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Tiny Grimes

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Tiny Grimes
Hugues Panassié (left) Red Prysock (middle) and Tiny Grimes (right), New York City, c. 1946–1948, photograph by William P. Gottlieb
Hugues Panassié (left) Red Prysock (middle) and Tiny Grimes (right), New York City, c. 1946–1948, photograph by William P. Gottlieb
Background information
Birth nameLloyd Grimes
Born(1916-07-07)July 7, 1916
Newport News, Virginia, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 1989(1989-03-04) (aged 72)
New York City
Instrument(s)Tenor guitar

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 electric tenor guitar, a four-stringed instrument.


Grimes was born in Newport News, Virginia, United States,[1] and began his musical career playing drums and one-fingered piano.[2] In 1938 he took up the electric four-string tenor guitar.[2] 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.[2]

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: "Tiny's Tempo", "Red Cross", "Romance Without Finance", and "I'll Always Love You Just the Same", the latter two featuring Grimes' singing.

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 group included tenor saxman Red Prysock and singer Screamin' 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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



  1. ^ a b c d e "The Dead Rock Stars Club - The 1980s". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Blues (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 154. ISBN 0-85112-673-1.
  3. ^ "An Evening With Earl Hines": with Tiny Grimes, Hank Young, Bert Dollander and Marva Josie: Vogue VDJ-534, 1977
  4. ^ Sheerin, Jude (March 21, 2012). "How the world's first rock concert ended in chaos". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  5. ^ 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.

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