jazz great Henry Grimes, RIP
Jazz great Henry Grimes has died at age 84. According to WBGO, hi wife, Margaret Davis Grimes, confirmed his death to the Jazz Foundation of America, telling them he died from coronavirus complications.
A renowned bassist (but skilled at many other instruments), Grimes played with just about everyone in the '50s and '60s, including Don Cherry, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Sunny Murray, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and McCoy Tyner. By the end of the '60s, however, he found himself broke in Los Angeles with a busted bass, and completely disappeared from the music scene by 1970. Many thought he had died but in the early 2000s he was found still living in Los Angeles, in a rented room doing odd jobs to make ends meet. He was given a new bass by William Parker, and reemerged with new passion, playing shows in Los Angeles, and then making a triumphant return to NYC for the 2003 Vision Festival.
He stayed busy as a musician from then on, playing with everyone from Marc Ribot and John Zorn to Nels Cline, Matana Roberts and more, and he made his professional debut on a second instrument (the violin) at the age of 70 alongside Cecil Taylor at Lincoln Center. Henry received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Vision Festival.
Rest in peace, Henry. You can watch a short documentary on Henry here, and listen to some of his music and read tributes below.