Lloyd (Tiny) Grimes, who taught himself to play guitar and then became known for his work as a sideman with Art Tatum and Charlie Parker, died of meningitis Saturday at age 72 at a New York City hospital.
Grimes’ solos on his four-string electric guitar during the middle 1940s, when his band, the Rocking Highlanders, recorded behind blues singers, set a standard for early rock ‘n’ roll guitarists.
Born in Newport News, Va., Grimes first taught himself piano and then guitar. He played in amateur shows around Washington and then professionally at the Rhythm Club in New York City. He was playing at a club in California when he met Tatum and then bassist Slam Stewart.
During a yearlong association with pianist Tatum that started in 1943, Grimes also collaborated with such other jazz greats as Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Buck Clayton. In 1944, he recorded with saxophonist Parker in some of his earliest efforts.
In recent years, Grimes had performed at clubs in Manhattan.