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Henry Grimes Trio


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As a child, Grimes took up the violin, then began playing tuba, English horn, percussion, and finally the double bass at age 13 or 14, while he was in high school. Grimes furthered his musical studies at The Juilliard School, and established a reputation as a versatile bassist in the mid 1950s. He recorded or performed with saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Sonny Rollins, pianist Thelonious Monk, singer Anita O’Day, clarinetist Benny Goodman and many others. When famed bassist Charles Mingus experimented with a second bass in his band, Grimes was the person he selected for the job.

Gradually growing interested in free jazz, Grimes performed with most of the music’s important names, including pianist Cecil Taylor, trumpeter Don Cherry, saxophonists Steve Lacy, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Albert Ayler, and clarinetist Perry Robinson. He recorded one album, The Call (1965) as a leader for the ESP-Disk record label.
Then in the late 1960s, Grimes seemed to disappear completely after moving to California. Many assumed Grimes was dead; he was listed as such in several jazz reference works.
Marshall Marrotte, a social worker and jazz fan, set out to discover Grimes’s fate once and for all. To his surprise, he found Grimes alive, but nearly destitute, renting a tiny apartment in Los Angeles, California, writing poetry and doing odd jobs to support himself. Having suffered from bipolar disorder and long ago sold his bass, Grimes had fallen out of touch with the jazz world, but was eager to perform again.

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