Work samples

  • THEINNERHARBORSHOTforBakerArtist.png
    A Tribute To Baltimore

About Carl Gordon

Baltimore City
Carl Gordon Grubbs, alto, soprano and tenor saxophonist - composer, educator, recording artist is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received early extensive training from John Coltrane, who was married to his first cousin, Naima. Through his family, he was close to many of the history-making jazz musicians of the 1950's and 1960's. With his brother, Earl Grubbs, he formed The Visitors, a quintet that recorded four albums for the Muse record company in the early 1970's. Carl Grubbs is a… more

Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore

The amazing jazz saxophonist Carl Grubbs debuted Inner Harbor Suite Revisited, a musical love letter to Baltimore. This re-imagined composition allowed Mr. Grubbs to experiment with a jazz/classical fusion and assemble an incredible group of musicians . . . the strings added a different feel and more colors to the music, notably on the tune “By and By,” which became a dramatic, bluesy, waltzing lullaby vividly bringing visions of the Inner Harbor to life. Grubbs’ fierce blowing on “Saturn,” one of his signature tunes, was a highlight, and “Barbara Dear” featured tenderly blown harmonies by Grubbs on a tune honoring his wife, Barbara..

Community Projects: Jazz Camps for Kids - Jazz Improvisation Workshops

Carl Grubbs, co-founder of Contemporary Arts Inc.. Carl is the Camp Director for two summer camps for youth ages 4 - 17 in Maryland. SAX: Music & Dance Camp Program, now in its 13th year on the campus of Loyola College in Maryland, August 3 - 14, 2009, offers instrumental, vocal and dance instruction to participants. The Summer Arts Academy: Music at Hammond High School in Columbia, MD will be held July 6 - 17, 2009.

Over the years Carl Grubbs has conducted jazz improvisations for local musicians. He also conducts jazz improvisation for musicians of all levels as he travels in other area of the United States and other countries.
  • 2007 SAX Participants, Staff & Visiting Artist
    SAX Camp participants, staff and visiting artist at Closing Performance under the direction of Carl Grubbs on the campus of Loyola College in Maryland in the McManus Theater. Participants received certificates of achievement in the areas of their interest. Visiting Artist: Christopher Sullivan, Bassist
  • SAX Camp Ensemble
    Carl Grubbs directs beginning horns at the Closng Performance held on the campus of Loyola College in Maryland
  • 2008 SAX Closing Remarks
    Shown here are Joan Flynn of The Office of Terrance Sawyer, V.P. and Carl Grubbs. Joan Flynn greeted the audience and provided congratulatory remarks to SAX participants and their families. Ms. Flynn provided Certificates of Achievement for each participant and volunteer.
  • SAX: Dance Participants
    SAX: Music & Dance Camp Dance participants under the direction of Olu Jomo at Closing Performance 2008 on the campus of Loyola College in Marland
  • Music Arts Academy - Columbia, MD
    Shown here is Carl Grubbs, Soprano Sax, performing with the participants of the Music Arts Academy during the Closing Performance held at Hammond High School.
  • Carl Grubbs Jazz Band Director
    The St. Paul School Jazz Band under the direction of Carl Grubbs performed jazz standards and original tunes at their year-end concert. The concert was held in the Ward Center on the campus of The St. Paul School in Brooklandville, MD.
  • Sweetie
    Acrylic and ink on paper. 8 1/2 x 11
  • Jazz Improvisation Workshop
    Musicians of all ages participated in this dynamic jazz improvisation workshop conducted by Carl Grubbs in Medellin, Colombia, South America. The group was varied in instrumentation.

