LUCAS Sader simply felt the need to write something.
Jimmy Greene may have been listed as a former instructor for the local jazz musician, but the relationship was much more than that. He had a "huge impact" on Sader’s life, which is why the Winnipegger penned a song called Glow — a track inspired by the memory of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, Greene’s six-year-old daughter with wife Nelba Márquez-Greene.
Ana was one of 26 people gunned down in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last December. News and images of the massacre crippled the continent, and the emotional fallout of the tragedy reverberated all the way to the Canadian Prairies.
Greene taught in the faculty of music at the University of Manitoba — that’s where Sader first met the Greene family — for three years before moving his family back to his home state of Connecticut. Ana and her brother, Isaiah, attended Linden Christian School in Winnipeg.
The Lucas Sader Project will perform Glow at their Winnipeg International Jazz Festival show at Cinematheque June 21. The man with his name on the marquee said the idea behind the song was twofold: It not only helped him deal with the tragedy, but it also can be a way to keep the memory of Ana (and the entire Greene family) alive in the community.
"When events that are very tragic like (Newtown) take place, I find the news outlets tend to focus on who did the attacks and not the victims," he said Tuesday. "The tune was put together to remind people about her, to never forget. She had a certain glow to her, a certain energy.
"She was very funny and loved to smile."
Sader said he talked to his former mentor about doing something for Ana. He plans on sending him a copy of the song when he records it.
Glow is a mellow jazz track, Sader says, with a subtle backbeat to push things along. Joined by bassist Karl Kohut and pianist Will Bonness, it’s a song that inspires personal reflection, a chance to sit back and give attention to those loved ones in our lives.
"After the shootings took place, I found myself struggling to think straight," said Sader, who plays drums. "I was just so crushed and heartbroken for that family, for everyone. It was the first time I knew someone in an event like this, and it shook me. I felt that I should try to channel some of those emotions into a song."
Sader isn’t the only jazz musician inspired by the Greene family and Ana.
On Tuesday, popular American jazz crooner Harry Connick Jr. released a song dedicated to the memory of the six-year-old, as well. Entitled Love Wins, proceeds from the single go to the Ana Grace Fund (anagracefund. com), a project set up to help the Greene family get through their difficult time.
"Ana Grace used to say ‘love wins’ — and you know what? It always does!" Connick Jr. wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week. Connick Jr. also called Greene, a tenor sax player, a "longtime friend" and said the family is "devastated beyond description" at the tragic death of their daughter.