The first sound you hear on Beautiful Life is a home recording of Ana Marquez-Greene singing “Saludos” at a Christmas celebration in Puerto Rico with her mother, Nelba, and her father, Jimmy, playing saxophone in the background, - a year before her death at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. She was six years old.
That brief moment flows into a ravishing duet between the saxophonist and guitarist Pat Metheny that makes the beginning a musical celebration of the life of Ana. Greene is an established saxophonist on the New York and international scene, with a lyrical, earthy sound on the tenor or soprano sax, and his poetic playing style has an easy, natural flow.
Beautiful Life is an album of magnitude—of grief and healing—that features Greene collaborating with a core trio (pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Christian McBride and Lewis Nash on drums) that weave soulful optimism into evocative originals like “Last Summer,” and the uplifting “Your Great Name.” Among many cameos, singer Javier Colon’s voice shines on the Wonder-like ballad “When I Come Home.”
Jimmy Greene's version of the standard, "Where is Love?" with pianist Kenny Barron.
Greene is an established saxophonist on the New York and international scene, with a lyrical, earthy sound on the tenor and soprano sax, and his poetic playing style has an easy, natural flow. Midway through this astonishing tribute, Greene duets with pianist Kenny Barron, his plaintive horn weaving notes around Barron's passages as they celebrate Ana's life on the album's best tune, “Where Is Love.” It's a high point that recalls the 1963 collaboration between John Coltrane and Duke Ellington.
This article is from the January 2015 edition of ICON Magazine, the only publication in the Greater Delaware Valley and beyond solely devoted to coverage of music, fine and performing arts, pop culture, and entertainment. More Information.