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Tiny Grimes, inventor of "rock and roll"

Tiny Grimes (1916 – 1989) began his musical career playing drums and piano. In 1938 he took up the guitar choosing the unusual 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 made for the Asch and Comet recording labels are some of the more interesting early examples of Tiny Grimes’ guitar work.

Tiny Grimes is the inventor of "rock and roll". Listen to "Tiny's Boogie" (MP3), recorded at WOR studios on August 14, 1946, possibly the very first "rock and roll" recording.

After leaving Tatum, Grimes recorded with his own groups in New York and he recorded with a long list of leading musicians; Ike Quebec, Cozy Cole, Leonard Feather and Buck Clayton, among others. He was also selected to record with the famous Metronome All Star Band and appears on the recording Look Out, on which he shared the guitar duties with Billy Bauer.

During this time 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.

Tiny Grimes continued to lead his own groups into the later 1970’s and he recorded with Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet and Roy Eldridge.


Photo copyright Classic Jazz Guitar
Our first contact to Tiny Grimes was as we bought his record with Roy Eldridge "One Is Never Too Old To Swing". This 1977 album was re-released as CD in 1990 and had found its way to the "Super Bargain box" from where it floated to Sini's hand in 1992. The price was 5 FIM, around 1 USD.

TinyThe music was just great and it became soon our most cherished disc, and we just managed to order through Amazon four other recordings by Tiny Grimes. The CDs are mainly remasterings mainly from the 40s and contain some new, previously unreleased titles and takes. Over hilarous are the "Rocking Highlanders" as the band is dressed in scottish style witk kilts and all as you can see. This was in the late 40s and early 50s, so it was not totally risk free. But the joke was understood as there seems not to be any writing about any problems.

So our Friend, take some time and listen to the excepts available in the net.  Tiny

We guarantee that it is worth the trouble,

Real audio - excerpts
TinyI'm Singing (The Cats and the Fiddle, 1941)
TinyI know that you know (Art Tatum Trio, 1943)
TinyOn the sunny side of the street (Art Tatum Trio, 1943)
TinyIf I had you (Art Tatum Trio, 1943)
TinyDetour ahead(Billie Holiday/Tiny Grimes Sextet, 1951)
TinyRomance without finance (One Is Never Too Old To Swing, 1977)


Check Tiny in the Web

(A hilarious remembrance by Tony Gieske)

Look also YouTube-videos

Our Records
One Is Never Too Old To Swing, 1990
Tiny Grimes and Friends, 1990
Tiny Grimes and His Rocking Highlanders, Vol I, 1990
Tiny Grimes and His Rocking Highlanders, Vol II, 1990
The Cats Will Swing For You (The Cats & the Fiddle), 2003

Tiny Tiny

If you look carefully, you see the word young in the right CD's title. The layout is similar (our CD's color originally was also blue). What is the story behind this???

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Last change 08.08.2007 20:38