Carl Grubbs performs on alto, soprano and tenor saxophones and clarinet. He is an accomplished composer, educator and performing artist. A native of Philadelphia, he received early extensive training from John Coltrane and his brother Earl Grubbs. The Carl Grubbs Ensemble performs his original compositions and jazz standards in cities in the U.S. They have performed at jazz festivals in Bogota and Medellin, Columbia, S.A. and most recently an eight-city tour of Brazil.
Through his family, Carl Grubbs was close to many of the history-making 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 label.
Mr. Grubbs is a former member of the Julius Hemphill Saxophone Sextet. This group toured the U.S. and Europe performing two productions: Hemphill’s Long Tongues: A Saxophone Opera and Bill T. Jones/Arne Zane Production: Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Promised Land.
Mr. Grubbs was a guest soloist at the Philadelphia performance of Reggie Workman’s project, African Brass, A Tribute to John Coltrane. He has performed with Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir at the Blue Note in New York City. The Philadelphia Jazz Project (The Painted Bride) commissioned a new arrangement of his composition “In My Youth” for jazz/string ensemble for inclusion in its annual “Frosty 2” event.
Mr. Grubbs is co-founder and Artistic Director of Contemporary Arts Inc. a nonprofit arts organization. The organization’s jazz programs provide music and dance education for youth ages 4-17, jazz concerts at senior centers and concerts for general audiences. Carl Grubbs is a member of the MSAC Arts in Education Artist Roster.
Mr. Grubbs has received numerous awards in recognition of his work. He has twice been the recipient of the MSAC Traditions award as a jazz master, working with apprentices to pass on the traditions of improvised jazz music. His organization, Contemporary Arts Inc. received a 2009 MSAC Traditions Project grant that culminated in his collaboration with Lafayette Gilchrist in a CD of the music of Marylanders who made significant contributions to the art form of jazz. In 2009, Mr. Grubbs received the Mary Sawyers Baker Award from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. In 2014, he was awarded a Rubys Project Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, founded by the Deutsch Foundation. His Rubys Project Grant enabled him to revise and expand his original work, The Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore for Jazz/String Ensemble.