URBANA — The new Sudden Sound Artist Residency on the University of Illinois campus this week will feature Henry Grimes, a legendary bass player and pioneer of the early 1960s jazz avant-garde.
The residency expands the Sudden Sound Concert Series presented by Krannert Art Museum and curated by Jason Finkelman to allow for greater interaction between audiences and the artists, Finkelman said.
The events with Grimes will take place Tuesday through Friday and are free and open to the public. The schedule:
— 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, C, a solo performance by Grimes and a discussion moderated by UI School of Music Professor Gabriel Solis as an introduction to the music and poetry of Grimes.
— 8 p.m. Wednesday, Room 25, Smith Memorial Hall, 805 S. Mathews Ave., U, a performance workshop with the artist. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments.
— 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Krannert Art Museum, Sudden Sound concert featuring Grimes in a duet with drummer-percussionist Avreeayl Ra, a longtime member and performing artist of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
— 1 p.m. Friday, Room 25, Smith Memorial Hall. Grimes concludes his residency with an appearance in the Jazz Forum.
Grimes, who performs on bass and violin, received his musical education at the Mastbaum School in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York City. He was featured in the late '50s alongside jazz giants Thelonious Monk, Benny Goodman and Sonny Rollins.
Grimes then pioneered the jazz avant-garde movement of the early '60s, anchoring the sound of Albert Ayler's seminal groups while also performing and recording with the likes of Archie Shepp and Cecil Taylor.
An unfortunate late '60s road tour to the West Coast left Grimes' bass damaged beyond what he could afford to repair. Selling his bass, he faded out of the music world and was long presumed dead.
In 2002, a jazz-loving social worker discovered Grimes was alive and well in Los Angeles. Word soon reached progressive jazz circles, and bassist William Parker sent Grimes an instrument in December 2002. The gift renewed Grimes' career.
Since then, Grimes has played more than 500 concerts worldwide as a soloist and with today's leading progressive jazz artists including Marshall Allen, Marc Ribot and Marilyn Crispell. His performances have been featured in 28 countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and through most of the United States and Canada. Grimes has won numerous awards and has had several residencies, workshops, and classes at educational institutions including the Berklee College of Music, CalArts and the University of Michigan.
The Grimes engagements are sponsored by UI Jazz Studies Program, Department of African American Studies, Department of English, and Department of Dance.
Sudden Sound Concerts are sponsored in part by the Edwards Foundation Arts Fund, Analog Outfitters and Krannert Art Museum, with in-kind support provided by WEFT 90.1-FM.
The Sudden Sound Concert series was established at the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion in January 2005 by Finkelman, director of global arts performance initiatives at the UI. For more information on Sudden Sound programming, visit kam.illinois.edu. For more information on Grimes, go to henrygrimes.com.