Tiny Grimes


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photograph of Tiny Grimes

Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes (July 7, 1916 in Newport News, Virginia - March 4, 1989) was a jazz and R&B guitarist. He was a member of the Art Tatum Trio from 1943 to 1944, was a backing musician on recording sessions by Charlie Parker and others, and later led his own bands. He is notable for playing the tenor guitar, a four-stringed instrument. It was a step up from his original career as a one-finger pianist.

Grimes began his musical career playing drums and piano. In 1938 he took up the electric 4-string tenor guitar. In 1940 he joined the Cats And A Fiddle as guitarist and singer. In 1943 he joined the Art Tatum Trio as guitarist and made a number of recordings with Tatum. The early Tatum Trio recordings some of the more interesting early examples of Tiny Grimes’ guitar work.

After leaving Tatum, Grimes recorded with his own groups in New York and he recorded with a long list of leading musicians, including vocalist Billie Holiday. He made four recordings with Charlie Parker that are considered excellent examples of early bebop jazz: "Tiny’s Tempo", "Red Cross", "Romance Without Finance", and "I’ll Always Love You". He was one of the 52d street regulars.

In the late 1940s, he had a hit on a jazzed up version of "Loch Lomond". His band was billed as Tiny "Mac" Grimes and the Rocking Highlanders and appeared in kilts. This groups included top tenor saxman Red Prysock and big-voiced baritone singer Screaming Jay Hawkins. Grimes continued to lead his own groups into the later 1970’s and he recorded on Prestige Records in a series of strong blues-based performances with Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet, Pepper Adams, Roy Eldridge and other noted players.

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