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Vision Festival 21: Celebrating Henry Grimes

New York City's free jazz fest celebrates 21st anniversary with special artist tribute

The 21st edition of Vision Festival will be presenting free jazz bass player Henry Grimes a Lifetime Achievement Award in tandem with a series of special events celebrating the man and his work. “In the 1950s and 60s, Henry Grimes was recognised both in mainstream and in free jazz performing with a diverse range of artists, from Benny Goodman to Cecil Taylor. Grimes disappeared from the music world for approximately 30 years and made news when he reappeared in 2003 performing at the Vision Festival. The same year, he was nominated Musician of the Year by All About Jazz New York,” states Vision Festival’s announcement. “The aim of the Vision Festival is to keep alive in hearts and minds, all of the idealism, integrity and sense of responsibility that lay at the heart of the creative movements in the 1960s.”

Director of Arts For Art Patricia Nicholson Parker adds, “Henry Grimes exemplifies this idealism and integrity in addition to his artistic achievements. And this is why we chose him to receive the Award.”

Hamid Drake, Whit Dickey and ​Patricia Parker will open the festival on 7 June, followed by Henry Grimes Quartet (featuring Geri Allen, Grimes, ​Graham Haynes and Andrew Cyrille), songs by Lisa Sokolov ​to poems by Henry Grimes (with Karma Mayet Johnson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Grimes and others), and the Henry Grimes Septet (featuring Charles Gayle, Melanie Dyer, Grimes, Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot and Chad Taylor).

Other events on the festival bill include Sun Ra Arkestra 60th Anniversary ​led by Marshall Allen, Poet Quincy Troupen, Mivos Quartet and more.

Vision Festival 21: Celebrating Henry Grimes takes place at New York City Judson Memorial Church from 7–12 June.