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Monday 14 May 2012

Flying Home Parts 1 and 2 – Tiny Grimes’ Swingtet (Blue Note 524)

Recorded at WOR Studios, NYC on August 14th, 1946. Personnel: Trummy Young (tb); John Hardee (ts); Marlowe Morris (p); Tiny Grimes (g); Jimmy Butts (b); Eddie Nicholson (d)

With thanks to El Enmascarado for his rips and scans from this Blue Note 78 rpm disc.

Before guitarist Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes was issuing those great jump blues singles on the Atlantic label and before he had renamed his group “The Rocking Highlanders”, dressing them in kilts and Tam O’Shanters, and yea, well before he was recording even more jump blues and backing the likes of J.B. Summers, Haji Baba and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on Gotham, our hero was one cool dude on the New York jazz scene.

He was a late starter on the four string guitar, having commenced his musical career on the piano and as a tap dancer. In 1940, not long after taking up the guitar, he joined the already successful jive group The Cats & The Fiddle. From there he joined the illustrious pianist Art Tatum and bass player Slam Stewart to form the Art Tatum Trio. Inevitably his guitar playing improved greatly in such company and in 1944 Tiny formed his own group. While with the trio he had become a fixture on the New York jazz club scene and he was soon picking up recording work with Ike Quebec, Coleman Hawkins and Hot Lips Page.

Tiny’s first session as a leader (for Savoy in September 1944) has gone down in jazz history as Charlie Parker (who had been jamming with Tiny’s band at the Downbeat Club) was on alto sax. To round off the session the group recorded Parker’s “Red Cross”, an instrumental based on the chords of “I Got Rhythm” which is considered an important step in the development of be-bop.

After the Parker session, Tiny was on sessions on various labels with Ike Quebec, Coleman Hawkins, Hot Lips Page, Cozy Cole, Billie Holiday, Earl Bostic, John Hardee and Buck Clayton. In August 1946, Tiny finally got another session as a band leader with jazz label Blue Note. Two singles resulted from the session – the two-parter “Flying Home” and “’C’ Jam Blues” / “Tiny’s Boogie Woogie.”

Tiny Grimes circa 1948 - William Gottlieb collection
Tiny’s move towards R&B started 2 months later when his group backed blues shouter Gatemouth Moore on National, and the trend continued the following year when Tiny’s band backed Walter Brown on a cover of “Open The Door, Richard” on Signature. At the very end of 1947 Tiny’s group started recording for the new Atlantic label, but we shall leave that part of the story for another post!

Listen to “Red Cross” featuring Charlie Parker and “Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning” by Gatemouth Moore with the Tiny Grimes Swingtet -

Red Cross (Savoy 532). Recorded NYC, September 15th, 1944. Personnel: Tiny Grimes (g); Charlie Parker (as); Clyde Hart (p); Jimmy Butts (b); Doc West (d)

Nobody Knows The Way I Feel This Morning (National 4015). Recorded NYC, October 25th, 1946. Personnel: Gatemouth Moore (vcl); Russell Royster (tpt); Herman Flintall (as); John Hardee (ts); Sam Benskin (p); Tiny Grimes (g); Al Raglin (b); Eddie Nicholson (d)

Tiny's tenor sax man - John Hardee c 1947 William Gottlieb collection

Dan Kochakian & Dave Penny - Tiny Grimes Discography Part 1, Blues & Rhythm Magazine, No. 228, April 2008

Dan Morgenstern - sleeve notes to “The Changing Face of Harlem: The Savoy Sessions” Savoy Jazz 2LP set, SJL 2208, 1976

Claude Carrière - sleeve notes to “Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 1” Savoy LP, WL70520, 1984

Dapper Tiny - NYC c 1948 William Gottlieb collection 


Anonymous said...

This version of Flying Home is a barn-burner! I dig the Tiny/Charlie Parker stuff, too. Red Cross made me think of Romance Without Finance- the hep vocal from that session. "Oh baby- please give up that gold!" Great stuff...

Anonymous said...

Great swingin' 'bop'pin' stuff - I had no idea - and it's wonderful hearing the original 78s.

boogiewoody said...

Romance Without Finance is one of my favourites too. "Hep vocal" describes it nicely! You can download it from way back in the blog at:

That was the old NME cassette "Stompin' at the Savoy" I posted way back in September 2007 when Be Bop Wino was born. Where has the time gone?