Carl Grubbs Ensemble Live

Carl Grubbs Ensembles perform in various venues in the Baltimore area and in other cities of the US.
  • The Visitors
    The Visitors (Earl & Carl Grubbs) formed in Philadelphia. The group recorded four albums on Muse label in the early 70's. Shown here: Earl Grubbs, Tenor Sax & Soprano Sax Carl Grubbs, Alto Sax Sid Simmons, Piano Ed Crocket, Bass John Goldsmith, Drums Warren Carter, Trumpet
  • Carl Grubbs Ensemble in Colombia, SA
    Carl Grubbs, Saxophones Alvin Terry, Drums Elmer Gibson, Piano Cheney Thomas, Bass
  • Carl Grubbs Ensemble in Colombia
    The Ensemble was treated to lunch with representative of The Mobil Corporation who sponsored the concert. Show here are: Carl Grubbs, Barbara Grubbs, Alvin Terry and Cheney Thomas.
  • Carl Grubbs Live at Twins
    Carl Grubbs, Saxophones Lafayette Gilchrist, Piano David Lowe, Bass Aaron Walker, Drums
  • Live at Twins Lounge in D.C.
    Carl Grubbs Live at Twins Lounge in Washington, D.C.
  • Live at Montpelier Cultural Arts Center, Laurel, MD
    Carl Grubbs Ensemble performed original tunes from his latest album, "Brother Soul" and jazz standards. Carl Grubbs, Saxophones Aaron Graves, Piano David Lowe, Bass Aaron Walker, Drums Fred Moss, Guitar
  • Carl Grubbs & Lafayette Gilchrist, Maryland Mastersw
    2008 Maryland Masters - Recipients of the Achievement in Living Traditions and Arts Award. Master Carl Grubbs and Apprentice Lafayette Gilchrist. Deeply rooted in the African-American oral tradition of jazz, saxophone player Carl Grubbs blends virtuosic improvisational skill with the aesthetic, historical and social fundamentals of jazz. Carl taught his apprentice, pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, improvisational and melodic techniques which he learned from family member, John Coltrane. In June 2009 Carl Grubbs and Lafayette Gilchrist will record a CD celebrating the Jazz Traditions of Maryland. The CD will include the music of Eubie Blake, Chick Webb, Billie Holiday, Albert Dailey and Carl Grubbs.

Celebrations of John Coltrane

These unique programs combines performances of John Coltrane's music and conversations with the audience that explores the meaning and impact of Coltrane's work. Performers and guest artists have deep connections to the great saxophonist as a result of past associations with Coltrane and intensive study and analysis of his work.
  • Carrboro, NC. Art Center
    Carl Grubbs Ensemble performed the music of John Coltane, original tunes of Carl Grubbs and tunes from jazz masters. Accompanying him are: John Kordalewski, Piano Salim Washington, Tenor Sax and Flute Chris Sullivan, Bass Webb Thomas, Drums
  • Live at the Caton Castle, Baltimore, MD
    Carl Grubbs Ensemble performed many of the songs of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane during this concert. During this April event, Carl and Barbara celebrated the anniversary of their marriage. Shown here: L - R Webb Thomas, Drums Chris Sullivan, Bass Joe Falero, Percussion Carl Grubbs, Saxophones Elmer Gibson, Piano
  • Guelph Jazz Festival
    Carl Grubbs Ensemble presented "The Coltrane Dialogues" during which they performed the music of John Coltrane and provided time for dialogue with the audience. The audience partcipated by sharing their coltrane moments and experiences and how the music influenced their lives. Musicians were invited to participated in the performance.
  • Coltane Dialogues
    At the Firehouse in Newburyport, MA. and The Amesbury Jazz Club, The Roost This unique program combines performances of John Coltrane's music by an ensemble with deep connections to the great saxophonist, and conversations with the audience that explores the meaning and impact of Coltrane's work. The dialogue portions break down the customary distance between artist and audience and opens up a sharing of ideas rarely experienced at jazz performances.
  • 03 Giant Steps (J. Coltrane)
    I first saw the changes to this tune on a brown paper bag in 1958 when my parents, Earl and Lucy Grubbs, took my brother Earl and me to New York City, for an Easter Sunday visit to the home of Naima and John Coltrane. Naima was my first cousin. Here I have added a sixteen bar vamp to John Coltrane's version. The sixteen bar vamp will go through the three tonal centers of the composition; E flat, G and B. These tones create an augmented chord. After that the group plays the regular changes. This is my interpretation of what I heard in 1958 when for the first time I heard John Coltrane play live.
  • Carl Grubbs & Reggie Workman at An Die Musik
    The Carl Grubbs Ensemble with Guest artist, Reggie Workman, Bassist performed a tribute to John Coltrane. The Ensemble performed the music of John Coltrane, originals of Carl Grubbs and Reggie Workman. Earlier in the day Reggie Workman conducted a workshop for local musicians and listners.
  • 08liketrane

Brother Soul

  • Brother Soul CIMP #336
    "Brother Soul is primarily shaped by Grubbs' exuberant sound and well-crafted compositions, but there are two twists that add some tang: In addition to alto and soprano, Grubbs plays tenor for the first time on disc; and he revisits two Visitors chestnuts, "Joy" and "Neptune." His tenor mirrors his alto sound in that it imparts hard-boiled determination, but he is more apt to get screamin' on alto." Salim Washington, Tenor sax, oboe, flute Steve Neil, Bassist Ronnie Burrage, Drums Available at CIMP Recorded at CIMP recording studios in 2005. Released in 2006.
  • Ronnie Burrage, Drummer/Percussionist
    A versatile drummer who also plays vibes and marimba, Ronnie Burrage has forged a style as much at home with the bristling pace of hard bob and bebop as with the heavy backbeats of funk, soul and R&B.
  • Salim Washington, Tenor Sax, Oboe, Flute
    Salim Washington, jazz performer and recording artists is also a dedicated educator at Brooklyn College in NYC. He brings his great expertise as a multi-instrumentalist to Brother Soul.
  • Carl Grubbs, Salim Washington and Steve Neil,bassist
    Shown here at the recording session at CIMP studios in Redwood, NY.
  • Review of CD authored by Bill Shoemaker
    Reviewed by Bill Shoemaker in Point of Departure.

