Henry Grimes: Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival (2005)
Amazingly, this CD is the first disc released under Henry Grimes' name since 1965, when his only title as a leader appeared (The Call, ESP). Though there are many private recordings of Grimes playing since his storybook return, this live performance was serendipitous for being close enough to Sweden for the head of Ayler Records to attend and be impressed enough to release it. Lucky too for Grimes, since he has only been in the studio twice since his return. One would think the studio would suit Grimes best, since his reputation was made there with prodigious output in the '60s. Until more opportunities are available this trio date with saxophonist David Murray and drummer Hamid Drake will have to serve as a fine demo tape.
The album is one of those rare intergenerational events that allow listeners to trace a direct lineage through jazz. Grimes' work from the '60s no doubt influenced Murray and Drake, the Coltrane and Cyrille of their generation. To hear the trio come together is fascinating, if only to hear how Grimes is inspired by those he himself inspired.
Since his return, Grimes' playing has returned to form, though his emphasis on the avant-garde side robs the jazz world of one of its finest post bop players. The times during this performance when that side is allowed to surface are the album's strongest points, particularly the second tune, "Eighty Degrees by Drake, featuring Murray's incomparable bass clarinet. The compositions are two by Grimes and one each by Drake and Murray (his hit "Flowers for Albert ). While the album is a good step for Grimes, it was a performance committed to disc after the fact. A carefully planned studio date is the next logical step.
Track Listing: Spin; Eighty Degrees; Flowers For Albert; Blues For Savanah
Personnel: Henry Grimes (bass); David Murray (tenor sax and bass clarinet); Hamid Drake (drums)