Before last Dec. 14, Jimmy Greene had been a jazzman for most of his 38 years, well known among serious jazz fans. He had dozens of albums to his name. He played with such luminaries as Freddie Hubbard. He was a scholar, too, teaching jazz at a public university.
On Dec. 14, Mr. Greene’s 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, who shared his passion for music and loved to listen to her father play, was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. That was the day a gunman killed Ana along with 19 other children and 6 educators.
“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.”
It was a month or so before Mr. Greene could even pick up his saxophone. But eventually he did. And it is his music that has pushed him back onto the stage, back inside a recording studio and back into the spotlight as a top-tier jazzman.
“Music has been a wonderful outlet for me, emotionally and spiritually,” Mr. Greene said.
Weeks after the massacre, he slowly began accepting invitations to play publicly, as long as the performances were close to his Connecticut home. He returned to Western Connecticut State University, where he teaches jazz.
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