All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Henry Grimes, Sunny Murray and David Murray at the Haarlem Jazzstad


Sign in to view read count
Henry Grimes, Sunny Murray and David Murray
Haarlem Jazzstad Festival
Haarlem, Holland
August 18, 2006
Anyone who is familiar with the remarkable "rediscovery" of bassist Henry Grimes, who distinguished many of the great jazz albums of the 1960's with artists such as Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry and Roy Haynes, will hopefully take great relish in the reading of this review—a Trio performance with the man who invented free-jazz drumming and one of the greatest saxophonists to have played jazz in the past 30 years. An event that practically passed under the radar of the jazz world.
The Haarlem Jazzstad Festival in Holland was host to the astonishing Henry Grimes Trio with Sunny Murray and David Murray on Fri 18 August 2006. The Festival has been around for a while—at least since 1966 when Paul Bley made a record there with Barry Altschul on drums—and yet my Uncle (born and bred in Holland and also a musician) had never heard of it! It's a free concert where the main square of Haarlem (a sleepy yet picturesque town 20 minutes south of Amsterdam) serves as the venue for the major acts of the Festival.
Amazingly, I was about the only person there who really knew the historic importance of these players and their appearance at the Festival. Most of the audience was comprised of locals, day-trippers and the curious. How could a trio like this not attract a bigger crowd or more attention in the Jazz press? None of this detracted from the brilliance of the performance. Grimes, Murray and Murray played for 50 minutes through about four extended pieces of free, group improvisation. I could only detect strains of "Sunnymoon For Two" in one of the pieces, but it was a very brief, passing reference as the group played as a group, rather than a soloist out front with rhythm backing. Needless to say, the three men played at a very high level of creativity, group interplay, sheer energy, flexibility, fire and complete instrumental facility.

When the set ended, the Dutch MC (very much aware of the importance of the band on stage) asked for an 'encore'. Grimes agreed, after a moment of reflection, starting with a bass solo that led into David Murray's composition "Flowers for Albert". Sunny Murray at first refused to play an encore, instead lighting a cigarette and leaning nonchalantly against the piano. After a few minutes he finally sat back down at his kit and joined in on brushes, playing a simple backing rhythm, perhaps as a form of protest at what he may have seen as unethical behaviour from the MC. When Grimes cued Murray to take a solo, Murray played a rat-a-tat figure on his snare and neatly brought the song and concert to an end.

Most people recognised this humourous retort and laughed/applauded accordingly. Enthusiastic, continuous and warm applause ended a very, very special jazz performance. Afterwards I was lucky enough to have Henry sign my copy of his ESP album from the 60's THE CALL and to have my photo taken with him. A man of few words, Henry was however completely accomodating and grateful—a giant of the music and one helluva nice man. Speaking specifically of the music played, Grimes displayed his trademark sound, deft technique, creativity and authority on the instrument whilst Sunny Murray played very much in the style of his 1960's recordings with Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor. He created metre-free patterns of sound that seemed to work as a parallel universe of rhythm both independent and complimentary of what his colleagues were playing next to him. David Murray, who also played Bass Clarinet, played with a trance-like intensity, drawing an ocean of sound out of his instruments. You couldn't ask for anything more really, from a jazz concert.

It bears repeating—Henry Grimes, Sunny Murray and David Murray. What a trio...


comments powered by Disqus

Jazz Poetry
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Book Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
The Tone of Wonder

The Tone of Wonder

Uncool Edition



Sony Music



ILK Music

Spirits Aloft

Spirits Aloft

Porter Records


Related Articles

Read Abdullah Ibrahim at the Michigan Theater Live Reviews
Abdullah Ibrahim at the Michigan Theater
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 25, 2018
Read The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium Live Reviews
The Jane Getter Premonition at Iridium
by Roger Weisman
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre Live Reviews
Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read "French Connections - The Jazzdor Experience" Live Reviews French Connections - The Jazzdor Experience
by Henning Bolte
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest" Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Boston Roundup: Larry Carlton, Brit Floyd, and Doyle Bramhall" Live Reviews Boston Roundup: Larry Carlton, Brit Floyd, and Doyle...
by Dave Dorkin
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen at Davidson College" Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "John Abercrombie Tribute Concert at Roulette" Live Reviews John Abercrombie Tribute Concert at Roulette
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Big Ears Festival 2018" Live Reviews Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018