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Clip: Henry Grimes and Marshall Allen in Pittsburgh

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  • Carl Zimring
    Marshall Allen must like Pittsburgh; the Arkestra s show there a couple of years ago ranks with the best shows I ever saw in town. This looks like a splendid
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2005
      Marshall Allen must like Pittsburgh; the Arkestra's show there a couple of
      years ago ranks with the best shows I ever saw in town. This looks like a
      splendid bill, including the opening act.

      Carl Z.


      Henry Grimes and Marshall Allen
      Call It a Comeback

      Writer: MANNY THEINER

      How long can immense talent lay dormant, like Mount St. Helens, and still
      burst back to life? The Guinness Book record just might have been set by
      Henry Grimes, who was discovered three years ago by Athens, Ga., jazz
      enthusiast Marshall Marrotte. Grimes, a Julliard graduate who had been one
      of the premier jazz bassists in the late ’50s and early ’60s, was living in
      an squalid hotel in downtown Los Angeles and hadn’t touched his instrument
      in nearly 30 years, merely because he couldn’t afford to buy one.

      William Parker, the New York-based bassist who is one of the leading lights
      of the current generation of forward-thinking jazz, came to the man’s
      rescue, finding him a bass and ensuring that Grimes could move to the East
      Coast and rejoin the scene which had long forgotten his muscular prowess,
      knowing him only through such milestone recordings as Albert Aylers’
      Witches and Devils, Don Cherry’s Symphony for Improvisers and Cecil
      Taylor’s Conquistador. Having worked in that seminal period with everyone
      from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane to Benny Goodman, Grimes probably
      had more than his share of stories to tell.

      But his bass playing told the real tale. Grimes’ initial comeback gigs at
      the Vision Festival caused jaws to drop, and contemporary cats were soon
      clamoring to play with jazz’s apparent Rip Van Winkle, now at the top of
      his game. One momentous combo united Grimes with loft-era sax giant David
      Murray and Chicago drummer Hamid Drake (known for his work with Ken
      Vandermark and Peter Brotzmann).

      Grimes proceeded to tear up the New York scene, and then moved on to
      astonish Europe, although an even more titanic pairing was yet to come. One
      of the few current living jazz musicians who could match Grimes’
      avant-garde depth was Marshall Allen, who led the Sun Ra Arkestra reed
      section for 40 years, recorded over 200 albums with the band, and then took
      over the direction of the group in 1995 when Ra and John Gilmore both
      departed the earthly plane. A pioneer of world music, invented instruments
      and progressive jazz in his own right, Allen’s collaboration with Grimes
      should prove nothing short of legendary. If there’s one jazz show this year
      that you absolutely shouldn’t miss, this is it.

      Henry Grimes and Marshall Allen with Thoth Trio. 7 p.m. Sun., Mar. 6. Brew
      House, 2100 Mary Street, South Side. 412-381-7767.
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