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Jimmy Greene: Fire and Brilliance

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Jimmy Greene lived in Winnipeg for a few short years, but he and his family have laid claim to many of us, and we continue to think of them as part of our extended community. The internationally acclaimed saxophonist is returning in June as a special headliner in this year’s TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival.

During his years on the Jazz Studies faculty at the University of Manitoba, audiences here soaked up his big warm sound and intense lyricism. He was a staple at the Wednesday Night Hang, and a frequent performer on concert stages. His students flourished under his attention, and his many friends appreciated his easy smile and generosity of spirit.

Jimmy Greene was a First Runner-Up in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1996, and one of “25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz” in 1999. His career has confirmed those expectations in spades, with nine recordings as a leader, over 70 as a sideman, and countless tours and performances in countries all over the world. Reviewers and audiences have raved a about his sound and his artistry, and his name regularly appears on critics’ polls.

Now an Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Western Connecticut State University, Jimmy returns to Winnipeg for an evening with old friends and colleagues. The bandleader is drummer Curtis Nowosad, a student during Jimmy’s tenure at the U of M, and just back after a first year of graduate work at the Manhattan School of Music. Also on the stage: Will Bonness on piano, Derrick Gardner on trumpet, and Steve Kirby on bass.

Expect fire and brilliance from each of them, along with a special sympatico that comes with knowing one another’s musical sensibilities well enough to predict and respond in an instant. It’s going to be a memorable night!

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