Department of Music : Faculty

Jimmy Greene

Professor of Music
Co-Coordinator of Jazz Studies
Applied Jazz Saxophone, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Theory, Jazz Arranging, Jazz Pedagogy, Jazz History

Dr. Jimmy Greene is Professor of Music and Co-Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Western Connecticut State University and was awarded a 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award for his efforts. Prior to his WCSU appointment, Dr. Greene taught at the University of Manitoba, SUNY Purchase and the Hartt School. Dr. Greene has given clinics and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Israel and Russia. Three of his former students have been named semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition and 18 student musicians and small ensembles under Dr. Greene’s direction have won DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

A native of Hartford, CT, Greene is considered one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation since his graduation from the Hartt School in 1997. His most recent recording, While Looking Up (Mack Avenue) was released in 2020 to rave reviews. His 2014 release, Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue), garnered two Grammy® Award nominations: one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and one for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for Greene’s song “When I Come Home.” Greene has performed selections from the album on CBS This Morning, NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and the nationally syndicated Meredith Vieira Show. His other releases as a leader, Flowers: Beautiful Life, Vol. 2 (Mack Avenue), Live at Smalls (SmallsLive), Mission Statement (RazDaz/Sunnyside), The Overcomers Suite (NuJazz), Gifts and Givers (Criss Cross), True Life Stories (Criss Cross), Forever (Criss Cross), Brand New World (RCA Victor), Live at Birdland (RCA Victor) and Introducing Jimmy Greene (Criss Cross) were also met with much critical acclaim. In fact, Tony Hall of Jazzwise Magazine (UK) calls Greene “ . . .without doubt one of the most striking young tenors of recent years.”

The Jimmy Greene Quartet/Quintet performs in concert venues, festivals and clubs worldwide, including the Village Vanguard and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (New York), Casa del Jazz (Italy), Sunside Jazz Club (France), Newport Jazz Festival (USA), Detroit International Jazz Festival (USA), Red Sea Jazz Festival (Israel), Lapataia Jazz Festival (Uruguay) and Amazonas Jazz Festival (Brazil). In one such appearance, Jim Macnie of the Village Voice said, “[Greene] is good for a couple of body chills every time you see him. He’s got a big barrelhouse sound, and a way of negotiating changes that make academic moves seem natural.”

In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on over 90 albums as a sideman and is a member of legendary bassist Ron Carter’s Foursight Quartet. He has also toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others. As a member of Harrell’s quintet, Greene was featured on CBS’s benchmark news magazine, 60 Minutes. As a member of Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, Greene is a featured soloist on 2 DVD releases, Harry for the Holidays, and Only You. He was featured as a soloist on Connick’s 2003 holiday special aired on NBC, in addition to NBC’s Today Show, and BBC’s Parkinson Show.

As a composer, Dr. Greene was awarded the prestigious 2005 ASCAP / IAJE Commission in honor of Ornette Coleman. Greene is the 2013 recipient of the State of Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award in Music as well as the 2012 recipient of the City of Hartford’s Innovator Award in Music. Dr. Greene was twice named a winner of Chamber Music America’s New Works: Creation and Presentation grant for jazz composition – in 2004 and again in 2023, awarded a 2005 Artist Fellowship in Music Composition by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and awarded a 2009 Individual Artist Grant by the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Fifty of Dr. Greene’s original compositions and arrangements have been recorded on the Mack Avenue, RCA Victor, SmallsLive, Criss Cross, NuJazz and RazDaz / Sunnyside labels. In addition, Greene’s performance of his composition “Mr. McLean” was aired throughout the US and Canada on ABC-TV during a NASCAR pre-race broadcast in September 2007.

Greene was the winner of the 66th annual DownBeat Magazine International Critics Poll in the “Rising Star – Soprano Saxophone” category. He was also named First Runner-Up in the 1996 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Greene is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music’s Doctor of Musical Arts program in Jazz Arts Advancement and received the Helen Cohn Award for outstanding D.M.A. graduate. During his time at MSM, he was also named a Jazz Arts Fellow and was awarded the Clement Meadmore Scholarship. Greene holds a masters degree in Music Education from Boston University and a bachelor of music degree in African-American Music Studies from The Hartt School. Greene’s primary mentors have included Jackie McLean, Jim McNeely, Garry Dial, Justin DiCioccio, David Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Dave Santoro, Kris Jensen, Steve Davis, Ken Radnofsky and Janet Arms.

For five years, Greene served on the Connecticut Arts Council and on the board of the Connecticut Arts Council Foundation. Prior to that appointment, Greene served on the Hartt School Board of Regents. To honor his daughter Ana and support the work of his wife Nelba, Greene is a board member of his family’s 501 c3 charitable foundation, The Ana Grace Project. Dr. Greene also established the Ana Márquez-Greene Music Scholarship at Western Connecticut State University. Each year, deserving young musicians are offered the award in Ana’s name to help offset the cost of college tuition.

Dr. Greene is a clinician for Borgani Saxophones and Vandoren Mouthpieces, Reeds and Ligatures and uses their products exclusively.

Contact: greenejs@wcsu.educreate new email