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.
But then, in 1967 when he was just 31, Henry Grimes disappeared completely from the jazz scene. Decades passed and he became one of jazz's most prominent missing persons. He was long presumed dead because no one in jazz heard a word from him. So in 2002, it was a major surprise when Grimes was discovered living in a hotel in South Central Los Angeles, where he had resided for the past 20 years. After becoming frustrated with the music world, Grimes had spontaneously driven to San Fransisco with drummer Clarence Becton. He hocked his bass,which had become weathered after being strapped to the car roof and crossing the desert, and was afterward essentially unaware of the musical developments of the past 35 years. Grimes was discovered by Marshall Marrotte, a social worker and writer, and was soon interviewed by Sound to Noise magazine. Word went out that Henry Grimes was alive, basically well but destitute, and desiring to play bass again. William Parker sent him a bass in December 2002 and since then, Grimes has regained his form and begun to play in public again. He has played at Billy Higgins' World Stage and the Jazz Bakery in addition to several other clubs in the Los Angeles area, appeared at the Vision Festival in New York, and began teaching an improvisation class at a local high school. His comeback was one of the great jazz stories of 2003, an unlikely case of a missing figure suddenly re-emerging on the jazz scene after a 35-year "vacation." He began playing dates and festivals around the world, released several new recordings, took up the violin, and even published a volume of Signs Along the Road. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi