In the late ‘50s and throughout the ‘60s, after receiving his music education at the Mastbaum School in Philadelphia and at Juilliard, HENRY GRIMES (upright bass, violin, poetry) played acoustic bass with many master jazz musicians of that era, including Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, and McCoy Tyner.
Sadly, a trip to the West Coast to work with Al Jarreau and Jon Hendricks went awry, leaving Henry in downtown Los Angeles at the end of the '60s with a broken bass he couldn't pay to repair, so he sold it for a small sum and faded away from the music world. Without a bass, a vehicle, or a telephone, he was truly lost. He survived by doing manual labor and redirecting his creative powers into writing poetry. He was discovered there by a Georgia social worker and fan in 2002, was given a bass by William Parker, and very soon afterwards made a triumphant return to New York City in May, '03 to play in the Vision Festival.
Since then, Henry Grimes has played more than 500 concerts (including many festivals), touring throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, playing and recording with many of this era's music heroes, such as Rashied Ali, Marshall Allen, Fred Anderson, Marilyn Crispell, Andrew Cyrille, Bill Dixon, Bobby Few, Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, William Parker, Marc Ribot, Wadada Leo Smith, and again, Cecil Taylor. Henry made his professional debut on a second instrument (the violin) at Lincoln Center at the age of 70, has seen the publication of the first volume of his poetry, "Signs Along the Road," and creates illustrations to accompany his new recordings and publications.
He has received many honors in recent years, including four Meet the Composer grants, and has also held a number of recent residencies and offered master classes at Berklee College of Music, CalArts (with Wadada Leo Smith), Hamilton College of Performing Arts (with Rashied Ali), Humber College, Mills College (with Roscoe Mitchell), New England Conservatory, the University of Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, etc. Henry can be heard on 87 recordings, including a dozen recent ones, on various labels.