After his daughter, Ana Marquez Greene, 6, was killed in her classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene turned to music to deal with his grief.
She was just 6 years old when Adam Lanza, 20, stormed into the school on Dec. 14, 2012 and killed 20 young children, including Ana, and six adults.
“The grief process is ongoing,” Greene said. “There is not a day that goes by that doesn’t have tears and just incredible sadness, sometimes anger and frustration at many things. … Music is a language in and of itself and it’s a language for me that kind of picks up where words leave off.”
For two years, Greene composed songs, eventually recording an album titled “A Beautiful Life” to honor Ana’s life.
The album has been nominated for two Grammys this year — best jazz instrumental and best arrangement for vocals. The nominations are a first for Greene.
More than 40 musicians and technicians volunteered their time to help him put together the album.
“They said, ‘We want to donate — 100 percent donate — the production of a recording at whatever time you feel that you are able to do it,” Greene said. “We feel like whatever statement you make musically, in the wake of the horror you have had to suffer, would be really, really powerful and something that the world needs to hear.”
A portion of the album’s earnings go to two charities that Greene and his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, set up. One charity funds an arts program; the other, a project to promote empathy and compassion in young, at-risk children.
“I’m very encouraged going forward. … My life will forever be different without my little girl in it, especially the way she was taken from us,” Greene said. “Just the whole community that surrounds the music industry has really stepped up and been there for my family and me in so many ways. The album is testament to that.”
For more information on Green’s charities, please click here .
The 58th Grammy Awards will air Feb. 15 on CBS.