Review by Willard Manus

Saxophonist Jimmy Greene remembers his beloved six-year-old daughter Ana on his latest release, FLOWERS. The child was murdered five years ago, along with twenty of her classmates and six teachers, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Greene paid previous tribute to her and the others in his 2014 album, “Beautiful Life.” Now he has followed it with FLOWERS, a CD dedicated to Ana and her love of dancing.

Greene, joined by various members of his two touring bands, wrote ten new tunes for FLOWERS (the eleventh, “Something About You,” is the only non-original). He leads the way on all of them, backed up by such artists as John Pattitucci, Otis Brown III, Renee Rosnes and Mike Moreno. Sheena Rattai and Jean Baylor each contribute a vocal.

Greene, a longtime jazz stalwart on the sax, outdoes himself on FLOWERS, playing with extraordinary skill, power and emotion. There is nothing sentimental or sappy here; he and the others simply play their hearts out, sometimes intensely and joyously (“Fun Circuits”), other times in a strong, bluesy way (“December,” the month in which the massacre occurred). The result is an album that’s as moving and life-affirming as it could possibly be.