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From Negative to Positive: Jazz Player Jimmy Greene Finds Solace In His Music


Jimmy Greene is a much celebrated musician among jazz enthusiasts, but more importantly he’s a man with regular emotions, as well as a father. However, last December Greene lost a major part of his life when his daughter Ana was gunned downed in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Devastated, Greene naturally had to take time off from performing, like any parent suffering a loss would. Slowly, Greene started coming back to the jazz scene, finding solace in his art. According to

“’I don’t know if we’ll ever feel whole again,’ Mr. Greene said of his family, Nelba Márquez-Greene, his wife, and their son, Isaiah, 9, who was also in the school that morning but was unharmed. ‘I still cry every day — we all do. I don’t know if there’s a day when we won’t.’”

“Slowly, Mr. Greene said, the spirit of Ana’s “beautiful life” began comforting and inspiring him to begin writing music again. Then there were the many musician friends, like Harry Connick Jr., who helped console him. One result is a new album called, appropriately, “Beautiful Life,” a work inspired by and dedicated to Ana’s life”

Jimmy Greene is now fully committed to tackling his pain head on. Although the void left from the loss of his daughter will never be filled, he’s decided to celebrate her life rather than perpetually mourn it. As also reported by

“I want it to give a sense of how she lived,” said Mr. Greene, who recently performed some of the music from the album at a jazz club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The nearly completed album, whose proceeds will go partly toward charities set up in Ana’s name, exemplifies a decision by the family not to let the pain of Ana’s death keep them from discussing her life, he said.

“It’s a way for us to keep Ana alive, and keep her on the tip of our tongues,” he said. “I don’t want to avoid talking about it because one problem we have in our culture is that if something is difficult, we don’t talk about it.”

Jimmy Greene is a great jazz musician, but his example of how to cope with the ills of life is all so telling. There will always be trials in life, some may even seem insurmountable. However, there’s always a way to deal with these things in a positive way. And if Jimmy Greene can, so can the rest of us.

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