Tiny Grimes


Callin' The Blues

  • Release Date: 26 Sep 1994
  • OJCCD-191-2

The blues--fast, slow, and boogie--are treated here with the proper irreverent respect, resulting in a soul-healing elixir to be ingested as an antidote to the blahs or any of the other spiritual afflictions known to man. Guitarist Grimes and pianist Ray Bryant are strong interpreters of the blues and the powerful horns of tenorist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and trombonist J.C. Higginbotham are also well-propelled by the tough rhythm team of Wendell Marshall and Osie Johnson. The presenc… MORE


Guitarist Tiny Grimes was associated during the 1940s with some of the most important musicians of the era, including Art Tatum and Charlie… More



One of the first electric guitarists to emerge after Charlie Christian, Tiny Grimes (1916-1989) had a style that mixed together the influence of Christian with his own bluesy approach.

Grimes was originally a drummer and he worked professionally as a pianist. He first picked up the electric guitar in 1938 and in 1940 joined The Cats And A Fiddle. Grimes came to the jazz world’s attention during 1943-1945 when he was part of the Art Tatum Trio, faring well while playing with the remarkable pianist. Grimes headed his first record date in September 1944, a session that featured the young Charlie Parker.

Tiny Grimes led an r&b-oriented band called the Rockin’ Highlanders during 1948-1952, featuring Red Prysock on tenor. After that popular group broke up, Grimes went into obscurity for a few years living in Cleveland and Philadelphia. He made a comeback in 1958 when he realized that mainstream swing had become popular again.

The guitarist led three record dates for Prestige and Swingville during 1958-1959. Blues Groove matches him with the great tenor Coleman Hawkins and includes “Soul Station” and the Charlie Christian–associated “A Smooth One.” Callin’ the Blues is a somewhat riotous affair with trombonist J.C. Higginbotham and tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, while Tiny in Swingville is a quintet outing with the reeds of Jerome Richardson. Pianist Ray Bryant is a major asset on all three albums.

Tiny Grimes had a low profile during much of his later career although he recorded several fine sets in the 1970s. He remained active up until his 1989 death, never altering his classic swing-to-bop guitar style.