This Philadelphia, PA, native spent quality time studying with the late, great John Coltrane while subsequently leading a variety of jazz-based outfits during the past several decades. However, the artist has been entrenched in the jazz education arena throughout the years, as his Coltrane-influenced articulations serve only as a fundamental framework for his personalized sound and style. He possesses a scathing, razor-sharp tone, whether performing on soprano or alto saxophones, yet offsets his upfront attack with lyrically charged melodies. Here, Grubbs and his quintet execute a hotly swinging rendition of Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps," whereas the band melds Afro-Cuban measures into mid-tempo grooves and vibrant improvisational forays. Percussionist Orlando Cotto provides the Latino edge while the leader of this session slices and dices through a series of memorably melodic arrangements. Thus, life is full of unexpected surprises such as this highly entertaining and often captivating effort. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita