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Henry Grimes gets a bass-great story...

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Fluke, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. Fluke


    Jul 20, 2002
    This has been sent around on several mailing lists, i'm not sure where it was originally posted but i guess the author info is correct.Enjoy!


    You may have heard the great news by now that
    Philadelphia~born master bassist Henry Grimes, who'd
    been missing from the music world ever since the late
    '6O's, had been found in good health (though pretty much
    destitute) living in a single~room occupancy hotel in
    South Central Los Angeles. He's been living in the
    same room for the last 2O years but had long ago
    sold his bass for survival needs & has since contented
    himself with writing poetry, trying a bit of acting,
    doing odd jobs, & surviving on Social Security. The
    person who found Henry Grimes is a wonderful young
    social worker & writer named Marshall Marrotte, who
    himself lives in Athens, Georgia.

    When Marshall Marrotte found Henry Grimes, Henry told
    him that he very much wished he had a bass so he could
    start playing again. Here we have a supreme master
    musician who went to Juilliard, who recorded & played
    brilliantly with musicians as diverse as Albert Ayler, Don
    Cherry, Benny Goodman, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Steve
    Lacy, Charles Mingus (yes, Charles Mingus), Sunny Murray,
    Perry Robinson, Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders, Archie
    Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Charles Tyler, McCoy Tyner, Rev.
    Frank Wright, & many more.

    For me, a planet where the great Henry Grimes does not
    have a bass is not a place I want to be, & being unprepared
    for space travel at this time, I took it upon myself to stay
    here & begin a month~long nationwide search for a bass
    for Henry Grimes. I wrote to, called, or otherwise contacted
    about 5O of the musicians Henry played & recorded with
    before he disappeared, as well as many bassists in good
    standing today who would know him as a music hero, even
    if he was before their time. I put particular concentration
    on the West Coast because shipping a bass is a big
    expense in itself, & I also thought the Western music
    community would want the opportunity to gather around
    him, & I thought it would be easy especially for those
    connected with academia or major cultural institutions
    out West to hook him up with practice space & an
    instrument to play, at the very least. So with Marshall
    Marrotte's approval, I put the word out far & wide, & then
    we waited for offers of a bass for Henry Grimes.

    For quite a while, nobody moved.

    Slowly a few people began to say they'd be willing to
    do something ~ make a donation, hold or play in a
    benefit concert, contribute a bow ~ kind, good offers,
    but not a bass for Henry Grimes to play. A couple of
    afflicted souls responded negatively, cynically or with
    hostility. Most just didn't answer at all.

    Then, just when I was beginning to despair ~ just when
    I began to question my lifelong belief in the term "music
    community" as something more than a concept or
    an ideal, but as an actual living entity that embraces
    & sustains its own ~ the great William Parker came home
    to New York City from another of his tours, took a couple
    of days to relax, began to read his accumulated Emails,
    & called me up to say he would send a bass & a bow
    to Henry Grimes. First he wanted New York's great bass
    specialist David Gage to make a small repair, & then
    David's shop would build a shipping crate for the bass
    & arrange & pay for the shipping. One of David Gage's
    employees, a bassist called Sprocket, even put up $1OO
    of his own money to help with shipping costs, while
    Wendy Oxenhorn of New York's Jazz Foundation stood
    prepared to cover shipping if needed, & was happy to learn
    she could keep that money to help another musician in

    Henry Grimes received the bass William Parker named
    Olive Oil (more, I think, due to the greenish tinge of her
    finish than for Popeye's girlfriend) on December 16th,
    2OO2, & we've been in touch with Henry, & he is ecstatic
    to have Olive Oil & has been practicing happily ever since.
    In fact, he recently was heard to wish for a pickup & an
    amp so he can go out to play, & the building manager
    reports that if someone knocks on Henry Grimes's
    door, he's been too engrossed in playing the bass to

    This leads me back to those offers of donations &
    benefit concerts & such. For all those who wish to
    help Henry Grimes on his road back into the music,
    here are some suggestions:

    (1) If you were a close friend, band mate, or family member
    of Henry Grimes, please contact me or Marshall Marrotte
    & we will give you Henry's address (subject to prior
    agreement from Henry). Henry has neither phone nor

    (2) We're starting a fund at David Gage's shop so that
    Henry Grimes will be able to call & order anything he
    needs for his bass ~ pickup, amp, new set of strings,
    a wheel, gig bag, some resin, etc. If you'd like to
    contribute to this fund, please make a check to DAVID
    on the check FOR ACCOUNT OF HENRY GRIMES, &
    mail the check to:

    Mr. Marshall Marrotte
    4696 Tallassee Road
    Athens, GA 3O6O7~2229.

