Bassist Henry Grimes was a seminal figure within progressive jazz and jazz-based improvisation back in the '50s and '60s. His relevance and resume contains stints with a who's who of jazz stalwarts. As Grimes' migration from Los Angeles to New York City in 2003 looms as one of the more heartening stories within this idiom, after disappearing from the scene for thirty-five years.
Grimes was rediscovered in Los Angeles by a Georgia social worker and ardent admirer back in 2002. Moving forward, the artist received a bass from William Parker, which helped reestablish his musicality and presence. Here, Grimes and legendary drummer Rashied Ali act as a tag team during these live performances culled from Columbia University's WKCR radio station studio in 2007.
What might be considered a bold move, given the scanty bass and drums format, the duo separates the boys from the men via the polyrhythmic flows featuring emotive voicings and changeable parameters. On these four works, Ali often peppers and weaves around Grimes' fluid bowed bass and violin voicings. In effect, the musicians convey great depth whether it's Grimes executing furiously-paced walking notes, contrasted by Ali's radiant cymbal swashes, or when they delve inward for the quieter moments.
Grimes renders spoken word on the brief interlude "Easternal Mysticism, Virtue and Calm," where his lower register lines counter Ali's jab and sparring maneuvers. This is followed by their hyper-mode "Gone Beyond The Gate, which is largely about brisk, speedy pulses that offer lucid imagery of a perilous car chase.
The duo generates an abundance of scrappy workouts amid an amalgamation of explorative exchanges throughout the preponderance of this vibrant and curiously interesting set. No doubt, only a select few could pull this off. It's a marvel of inventiveness, sparked by the artists streaming creative juices and synergistic interplay.