AnaThe 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. The causes are both geared to preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again.

I wish you a holiday season filled with love.

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Jeff Levine

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  1. Geoffrey Torrens December 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    That is a beautiful story Jeff, thank you for sharing it with us.
    Best Wishes for a wonderful holiday, Geoff Torrens.

  2. Jeff Levine December 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your response Geoff!

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Jimmy Greene December 26, 2014 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Thanks for your beautiful post and for your generosity in support of my recording, Jeff. Love Wins! Jimmy

    • Jeff Levine December 26, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

      It is my privilege Jimmy!!

  4. Robert Morie December 27, 2014 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Thank you for this! I will get Beautiful Life. Happy Holiday’s and a Healthful New Year to both of you.


  5. Sylvia Walsh December 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Beautifully written heart-wrenching story containing much love!

  6. Traci Paul January 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Jeff, thank you for sharing this story and Jimmy Greene’s CD with us. For Jimmy and Nelba Greene to have the heart to turn their tragedy into a beautiful inspirational message is amazing. Marc and I are grateful for you, Ellie and your embodiment of loving kindness. Happy New Year and may 2015 be peaceful for all.

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