Relections: CD Recording. B&C Productions

Reflections is a musical journey into the life of Carl Grubbs. The recorded selections brings the listner into the life of Carl Grubbs as he reflects on those persons who have been influential and those who have supported his creative efforts.
  • Carl Grubbs "REFLECTIONS" CD
    A CD Recording produced by B&C Productions. Available at: An Die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD
  • 01 In My Youth/Earl Grubbs
    This tune brings back memories of growing up in Philadelphia,having fun and my brother Earl Grubbs, playing the sop0rano saxohone, the style, the way we were looking at music then. The only care we had was learning how to play. "In My Youth" a song recorded on the album by the same name (The Visitors, Muse Label) and this tune as recorded have some similarities as well as differences. Both tunes use the same time signature at the end (7/4).
  • 02 Wise One (J. Coltrane)
    A John Coltane composition which is the favorite song of my wife, Barbara Grubbs. Within a society there are always the elders who can give you advice about things you are thinking about doing and/or the direction you are heading. There have been so many people in my life who have helped me along the way. I did not write the song, but his tune is for me a reflection of respect to the elders, or community. The phrasing of the melody just seems to grab one in the gut like a cry for guidance or a prayer to the Creator, the wisest one of all, for guidance in this world.
  • 04 Camille
    The song Camille represents to me all of my four kids. Camille, the youngest, has some of the personality traits of each of the others: Gordon, Carl and Naima. They were the inspiration for this tune. Within this song there is a 2/4 bar that happens every chorus that really give the tune a lift.
  • 05 Colombia
    My first invitation to perform in South America came from the country of Colombia in 1995; the group returned in 1996. I wrote this tune in anticipation of my trip. While in Colombia I had the opportunity to experience the vibe of the people, the constant buzz of the cities of Medellin and Bogota,good food and fast driving cab drivers. The eop0le of Colombia showed a great deal of appreciation for the music. They were keenly interested in jazz music and gospel music.
  • 08 Carl's Blues
    This song is dedicated to my father, Earl Grubbs, Sr. He loved the blues. He used to play blues records every Friday evening. When I was younger, I wondered why; I thought he should have been listening to Charlie Parker playing "Confirmation." As I have gotten older, I have learned to understand and appreciate the blues. Life's experienes give one a better understanding of the blues. The blues can be used to express a variety of emotions - happiness or sadness. The blues is one of the most recognizable forms of music. You don't have to be able to speak the language of the countries you visit. However, if you play the blues, everyone will understand the feelings you are trying to convey.
  • I Asked The Lord
    This song is dedicated to my mother Lucy Tabb Grubbs. I first heard this song in the 60's when I was traveling with a funk group. It had another name and the lyrics were also different. In the 80's I heard it on a TV gospel station. In the 90's it was brought to my attention whie I was working with a gospel group.Ed Williams, the leader of the group, had the music. I love the way that the melody and the chords flow together. The lyrics are lyrics that I really feel close to.

Live at the BMA: Inner Harbor Suite

Live at the BMA: Inner Harbor Suite was a big event. The auditorium of the BMA was crowded with jazz lovers and general audience waiting as the musicians went through the recording process. The audience patiently waited and watched as the musicians repeatedly performed and recorded the tunes that finally made this project.
  • Live at the BMA: Inner Harbor Suite
    This live recording is a tribute to Baltimore, Carl's adopted hometown. Moving here from Philadelphia where he had substantial musical roots and accomplishments was initially frought with disappointments. However, in 1983, he was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Grant to conduct six concerts and eight workshops. Concerts at the Inner Harbor, Light Street Pavilion, featured such artists as Pharoah Sanders, Monty Waters, Earl Grubbs and Ken McIntyre. Workshops held at Southern H.S. were conducted by the visiting artists. Congressman John Conyers, an avid lover and player of jazz music, often attended the workshop sessions. Much of the music on this CD was written during this time. Carl celebrates his love for his adopted city of Baltimore. Personnel: Carl Grubbs, Alto Sax - Bob Gray, Tenor Sax Elmer Gibson, Piano - Cheyney Thomas, Bass Raschid Rahman, Drums - Mamadi Nyasuma, Percussion - Maja Rios, Vocals Available at An Die Musik, 409 N.
  • 01saturn
  • 04harborplace
  • 06gladtobesad
  • 07lorraine
  • 10byeandbye
  • 08liketrane

