast to work with Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks went awry, leaving Henry in Los Angeles at the end of the '60's with a broken bass he couldn't pay to repair, so he sold it for a small sum and faded away from the music world. Many years passed with nothing heard from him, as he lived in his tiny rented room in an S.R.O. hotel in downtown Los Angeles, working as a manual laborer, custodian, and maintenance man, and writing many volumes of handwritten poetry.

Discovered there by a Georgia social worker and fan in 2002, Henry Grimes was given a bass by William Parker, and after only a few weeks of ferocious woodshedding, Henry made a triumphant return to New York City in May, '03 to play in the Vision Festival. Since then, often working as a leader, he has played, toured, and / or recorded with many of today's music heroes, such as Rashied Ali, Marshall Allen, Fred Anderson, Marilyn Crispell, Ted Curson, Andrew Cyrille, Bill Dixon, Dave Douglas, Andrew Lamb, Joe Lovano, David Murray, William Parker, Marc Ribot, Cecil Taylor, and many more.

Henry has also given a number of workshops and master classes on major campuses, released several new recordings, made his professional debut on a second instrument, the violin, at the age of 70, has now published the first volume of his poetry, "Signs Along the Road," and has been creating illustrations to accompany his new recordings and publications. He can be heard on more than 80 recordings on various labels, including Atlantic, Ayler Records, Blue Note, Columbia, ESP-Disk, Inpulse!, JazzNewYork Productions, Pi Recordings, Porter Records, Prestige, Riverside, and Verve. Mr. Grimes has received many honors in recent years, including four Meet the Composer grants and a grant from the Acadia Foundation.

Grimes has made up for lost time: In 2003 he performed at over two dozen music festivals or other appearances. Grimes received a returning hero's welcome at the free jazz-oriented Vision Festival, and is teaching lessons and workshops for bassists. His November 2003 appearance on trumpeter Dennis González' Nile River Suite was the bassist's second recording in more than 35 years.

In 2004 he recorded as leader with David Murray and Hamid Drake; and in 2005 with guitarist Marc Ribot, who also wrote an introduction to Grimes' first book, Signs Along the Road, published in March 2007 by Buddy's Knife Jazzedition in Cologne, Germany, a collection of Grimes' poetry, in which he presents his selection of entries from thousands of pages of his writings. Also in 2007, Henry Grimes recorded with drummer Rashied Ali, with whom he has played a half-dozen duo concerts and a trio with Marilyn Crispell, and in 2008 with Paul Dunmall and Andrew Cyrille, a co-leader trio called the Profound Sound Trio, among others.

Discography:
1965: The Call (ESP-Disk)
2005: Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival (Ayler Records)
2008: Going to the Ritual (with Rashied Ali, Porter Records)
2008: Profound Sound Trio: Opus de Life (with Paul Dunmall and Andrew Cyrille, Porter Records)
2009: Solo (ILK Music)
2010: Spirits Aloft (with Rashied Ali, Porter Records)


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