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"Now Found: Henry Grimes" tonight on Night Lights

ghost of miles

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This week on Night Lights it's "Now Found: Henry Grimes." Bassist Henry Grimes played with everybody from Benny Goodman to Albert Ayler and appeared on some of the 1960s' most significant jazz recordings before vanishing for more than 30 years. Long rumored to be dead, he was discovered living in Los Angeles in 2002. William Parker, a bassist who'd been strongly influenced by Grimes' work, donated an instrument to Grimes, who began to play again for the first time in three decades. Since then Grimes has re-emerged as a potent force in the world of improv, and his story has turned from mystery into one of the greatest comebacks in the history of jazz. We'll hear selections from Grimes' 1960s work with Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Perry Robinson, and others, as well as Grimes' sole 1960s leader effort (The Call) and a track from his 2004 trio CD with saxophonist David Murray and percussionist Hamid Drake. In addition, Grimes talks to WFIU about his years away from the jazz scene. "Now Found: Henry Grimes" airs on WFIU Saturday, December 10 at 11:05 p.m. You can listen live, or wait until Monday afternoon, when the program will be posted in the Night Lights archives.

Next week: "Not Afraid to Live: Frank Hewitt."

Edited by ghost of miles
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...photo compliments of myself! :)

Yes indeedy. :D I pulled it off the Grimes website and then realized afterwards that it was a sheldonm original... thanks much! You are thanked in the show's credits, btw. :tup


Thanks but not really necessary; it was a blast to be a part of it!


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  • 14 years later...

Upping in memory, along with a note written for a Facebook post (Mark Sheldon was the friend who arranged Grimes' visit to Bloomington that day in October 2005):

This is becoming a sad near-daily ritual. Henry Grimes, who played on numerous notable records of the late 1950s and 1960s and was practically a house bassist for the avant-garde of that era, has passed away from Covid-19 at the age of 84. Grimes vanished from the jazz world after moving to California in 1968 and was even thought to be dead for many years, then miraculously resurfaced in the early 2000s and began to perform again. I had been obsessed with his music and story since the early 1990s, and when a friend asked me in 2005 if I’d be interested in having Grimes swing through Bloomington for an interview, I could barely contain my excitement. I ended up spending most of the afternoon and evening with Grimes and the musicians with whom he was traveling; between interviews at WFIU and WFHB we went to dinner, and I remember feeling happily astonished that I was eating vegetarian burritos at the Laughing Planet with Henry Grimes, a resurrected jazz legend. He exuded a gentle, creative and enduring strength. When the Night Lights show posted below aired a couple of weeks later, Henry’s companion Margaret phoned the station and left a voice-mail saying that they were listening to the program and that Henry was really enjoying it. I can’t tell you how much that thrilled me—and how moved I was that this musician who had been a hero of mine, thought to be departed, magically reemerged after 35 years for a second chapter that would continue to the end of his life, had spent a day of his time with us here in Bloomington and tuned in to hear what I’d tried to make of it. Thank you, Henry Grimes, for having walked among us again.

Now Found: Henry Grimes

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  • 1 month later...

Sweet. Talk about second acts!

March 8, 2005 Grimes and Marshall Allen brought their "Spaceship on the Highway" by Blue Lake Public Radio's studios here at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in the Manistee National Forest and improvised/interviewed for an hour on the air. Allen played a shiny new alto, clarinet and EWI while Grimes was content with Olive Oil, his green lacquered bass William Parker bequeathed for the comeback. All improvisations.

November 29, 2006 Henry and Margret returned with brass man Roy Campbell (trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet) for an hour of improvisation and conversation, this time including an unforgettable reading of Ayler's "Universal Indians."

Some time in 2010 Grimes dropped by one last time with his "Renaissance Man Tour" which featured his first public violin playing since he put down the instrument years ago, as well as solo bass improvisations and poetry reading. 

Great, great moments. So generous with his music. 

Edited by Lazaro Vega
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