    Marshall's Email address is kennedymarrotte@hotmail.com .

    This is so that Marshall can tabulate the amount of
    the fund, & he will then immediately send the donations
    on to David Gage.

    (3) Those who want to send donations, letters, cards, or
    gifts to Henry Grimes directly rather than through the David
    Gage fund can mail them to Marshall Marrotte (as above),
    & Marshall will forward them to Henry Grimes. (If you're
    sending a donation via this route rather than through the
    David Gage bass fund, please send a postal money order,
    NOT a personal check, because Henry Grimes does not
    have a bank account.) Marshall Marrotte has been serving
    selflessly as Henry's mentor & protector through all this,
    & we are being careful not to overwhelm Henry with strangers
    & fuss, so that he has time to work on playing at his own
    pace & can make his way back into the music when & as
    he wishes. He is a shy, gentle, very sensitive person, & we
    certainly don't want to drive him back into hiding.

    (4) People who want to hold or play in concerts to honor Henry
    Grimes, please go ahead & do so! Some of us are planning
    such a concert here in New York, & I think it will be huge &
    very, very beautiful. Whether Henry Grimes will attend or
    participate will be entirely up to him. Meanwhile, funds raised
    can be handled the same ways as described above.

    Thanks to all for caring!

    Margaret Davis
    Editor & Publisher, "Art Attack!,"
    the publication for & about
    liberation musicians in NYC (& beyond),
    on the Web at
    musicmargaret@earthlink.net .
  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    This is great!! I love his playing; Roy Haynes "Out of the Afternoon" is one of my fave recordings.

  3. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    Got a GK or a Polytone combo I'd donate or I've got some cabs collecting dust if you find a head. I've
    emailed Mr. Marrotte and will make a cash contribution as well.
    I've got HYMMJ on Reaching Fourth if it's the
    version you're referring to.
  4. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
    Glad to see the support for this Giant. The New York core, specifically!
    I'll be travelling to LA on 3/22 to see Henry resurrect his performance craft with guitarist Nels Cline and 'special guests.'

    The Find of The Decade?
  5. Does anyone have any more information about how Henry Grimes is doing? I'm so stoked about this. Grimes is one of my all time favorite bassists. I first heard him with Roswell Rudd and Cecil Taylor. His playing just blew me away.
  6. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
  7. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
  8. Henry Grimes will play and give a workshop at David Gage's bass shop in New York City on Monday, May 28, 2003
    6:00-7:30 pm
    Admission: $20.00
    $15.00 with student/senior ID

    David Gage String Instrument Repair
    36 Walker Street
    New York, NY 10013-3514

    Telephone: (212) 274-1322

    Fax: (212) 274-9634

    General E-mail Address: davidgage@davidgage.com
  9. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    A Henry Grimes trio cd has justy been rereleased. It got a great review in the Wire, a trio with a drummer and clarinetist who's name I've forgotten. Anyone heard it yet, or know the original?
  10. Dig Wilbur Ware

    Dig Wilbur Ware

    Mar 7, 2003
    The righteous dj's at
    are playing the entire Grimes discography thur Sunday ... NOW.


    Olie: that's probably Perry Robinson on Clarinet.
  11. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    it is him, and hes also recently released a trio album with William Parker on bass - sounds worth checking out to me!
  12. musicmargaret


    Feb 15, 2005
    New York City
    JazzNewYork Productions
    Henry Grimes has made a magnificent comeback, playing more than 2OO concerts in 19 countries since 2OO3 to great acclaim. You can keep up with his doings at www.henrygrimes.com. Thanks, and Happy New Ear!

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