Grigsby's first on-stage experience came at age 12, when he won a talent show at downtown's Lincoln Theater, which he describes as "a baby Apollo." "I was scared to death," Grigsby says. "But I kept going back."

A stint in the Marines introduced Grigsby to Southern California, and when he finished his time in the service, he relocated to Los Angeles, burrowing into the city's thriving jazz scene of the 1950s and '60s. While there, Grigsby sang with a variety of big bands and smaller ensembles. Eventually, he worked his way up and down the West Coast, and even toured Europe with his old pal Cobb and others.

But by the early '70s, Grigsby -- who had children back in Houston -- was ready to come home. On his return, he found that the environment for jazz in Houston was "kind of shaky," and he was impelled to take a day job selling clothes at the old Battelstein's department store to make ends meet. Before long, though, his on-and-off partnership with Henschen -- which began in the '70s when they played together in the United Nations Sextet -- began to blossom.

Soon, it got to the point where Grigsby could abandon his clothing gig and devote all of his time to making music. Today, he's working harder than he ever has before, performing with Henschen five days a week at venues such as Cezanne, Cent' Anni and the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Given that busy schedule, Grigsby confesses, he's a little out of it before 5 p.m.

"I'm a night person, so I sleep late during the so-called morning," he says. "I can't go to sleep early any more -- you know how it is."

Sure I do -- until it dawns on me that Grigsby is 62.

Etc.... Inner Loop folk heroes de Schmog are making up to break up at Rudyard's Friday. The group is reuniting one last time (promise) for a performance of its tweaked-out rock opera "Fairy Tale" -- and it's no "Humpty Dumpty."

-- Hobart Rowland

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