Hall of Fame - Jimmy Grove
James (Jimmy) E. Grove III (1925 - 2001) was born in Miller, South Dakota on May 26, 1925. He lived with his parents and younger brother in a number of cities in Nebraska including Lincoln.
Jimmy grew up in Des Moines, Iowa a city that was on the national big band circuit in the 1930’s. All of the best bands came through there playing at one or another of three large Des Moines ballrooms. Jimmy as a kid, played both piano and clarinet, (learning the piano from his mother, a music teacher) and clarinet in the junior high school band. He loved all the big bands that came through Des Moines. He loved the Count Basie Orchestra the best. “Basie had the greatest big band that ever came through Des Moines” he would say. The best that ever was, even up to Basie’s death on April 26, 1984.
The Grove family moved to Austin in 1942 and Jimmy finished his senior year at Austin High School in 1943. He had already been playing gigs with bands since he was 15 years old and when he moved to Austin, he filled the piano spot left vacant by Red Camp, who had just gone off to war.
Jimmy had planned to be a newsman but by the time he got the offer he was married and earning so much money as a musician he couldn’t change jobs. He worked in Austin as a musician and at the J.R. Reed Music store for many years. From the time he moved to Austin, Texas from Des Moines, Iowa, Austinites who saw Jimmy Grove on the bandstand knew they were going to hear great music from whatever band in which he was playing. He was honored in January 1997 by his peers with a roast at which he was proclaimed “Austin’s finest musician and band leader for over fifty years. Suring his career, he was an inspiration to many young aspiring Austin musicians. His dry wit and sense of humor delighted all who knew him. Jimmy Grove died peacefully at home on May 11, 2001 surrounded by family and friends.