DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — When you hear jazz musician and Grammy Nominated Jimmy Greene play, it’s hard to imagine a time when he didn’t pick up an instrument.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to play music. It’s that I physically couldn’t,” said Greene.
It was right after he lost his daughter, 6-year-old daughter Ana Marquez-Greene, in the gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012.
“In the grief process you lose physical strength. I was not able to drive a car physically. I just couldn’t do it. Mentally to have the amount of focus necessary to practice or compose I just didn’t have it,” said Greene.
He says with faith and support he found his strength again and his inspiration. His album, Beautiful Life, is tribute to his daughter, Ana.
“Everyday is difficult. Everyday has tears and listening to the album is just an expression of all those emotions,” said Greene.
The album starts with hymn and on the track you hear her young voice.
“We used a snippet of a home recording that my wife took of my kids performing a hymn, Come Though Almighty King,” said Greene.
He says he typically writes instrumental music only, but included vocals for Ana. She loved to dance and sing especially another song that’s featured “Maybe” from the musical, “Annie”.
“She had a beautiful voice and a beautiful sense of pitch and that song was one that she really loved to sing,” said Greene.
The music industry loves what he created. Just weeks ago, the Recording Academy nominated him for two Grammys. One was for best jazz instrumental album and the other was for the arrangement of the song, “When I Come Home.”
Greene says when he learned about the nominations he was, “Obviously thinking about my little girl and wishing she were there, but at the same time just honored that the Recording Academy voters saw fit to honor this record in this way. It’s a huge humongous honor.”
All the funds to produce this album were donated and he’s passing that generosity forward. The money made from the album goes to the Artist Collective in Hartford. It’s where he studied and where they continue to teach. Money also goes toward the Ana Grace Project.
Their mission is to promote love, community and connection for every child and family through education and programs.
“Creating more empathetic passionate people, we think will make a huge difference,” said Greene.
His family hopes it will prevent future tragedies from happening and hopes to create a harmonious legacy for his daughter.
“We know that Ana’s story isn’t over and just because she was killed here on earth, it doesn’t mean that her soul is dead. Her soul is alive and it’s in heaven and we believe she is wrapped in love and at the end of the day, Love Wins.”