Tiny Grimes

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Tiny Grimes
Hugues Panassié and Tiny Grimes, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948 (William P. Gottlieb 06711).jpg
Hugues Panassié (left) and Tiny Grimes (right), New York, between 1946 and 1948. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb
Born (1916-07-07)July 7, 1916
Newport News, Virginia, United States
Died March 4, 1989(1989-03-04) (aged 72)
New York, United States

Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes (July 7, 1916 – March 4, 1989)[1] was an American 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, and later led his own bands, including a recording session with Charlie Parker. He is notable for playing the tenor guitar, a four-stringed electric instrument.


Grimes was born in Newport News, Virginia, United States,[1] and began his musical career playing drums and one-fingered piano. In 1938 he took up the electric 4-string tenor guitar. In 1940 he joined The Cats and the Fiddle as guitarist and singer.[1] In 1943 he joined the Art Tatum Trio as guitarist and made a number of recordings with Tatum. The early Tatum Trio recordings contain 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 with a long list of leading musicians, including vocalist Billie Holiday. He made four recordings with his own group augmented 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 Just The Same", the latter two featuring Grimes' singing. He was one of the 52d street regulars.

In the late 1940s, he had a hit on a jazzed-up version of "Loch Lomond", with the band billed as Tiny "Mac" Grimes and the Rocking Highlanders[1] and appearing in kilts. This groups included top tenor saxman Red Prysock and singer Screaming Jay Hawkins. Grimes continued to lead his own groups into the later 1970s 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 including, in 1977, Earl Hines.[2]

With Paul Williams, he co-headlined the first Moondog Coronation Ball, promoted by Alan Freed in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 1952, often claimed as the first rock and roll concert.[3] In 1953 he may have played on The Crows one-hit wonder, "Gee", that has been called the first original rock and roll record by an R&B group.[4]

Grimes died in March 1989, in New York, from meningitis, at the age of 72.[1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Art Tatum

  • Art Tatum Trio: Piano Solos With Rhythm Accompaniment (Brunswick #BL-58013, 1950)
  • The Complete Trio Sessions With Tiny Grimes & Slam Stewart, Vol. 1 (Official #3001, 1988)
  • The Complete Trio Sessions With Tiny Grimes & Slam Stewart, Vol. 2 (Official #3002, 1988)
  • Trio Days (Charly-LeJazz #CD43, 1999) CD - note: all material by the Tatum trio recorded in 1944.

With Charlie Parker

  • The Complete Savoy Studio Sessions (Savoy #SJL-5500, 1978) 5LP set - note: includes the 4 tracks that Tiny's quartet recorded with Bird in 1944: Tiny's Tempo, I'll Always Love You Just The Same, Romance Without Finance (Is a Nuisance), Red Cross.
  • The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes (Savoy #17149, 2002) 3CD set - note: a new "remastered" release that also includes the 4 tracks with Tiny's quartet from 1944.

With Billie Holiday

  • Billie's Blues (Blue Note #48786, 1988) CD - note: includes the 4 tracks that Tiny's sextet recorded with Miss Holiday for Aladdin in 1951: Detour Ahead, Be Fair To Me, Rocky Mountain Blues, Blue Turning Grey Over You.

With Coleman Hawkins

  • Hawk Eyes (Prestige #7156, 1959; Swingville #2039; OJC #294)

With Illinois Jacquet

With Jay McShann

  • Jumpin' Blues (Disques Black And Blue #33.039, 1970)
  • Jumpin' The Blues (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions) (Black & Blue #BB-979, 2004) CD

With Earl "Fatha" Hines

  • An Evening With Earl Hines: Live At Dinklers Motor Inn (Chiaroscuro #CR-116, 1973; Vogue #VDJ-534, 1977) 2LP set
  • Earl Hines Quartet (Chiaroscuro #CR-169, 1977)


  • The Cats & The Fiddle: I Miss You So (Bluebird #AXM2-5531, 1976) 2LP set
  • The Complete Blue Note Forties Recordings Of Ike Quebec And John Hardee (Mosaic #MR4-107, 1984) 4LP set
  • Rockin' And Sockin' (Oldie Blues #OL-8009, 1985)
  • Tiny Grimes And His Rocking Highlanders: Loch Lomond (Whiskey, Women, And... #KM-706, 1986)
  • Tiny Grimes And His Rocking Highlanders: Rock The House 1947-1953 (Swingtime #ST-1016, 1987)
  • Tiny Grimes And His Rocking Highlanders (Riverboat #900.261, 198?)
  • Tiny Grimes And His Rocking Highlanders, Volume One (Krazy Kat #KK-804, 1986; Collectables #5304, 1990)
  • Tiny Grimes And His Rocking Highlanders, Volume Two (Krazy Kat #KK-817, 1986; Collectables #5317, 1990)
  • Tiny Grimes And Friends [including The Cats & The Fiddle] (Collectables #5321, 1990)
  • Electric Guitar Master 1944-1947 (EPM Musique #159372, 1999) CD
  • The Chronological Tiny Grimes 1944-1949 (Classics 'Blues & Rhythm Series' #5048, 2003) CD - note: recordings made for the Savoy, Blue Note, and Atlantic labels.
  • The Chronological Tiny Grimes 1949-1951 (Classics 'Blues & Rhythm Series' #5106, 2004) CD - note: recordings made for the Gotham label.
  • The Chronological Tiny Grimes 1951-1954 (Classics 'Blues & Rhythm Series' #5146, 2005) CD - note: recordings made for the United, Gotham, Atlantic, Red Robin, and Apollo labels.
  • The Complete Tiny Grimes, Vol. 1: 1944-1946 (Blue Moon #6005, 2004) CD
  • The Complete Tiny Grimes, Vol. 2: 1947-1950 (Blue Moon #6006, 2004) CD
  • The Complete Tiny Grimes, Vol. 3: 1950 (Blue Moon #6007, 2004) CD
  • The Complete Tiny Grimes, Vol. 4: 1950-1953 (Blue Moon #6008, 2004) CD
  • The Complete Tiny Grimes, Vol. 5: 1953-1954 (Blue Moon #6009, 2004) CD
  • Blues Groove 1958-1959 (Fresh Sound #FSRCD-644, 2011) 2CD set


  1. ^ a b c d e Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed September 2010
  2. ^ "An Evening With Earl Hines": with Tiny Grimes, Hank Young, Bert Dollander and Marva Josie: Vogue VDJ-534, 1977
  3. ^ Sheerin, Jude (March 21, 2012). "How the world's first rock concert ended in chaos". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ Jim Dawson, & Steve Propes (1992). What Was the First Rock'n'Roll Record. Boston & London: Faber & Faber. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-571-12939-0. 

External links[edit]