The weekend of December 12-14, Ellie and I went to “New York, New York – in the city that never sleeps!” for our anniversary. Our plan was to enjoy a relaxing weekend roaming around town and hearing great jazz. I got reservations at the Village Vanguard Friday night to hear Christian McBride and his trio. For those of you who are not familiar, Christian McBride is one of the best bass players in the world and a truly nice guy. The music was fantastic! I also got us reservations for the following night. This performance was at Jazz Standard. I knew it was guaranteed to be another night of very special music, because it was a Jimmy Greene gig. Jimmy is a world class saxophonist; a former member of Harry Connick, Jr.’s band, who has played with many other renowned musicians. This performance was celebrating another anniversary. “Beautiful Life,” is the name of Jimmy Greene’s new album. It celebrates the life of his daughter Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, who was 6 years old two years ago when she, along with many other children, was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where the family had recently moved. Ellie and I were at Ana Grace’s memorial service. We cried many tears that day. I’ve thought about her everyday since because I’ve kept the program from her memorial with a picture of her jumping in the air with so much obvious joy in a prominent place in my home. So as it turned out that night, Ellie and I were celebrating two anniversaries. We sat close to the stage and directly in front of Jimmy as he poured his heart out through his saxophone playing original music he wrote for Ana Grace – as well as songs and hymns that were her favorites. It was one of the most profound moments either of us has experienced. It goes directly to the heart of love — with all its rewards and pain. This moment like few others defined, “To Love Is To Give!” If you want to hear some love music — a father’s love for his little girl — you can get a copy of “Beautiful Life.” Ironically, Christian McBride is one of the musicians who can be heard along with some of Jimmy Greene’s close musician friends – drummer Lewis Nash, pianist Renee Rosnes, guitarist Pat Metheny, vocalist Kurt Elling and others. Ellie and I have each ordered numerous copies to give to friends and family. Much of the cost of producing the album was gifted to Jimmy and, in turn, the proceeds are going to support a couple of causes important to Jimmy and his wife Nelba. These causes are geared to preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again. I wish you a holiday season filled with love.
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