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Going to the Ritual

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Album Review

In one of the last recordings before he passed away, drummer Rashied Ali proves with every slash, riff, and paradiddle why he belonged in the pantheon of improvising percussionists well past his time with John Coltrane. In duets with well-matched partner and bassist Henry Grimes, this set shows how locked in these natives of Philadelphia (who never met while they lived there) are with their estimable heritage in making free jazz that still sounds fresh some 50 years after the movement was founded. There's a rambling kind of empathy, focused but rarely intense that is clear from the outset. Hard bop is at the core, particularly when you listen to them dig in and stand their ground during 26 minutes of "Gone Beyond the Gate." It's a magnum opus of freedom in mutated modalities, as Grimes swings like mad on his acoustic upright, and plays his piquant violin, underscored by Ali's underground tapping percussion. When Ali solos, he's energetic yet thoughtful as can be, but together the duo exudes this fascinating low-ebb roar, especially during "This Must Have Always Happened." Grimes is also effective as a bowed bassist, but especially with poetry, giving well-enunciated oratory on the short "Easternal Mysticism, Virtue & Calm," which is certainly a testament to his newfound life after years of obscurity and being ignored. Though more recordings documented on this night at radio station WKCR-FM at Columbia University in New York City are still unreleased, this partial set holds interest, if not commands it, and is an item fans of Ali and Grimes will want to own. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: November 3, 1935 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '00s

After over three decades of being "lost," Henry Grimes made a remarkable comeback. He was born and grew up in Philadelphia, studying violin while in junior high school and also playing tuba a bit in high school before settling permanently on bass. Grimes moved to New York City in the early '50s, studied at Juilliard, and began playing with major jazz musicians. He toured with the bands of Arnett Cobb and Willis Jackson, and spent time back in Philadelphia, where he worked with Bobby Timmons and Lee...
Full Bio
Going to the Ritual, Henry Grimes
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  • $3.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jul 22, 2008

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