February 18, 2019

Jimmy Greene

Western Connecticut State University has appointed who officials claim is a world renowned jazz performer and composer, as a faculty member in the department of music.

Jimmy Greene, a Hartford native, who has held a music faculty position at the University of Manitoba in Canada since 2009, has accepted an appointment effective Aug. 27 to become assistant professor of music and assistant coordinator of jazz studies at Western.

Dr. Daniel Goble, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, said, “As one of the most highly regarded young tenor saxophonists in the world, Jimmy will be a tremendous asset to our students and the university community, sharing his experience as a performer, recording artist and composer,” Goble said. “Jimmy’s return to Connecticut is a wonderful case of a local musician who has made a significant impact in his field, coming home to give back to the community.”

Jamie Begian, chair of the music department and coordinator of jazz studies at WCSU, said, “Jimmy is a rare blend of consummate artist and outstanding educator, and will fit right in with our mission of demanding the best from our students.”

The 37-year-old jazz artist began playing alto saxophone at age 6, formed his first quintet while attending Bloomfield High School and earned selection in 1993 for the Grammy All-American High School Band conducted by Branford Marsalis. He pursued music studies at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford, graduating summa cum laude in 1997, and embarked on his professional career in New York as a member of a quintet led by jazz pianist Horace Silver. By the end of 1997, Greene already had debuted with his own quintet for a week long run at The Jazz Standard in New York and recorded his first album, “Introducing Jimmy Greene.”

Named in 1999 as one of Down Beat magazine’s “25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz,” he has released a series of acclaimed albums including “Brand New World” in 1998, “Forever” in 2004, “True Life Stories” in 2006, “Gifts and Givers” in 2007, “The Overcomer’s Suite” in 2008, and “Mission Statement” in 2009. He has toured extensively to perform across North America and Europe, as well as Israel, Russia, Brazil and Uruguay.

In a 2009 review for the online music publication SoundStage! of “Mission Statement,” Bob Strain wrote that Greene’s “formidable performing and composing skills result in a CD of rare quality,” with original compositions that are “urbane, sophisticated and complex. Greene’s soloing is impeccable, bringing to mind such landmarks as John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme.'”

Among his notable accomplishments as a jazz composer, Greene was commissioned as part of a Chamber Music America grant program in the Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project to compose and perform an original work that became “The Overcomer’s Suite,” debuted by the Jimmy Greene Quartet at the Village Vanguard in 2006. He also composed and performed “Anthem of Hope” in 2006 in honor of legendary jazz artist Ornette Coleman.

You can learn more about Jimmy Greene from his website: www.jimmygreene.com/

Jimmy Greene: The Overcomer’s Suite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wI-KJ2nBU8