Tiny Grimes (g), J.C. Higginbotham (tb), Coleman Hawkins, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Jerome Richardson (saxes), Musa Kaleem (fl), Ray Bryant (p), Earl Wormack, Wendell Marshall (b), Osie Johnson, Art Taylor (d)
Reference: FSRCD 644
Bar code: 8427328606448
Legendary guitarist Tiny Grimes made his big comeback to the jazz/blues recording field in 1958 with these three albums he made for the Prestige/Swingville series. Jazzwise, he had stayed away from the studios for a long time, playing rock n roll in Midwestern nightclubs.
In these fine sessions, the beat and blues-drenched, dirty sound of Tinys guitar is escorted by a group of outstanding jazzmen including pianist Ray Bryant, tenors Coleman Hawkins and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, reedman Jerome Richardson, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Osie Johnson. Where mostif not allguitarists were using six-string models, Tiny continued to use a four-string box. Theres nothing I cant do with the four except maybe in playing rhythm. A lot of the cats today are only using four of their six strings anyway.
This is blues guitar with a fine, rousing sound and the kind of beat that colored the early rock n roll bands, assembled, for the first time ever on CD, as the complete 1958-1959 Tiny Grimes sessions. Enjoy.
"Four-string guitarist Tiny Grimes is best remembered as a member of Art Tatums 1940s trio, and for his 1944 Savoy recordings (Red Cross, Tinys Tempo) with Charlie Parker. In 1947 he formed The Rocking Highlanders, a rock n roll group who wore kilts and tam-o-shanters when they performed in Canada and the Midwest.
Self-taught, Grimes, who admired Charlie Christian and Johnny Smith, was no virtuoso but had nimble fingers and a penetrating sound. In 1958/59 he returned to jazz, making these excellent albums for the Prestige/Swingville series. On Blues Groove, he clearly enjoyed the company of Coleman Hawkins at his magisterial best, and a young but already distinctive Ray Bryant. Four tracks also feature Musa Kaleem (formerly known as Gonga Musa when he played tenor with Art Blakey) on flute. Earl Womack and Teagle Fleming Jr put down a dependable rhythmic pulse throughout. The outstanding track is Grimess composition Marchin Along, a 17-minute work out on the blues, with Hawkins in towering form. A Smooth One and April in Paris receive satisfactory treatment.
Guitar Soul is almost as impressive, with Jaws engaging in friendly jousting with Grimes on Blue Tiny. Unfortunately, J. C. Higginbotham sounds repetitively pedestrian in such inventive mainstream company. Tiny In Swingville has the multi-talented Jerome Richardson on tenor, baritone and flute. He interacts sympathetically with Grimes on Down With It and Durn Tootin, but some of the material Annie Laurie, Frankie And Johnny is beyond redemption.
Not, then, a classic compilation but a hugely enjoyable one. Grimes grants Hawk, Lockjaw, Bryant and Richardson generous solo space, while he underpins the happy proceedings. Informative notes by Ira Gitler and Franklin S. Driggs set the contexts."
-John White (Jazz Journal, April 2015)
"True to its title, the focus here is the blues, as played by a group with an encyclopedic mastery of the genre and an equally impressive depth in swing styles. Leader Tiny Grimes may be playing a four-string guitar, but his Charlie Christian-influenced sound is big, fluid, and expressive. Teamed with Coleman Hawkins' timeless tenor, Grimes performs with passion, skill, and down-home joy.
The impressive lineup also includes pianist Ray Bryant, whose supple technique and easygoing virtuosity fuel the music with relentless drive and eloquent, bluesy solos. Four of the five tracks include Musa Kaleem on flute. Kaleem, known as Gonga Musa when he worked as a tenor player with Art Blakey in the late '40s, contributes an effective counter to Hawkins' smoky tone. Bassist Earl Wormack and drummer Teagle Fleming Jr. are the well-recorded heartbeat in these blues grooves.
The set opens with the leader's 17-minute-plus "Marchin' Along," a mid-tempo blues that affords Grimes, Hawkins, and Bryant each a lengthy stretch of choruses on the tune's basic riff structure. The performances are rounded out by two more good blues from Grimes, Benny Goodman's "A Smooth One" and a memorable version of "April in Paris" that is executed with a light, swinging touch.
This music will appeal to fans of Grimes' vintage electric guitar and to those interested in an opportunity to hear Hawkins take an extended foray into the blues."
Jim Todd -All Music Guide
-Callin' the Blues
"Guitarist Tiny Grimes, who led three albums for Prestige and Swingville from 1958-59, welcomed two extroverted horn players (tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and veteran trombonist J.C. Higginbotham), plus pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Osie Johnson, to his heated session. The group plays three original blues and "Airmail Special." Although J.C., who had a long decline, sounds a bit past his prime, plenty of sparks fly throughout the date, particularly from Grimes and Lockjaw."
-Tiny in Swingville
"Guitarist Tiny Grimes was in a bit of obscurity when he had the opportunity to first record for Prestige in 1958. This particular set was the final of his three Prestige albums and it really puts the focus on Grimes' bluish but swinging guitar playing. With the strong assistance of Jerome Richardson (who is in top form on flute, tenor, and baritone), pianist Ray Bryant, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Art Taylor, Grimes is heard in excellent form on "Annie Laurie," his "Durn Tootin'," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Frankie and Johnnie," and a couple of original blues."
Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide