Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Jimmy Greene joins WCSU faculty
WCSU jazz faculty concert July 15 to feature Greene in performance
DANBURY, CONN. — Saxophonist and bandleader Jimmy Greene, a youthful master of jazz performance and composition whose recordings have earned international acclaim, will return to his Connecticut roots with his recent appointment to join the faculty of the Western Connecticut State University department of music.
Greene will be featured with other members of the WCSU jazz faculty in concert at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2012, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend; donations to support WCSU Summer Music Camp scholarships are encouraged.
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 that Greene’s “addition to our outstanding roster of jazz artists at WCSU represents a milestone in the history of the university’s renowned jazz studies program.
“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 he is “very excited to be working with Jimmy to help grow the jazz program here. 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, who 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 the quintet led by legendary jazz pianist Horace Silver. By the end of 1997, Greene already had debuted with his own quintet for a weeklong run at The Jazz Standard in New York and recorded his first album, “Introducing Jimmy Greene.”
Greene has emerged over the past 15 years as a prolific recording artist, leading sideman for many jazz groups, widely traveled concert performer and innovative jazz composer. 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, under a commission from the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers (ASCAP) and the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE).
During his faculty appointment at the University of Manitoba, Greene has taught saxophone, composition, arranging and jazz performance as well as serving as conductor of the university’s jazz band. He has previously taught at the Hartt School, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and the State University of New York at Purchase.
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.