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Album Review

Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes was a vital force in swing, bebop, and R&B. Ungratefully jettisoned from the roster of the Atlantic record company in 1949, Grimes lined himself up with Gotham Records in Philadelphia. In 2004, the Classics Blues & Rhythm Series reissued all of Grimes' Gotham recordings made between 1949 and 1951. While this is rocking R&B at its very best, the jazz element runs strongly through these tasty vintage jams, and is personified by saxophonists Benny Golson, John Hardee, and Red Prysock; bassist Ike Isaacs; and pianists George Kelly and Freddie Redd. On the first two tracks the great Sonny Payne, later famous for his work with Count Basie, is all over the drums. Grimes himself had developed by 1949 into a first-rate jam-up electric guitarist. No melody was safe from this man's good-time sensibilities, be it "Frankie and Johnny," "Down by the Riverside," "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," or even "Loch Lomond." So successful was this last tune when performed in person that Grimes and his guys put on kilts and started calling themselves the Rocking Highlanders. Most of this stuff is solid, groovy, exciting instrumental dance music. There are only two vocalists on the entire compilation — Georgia native Claudine Clark and George Grant, who went by the name of Haji Baba. As slim as John Hardee's discography is (mostly Blue Note sides, usually mentioned in the same breath as those of Ike Quebec), his instrumental collaborations with Tiny Grimes are precious indeed. This outstanding compilation ends with a surprise tidbit predating the scope of this segment of the Grimes chronology; inadvertently omitted from an earlier volume in the series, "Jackie's Dance" was recorded near the end of 1947 and features Red Prysock on the tenor sax.


Born: July 7, 1916 in Newport News, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Tiny Grimes was one of the earliest jazz electric guitarists to be influenced by Charlie Christian, and he developed his own swinging style. Early on, he was a drummer and worked as a pianist in Washington. In 1938, he started playing electric guitar, and two years later he was playing in a popular jive group, the Cats and the Fiddle. During 1943-1944, Grimes was part of a classic Art Tatum Trio which also included Slam Stewart. In September 1944, he led his first record date, using Charlie Parker;...
Full Bio
1949-1951, Tiny Grimes
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