Henry Grimes disappeared from the jazz scene in 1969. His obit ran in 1984. In 2002 he re-emerged. This is a film about his life, and music
Henry Grimes played with John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Don Cherry, and Ornette Coleman, each one an acknowledged giant of jazz. Then, at the age of 31, he stopped playing music, and disappeared. In 1984 Cadence magazine reported the vibrant bassist had died, an early end to a brilliant career.
Thing is, Grimes wasn't dead.
Grimes made it out of South Philly by way of music. He studied at Juilliard with famed New York Philharmonic double bassist Fred Zimmerman. But rather than stick with the classical style he had been trained in, Henry sought a different sound. At the age of 22 he played Newport Jazz festival, backing up Thelonious Monk. But it was his meeting with Albert Ayler, that changed the face of Jazz. Ayler was brewing up new sounds, heaped on Ornette Coleman's previous excursions in sound he labeled free jazz. Free Jazz ,as played by Ayler, and Grimes, was so influential, it was the music Coltrane made at the end of his life.
In 1969, at the height of his prowess, having toured the world and and recorded his first session as a leader, Grimes disappeared. For the next 33 years he lived in skid row in Los Angeles, working as a custodian. But this isn't another story of destruction at the hands of addiction. No, it's the redemptive story of a spectacular musician who did not allow himself to become stranded on the rocky hardships life dealt him, the story of a man who never gave up.
Without a bass, Grimes did more than make do, he explored poetry, and metaphysics, and kept on educating himself. And when his second chance came, he clutched it to his chest like a life raft.
Henry's influence is wide spread. Some people don't know him by name, but have heard his work on sessions by jazz luminaries like Sonny Rollins, and Cecil Taylor, and newer explorers like former Tom Waits guitarist Marc Ribot, Marshall Allen of Sun Ra's Arkestra and Dave Douglas, who's played with everyone from John Zorn to Rufus Wainwright.
While much of the work has been done, the film has a way to go. Based on an article by Hank Cherry with photos by Brendan Bannon, we're making this movie in accordance with Henry and his wife. We have shot some live footage and some interviews. We need to film more! We have access to three different jazz archives from the 60's, as well as the muscians and labels he works with today. We'd like to get this movie finished by 2011, and start shopping it to festivals, so time is of the essence.
Henry has recently returned from a European tour with Marc Ribot, and will be touring in September and October, playing jazz festivals in Guelph Ontario, and Los Angeles California. We intend to cover the tour, and both festivals. The money you pledge will let us capture these events, filming Henry live and up close, and also, those who know him best, covering the cost of crew transportation to interviews, equipment rental, and housing while on location. Even if you don't know about his music, his story is dynamite, universal, and hopeful. Help us cast Henry's spell, and spread his music.
Henry Grimes lives and works in New York City.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Thanks!! We'll mention you on the website for the film and send you an email of thanks explaining how the film is coming along and what your help will offer us.
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a picture postcard signed by Brendan Bannon and a facsimile of a page of the notes for the article that inspired the film. DVDR featuring short live performance we shot of Henry Grimes
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A home made mix tape of music used for the film and an 8 x 12 print of a photo of Henry Grimes
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Music from the movie, and a quality 11 x 14 print jazz portrait of Henry Grimes by Brendan Bannon
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Copy of Music from Film, a Jazz Portrait print photo of Henry Grimes, and a copy of the kick starter trailer, and a copy of that article.
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Copy of Music from Film, an Jazz Portrait print photo of Henry Grimes, and a copy of the kick starter trailer. A copy of the article the filmmakers made that got the film started, and a facsimile of all the notes the article was based on signed by Hank Cherry
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All of that plus an hour long phone or skype conversation with the filmmaker of your choice, Hank Cherry - writer director, Brendan Bannon Director Cinemtagrapher, Jeremy Hoar Cinematographer, Editor.
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all of that plus a special thanks credit in the film
- (54 days)