Carl Grubbs & Friends:Live at the New Haven Lounge

Carl Grubbs & Friends brings you slowly through the doors of the New Haven Lounge, the sounds of Speak Low, drifting to your ears. There Is no mistaking the voice of Elmer Gibson, whose piano solo lifts you and brings you into the room and into the magic of the evening. Live at The New Haven Lounge is a combination of original tunes written by Carl and Earl Grubbs and tunes written and/or recorded by their mentor, saxophonist, John Coltrane This is an impromptu recording session and a gathering of old friends. Carl Grubbs - Alto and soprano saxophone; Elmer Gibson- Piano; Edward Crocket - Bass; and Rashid Rahman - Drums are old friends from Philadelphia. Their performance history goes back to the late 1960's. This recording features some of their favorite tunes.
  • Carl Grubbs & Friends Live at The New Haven
    A Project of B&C Productions Produced by Carl Grubbs, Keith Covington (owner of the New Haven) and Rashid Rahman All of the tunes are tunes associated with Carl's mentor John Coltrane with the exception of In My Youth which was written by Earl Grubbs. Carl Grubbs & Friends brings you slowly through the doors of the New Haven Lounge with the sounds of "Speak Low" drifting to your ears. There is no mistaking the voice of Elmer Gibson, whose piano solo lifts you and brings you into the room and into the magic of the evening. Live at The New Haven Lounge is a combination of original tunes written by Carl and Earl Grubbs and tunes written and/or recorded by their mentor, saxophonist, John Coltrane. The performance of these Philadelphia friends goes back to the late 1960's. Selections: 1. Speak Low (Weill/Nash, Choppel & co. - ASCAP) 2. Naima (J. Coltrane - Jowcol Music - BMI) 3. In My Youth (E. Grubbs - BMI 4. I Want to Talk About You (B.Eckstine -BMI) 5.
  • Speak Low
    Written by Weill/Nash, Choppel & Co.) ASCAP Carl Grubbs & Friends brings you slowly through the doors of the New Haven Lounge, the sounds of Speak Low, drifting to your ears. This arrangements begins with the voice of Elmer Gibson, whose piano solo lifts you and brings you into the room and into the magic of the evening.
  • Naima
    Naima was written by John Coltrane in 1959 as an affectionate tribute to his first wife. But he still liked to play it after the martial breakup and it remains perhaps his best-loved ballad composition. Naima Coltrane was the first cousin to Carl Grubbs. She is now deceased.
  • In My Youth
    Written by Earl Grubbs, brother of Carl Grubbs. Earl Grubbs is now deceased. The brothers first recorded the tune on the album entitled In My Youth, on Muse label. An upbeat happy tune which recalls the early musical experience of the brothers as they enjoyed playing the music for many hours each day in their youth.
  • I Want to Talk About You
    A Billy Eckstine tune which was frequently included in the repertoire of Carl's mentor, John Coltrane. Carl often includes the tune in his repertoire. Added moments of memories of Carl's youth.
  • My Favorite Things
    Written by Richard Rogers and often played by Carl's mentor. The tune is closely associated with John Coltrane principally because its unusual form and unique chord progression enabled him to spin out long, mesmerising lines.

Stepping Around the Giant

  • Stepping Around the Giant CIMP
    Personnel: Carl Grubbs, alto saxophone Odean Pope, tenor saxophone Chris Sullivan, bass Newman Taylor Barker, drums "This CIMP session pairs Grubb's sanguine alto with the more elastic and langorous sonorities of Odean Pope's tenor. The latter effectively plays tortoise to the former's hare. Sullivan's supple strings and Baker's industrious sticks round out the package and while the emphasis understandably centers on the horns, there's still plenty of room for the rhythm instruments to move". Derek Taylor - All About Jazz Available at: CIMP
  • Carl Grubbs & Odean Pope
    Carl Grubbs and Odean Pope has history that extends back to their youth and early playing years in Philadelphia. They were featured artists in the Reggie Workman project, "Africa Brass". They performed in Philadelphia. Odean Pope has been Artist in Residence with Carl's SAX: Music and Dance Camp Program. The two saxophonist have recorded together and performed in venues in the Baltimore and Philadelphia areas.
  • Chris Sullivan, Bassist
    "Chris Sullivan is an accomplished bassist with a difference - known for soulfully interpreting and creating a wide range of music, he's guided by a personal philosophy of getting to the heart of things. This "heart" is accessed first of all by intensive listening - to himself, to the elemental structure of a tune, to the soul of his fellow musicians and to his own quest for the purest, ore direct expression of sound and feeling" - Dr. Judith Schlesinger Columnist, All About Jazz.
  • Newman Taylor Baker
    Percussionist, Composer, Teaching Artist, Vocalist