Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

470

Henry Grimes: Like He's Never Been Away

By

Sign in to view read count
Henry Grimes
The Call
ESP Disk
2008



The disappearance and re-emergence of Henry Grimes after almost 30 years is one of jazz music's great resurrection stories. The Juilliard-trained double bassist, who began his career in the late 1950s with the likes of clarinetist Benny Goodman and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan before becoming an avatar of the avant-garde in the bands of saxophonist Albert Ayler and pianist Cecil Taylor, vanished at the height of his acclaim to a life of obscurity on the West Coast, to return in 2003 through the assistance of fans and a coterie of musicians on both coasts.

The Call, Grimes' sole effort as a leader from his early days in New York and Solo, though recorded more than three decades apart, represent a continuum that is, in many ways, as miraculous as the bassist's re-emergence. Taking up where he left off, Grimes returned to the scene with creative reserves undiminished by his years of obscurity. Grimes has become a familiar face at festivals and concerts, re-established artistic relationships and begun new collaborations with generations who had grown up listening to his tumultuous, soulful music.

On The Call, Grimes leads a free-minded trio of clarinetist Perry Robinson and drummer Tom Price through a series of original compositions that serve mostly as bare-bone structures for the discursive improvisations in which the trio specialized. "For Django" develops from dirge to a roiling up-tempo free improvisation that pairs Robinson's blues-inflected squawks and trills with the leader's bass lines and authoritative double stops. Grimes takes a brief bowed solo exposition before the trio returns with the mournful refrain.

Henry Grimes
Solo
ILK Music
2009

On "Saturday Night What Th,'" Grimes' emerges from the tangled opening fray with a solo exposition that could be edited seamlessly into Solo, the bassist's 2008 release. Produced by the Danish drummer Kresten Osgood, Solo features Grimes in an uninterrupted, double-disc length improvisation on bass and violin. The lengthy performance is sustained by the characteristic duality that has marked Grimes' playing from 1960s: an unshakable sense of swing that permeates the most free improvisation and an ability to sustain ideas without reference to bar lines or recognizable forms.



Make no mistake: Solo is a difficult album to digest. It is a work as inscrutable and unrelenting as its creator but displays an unblinking devotion to a path deferred, but never abandoned.

Tracks and Personnel



The Call

Tracks: Fish Story; For Django; Walk On; Saturday Nite What Th'; The Call; Son of Alfalfa.

Personnel: Henry Grimes: bass; Perry Robinson: clarinet; Tom Price: drums.



Solo

Tracks:

Personnel: Henry Grimes: bass, violin.


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Holiday Roundup 2017 Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue Multiple Reviews Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017
Read Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles Multiple Reviews Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Roots In The Green Mountains" Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "New and Notable Releases" Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Green Mountain Jazz" Multiple Reviews Green Mountain Jazz
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Guitars on Three Continents" Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!