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Danbury Professor Earns 2 Grammy Nods For Album Inspired By Slain Daughter

Jimmy Greene, a Western Connecticut State University Music professor, has been nominated for two Grammy awards. His 6-year-old daughter, Ana, died in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Photo Credit:
Jimmy Greene's album is a tribute to his daughter, Ana. Photo Credit:

DANBURY, Conn. -- Joining Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Sam Hunt among the nominees at Monday night's Grammy Awards will be Jimmy Greene, a music professor at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury who was nominated for his very special jazz album. 

Greene, who lives in Newtown, received two nominations for the album, which celebrates the life of his daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, who was 6 when she was killed in the Sandy Hook School massacre.

Jimmy Greene’s album, "Beautiful Life," was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for his arrangement of his composition, “When I Come Home,” featuring vocalist Javier Colon.

“I want to give a sense of how Ana lived,” Greene said of the album on his website.

The album features Greene’s customary instrumental jazz with Christian music, standard ballads and three original songs framing his own lyrics. 

The album was released in the fall of 2014. It is Greene’s 10th as an album leader, and he started working on it shortly after his daughter's death.

“Ana loved to sing and she sang beautifully,’’ Greene said on his Facebook page. “That is why I made sure her singing voice was on the first track of 'Beautiful Life.' The world needs a lot right now, but I felt that hearing her voice and knowing her name would be important for people going forward." 

Ana and her twin brother, Isaiah, are included in the album. A YouTube video clip shows Ana singing while her brother plays the piano. "We would go to the mall, and sometimes the stores would have music,'' her mother, Nelba Márquez-Greene, told Katie Couric in 2013. "She would just start dancing. She had a joy that was just not containable."

A portion of proceeds from sales of "Beautiful Life" go to two charities set up in Ana’s memory: The Ana Grace Project and the Hartford-based Artists’ Collective.

Greene is an assistant professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies at Western Connecticut. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Hartt School in Hartford and holds a master's degree from Boston University.

Ana and 19 other students and six teachers were killed at Sandy Hook, the deadliest shooting at a U.S. elementary or high school.

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. Monday on CBS. Click here to watch an interview with Jimmy Greene on CNN. 

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