Saturday: 90th John Coltrane Birthday Celebration

Sept. 24

Saxophonist John Coltrane died in 1967, at the age of 40, with his music still molting. He'd gone from majuscule hard bop to an alarmingly free form of jazz in which structure, melody, and even the idea of music got kind of flipped inside out and then back again. "Coltrane's cries are not 'musical,' but they are music and quite moving music," wrote Amiri Baraka (then Leroi Jones) of Coltrane's later music. And for whatever it's worth, when I was spending a lot of time with dirt bikers last fall and trying to get into their heads, I found myself writing to Coltrane's "My Favorite Things, "Transitions" and "Live At Birdland"—there was something in Coltrane's heartening, wild, elegant music that fit that world in a way, you know? To celebrate Coltrane's 90th birthday, Baltimore saxophonist Carl Grubbs, along with Rene McLean, will perform some Coltrane songs and some originals as well. 4 p.m., Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, 847 N Howard St., (410) 225-3130,, $7-$15. (Brandon Soderberg)

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