Saxophonist Jimmy Greene had a Winnipeg International Jazz Festival audience swinging in his daughter's memory Monday night.
Greene, the former University of Manitoba jazz-studies professor, was a special guest with the Curtis Nowosad Quintet and earned warm rounds of applause for his modern jazz solos and his heart.
He left Winnipeg in 2012 for a professor's job in his home state of Connecticut, but shortly after, in December 2012, tragedy struck. His six-year-old daughter, Ana Marquez-Greene, was slain along with 19 of her Grade 1 classmates during a shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The Greenes set up a foundation in Ana's memory, the Ana Grace Project, and $10 from every ticket sold Monday went toward the foundation.
Near the end of the second set Monday, Greene, making his first appearance on a Winnipeg stage since his departure, thanked the jazz fest, his bandmates and the audience for their support and generosity.
"That keeps the memory of our little girl alive," Greene said.
The Ana Grace Project's goal is to promote love, connection and community for children and families.
Shortly after Greene's words, Nowosad, a drummer and graduate of the U of M jazz program who's now studying in New York, said it was the band's honour to help out the foundation.
"We want to contribute in any we can to make the world a better place," he said.