LISTEN: A Requiem For Henry Grimes

COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the jazz community with the passing of a master bassist and freethinker

Henry Grimes RIP (Art: Ron Hart)

Legendary double bassist, string player and poet Henry Grimes died on April 15, 2020 at the age of 84 from complications of COVID-19.

His death date and cause were quietly confirmed by his wife to the Jazz Foundation of America, but quickly became public knowledge once the news hit social media as several prominent voices in jazz took to their Facebook and Twitter pages to express their sorrow.


If you ever found yourself deep in the thick of Blue Note’s and Impulse! Records’ black jazz era at any time in your listening history, chances are you are familiar with some of these classic titles with which he’s featured on double bass:

Albert Ayler Spirits Rejoice 

Don Cherry Where Is Brooklyn?

Archie Shepp On This Night

Pharoah Sanders Thaiud

Cecil Taylor Conquistador!

McCoy Tyner Reaching Fourth

Cecil Taylor Unit Structures

Just to name a few titles…


AUDIO: Shirley Scott “Sister Sadie” featuring Henry Grimes on bass

Meanwhile, in the 50s, he buttoned down with the best of ’em on the likes of:

Lee Konitz Tranquility

Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker Reunion

Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins Sonny Meets Hawk!

Shirley Scott Plays Horace Silver

Gerry Mulligan The Gerry Mulligan Songbook

Mose Allison I Love The Life I Live

In 2003, Grimes emerged from a 30-year disappearance from the jazz world to work with such fellow giants as Rasheid Ali, Andrew Cyrille , William Parker and Marc Ribot and build up a fantastic late career repertoire in the last 17 years. The Julliard graduate also went on teach master classes at such schools as City College in New York City, Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory among other esteemed institutions.


VIDEO: Eyes of the Masters: Henry Grimes at The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, May 2015

He was officially recognized for his contributions to creative jazz on June 7, 2016, when Grimes received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Arts for Art / Vision Festival on opening day at Judson Memorial Church in New York City.

The Rock & Roll Globe pays tribute to this Philly born changemaker with this exclusive playlist spanning the entirety of his career in music.

Rest in Peace, Henry Grimes. 


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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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