Henry Grimes Trio - Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival

Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta

At times, people disappear for a good reason, only to reappear down the line with a renewed sense of purpose. Such was the case with bassist Henry Grimes. He disappeared very mysteriously at the tail end of the 60's, only to be found a couple of years back living in a motel in Los Angeles. He was as far removed from music when he was found as one can ever be.

William Parker gave him a bass, and lo and behold, he's back playing to packed houses again. It feels almost as if he never disappeared.

"Live at The Kerava Jazz Festival" is Henry Grimes first proper album as a leader since "The Call" [ESP] which dates back to mid 60's. What a return to form it is!
The trio is a powerhouse, where along with Grimes on bass [of course]; he's joined by David Murray on tenor and bass clarinet, along with percussionist Hamid Drake. Henry's bass playing is absolutely earth-shuttering. It's true, he can make building move and rumble. The deep plucking on "Spin", where he takes an extended solo is mesmerizing.
Hamid Drake acts as a very solid partner to Henry's lead. He concentrates on shimmering cymbal work and in effect gives the trio a sense of forward-looking motion.
In effect, David Murray almost steals the spotlight away from the leader. His tenor work is truly robust, as he works out to the extreme on every piece. His version of "Flowers for Albert" [one of two Murray originals; the other being presented here is Blues for Savanah"] nearly steals the show. In every sense of the word, this is the finest work I'd heard David Murray do since 1979's "3D Family" [hathut], where interestingly enough he was leading an adventurous trio of his own. Depending on how you look at it, this is a showcase for David Murray as well [and it's good that he hasn't forgotten his Ayler roots]].

It's only January, and as much as I hate to do this early on in the year, I'll cast my vote now. I have just heard the record of 2005.