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Bassist Henry Grimes, Alive

Henry Grimes, the former bassist for Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Benny Goodman and Sonny Rollins, among many others, who disappeared from jazz more than 30 years ago and was long rumored dead, has resurfaced via two magazine interviews, one in the Signal to Noise and one in The Wire. Grimes was found through the diligent, hard work of social worker and writer Marshall Marrotte from Athens, Ga.

Grimes has been living in the same single-room-occupancy hotel in South Central Los Angeles for 20 years, but he sold his bass soon after he moved from New York City to California. He battled mental problems, and he managed to survive through a series of odd jobs and Social Security. Grimes hasn’t followed the jazz world at all, and he was surprised to find out that Ayler had died in 1970.

While he hasn’t played bass for more than three decades, Grimes told Marrotte he still missed it. When William Parker heard about this, he sent his fellow bassist an instrument with the help of the Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund.

There is now a fund for Grimes at David Gage’s famous bass-repair shop in New York City; if the bassist needs anything for his bass, from strings to an amp, he can call up and get them. If you’d like to contribute to this fund, make a check out to David Gage String Instrument Repair and mark on the check that it’s for the account of Henry Grimes. You should then to mail the check to: Marshall Marrotte, 4696 Tallassee Rd., Athens, GA 3O6O7-2229. For more information about helping Grimes, write to Marrote or e-mail him at [email protected].

Originally Published