Saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Jimmy Greene has emerged as a positive young presence in the creative music world. His solo recordings, True Life Stories (Criss Cross), Forever (Criss Cross), Brand New World (RCA Victor) and Introducing Jimmy Greene (Criss Cross) have been met with much critical acclaim. In fact, Tony Hall of Jazzwise Magazine calls Greene "...without doubt one of the most striking young tenors of recent years."
Greene was born in Hartford, CT on February 24, 1975. From a young age, he exhibited a God-given affinity for music. Greene's parents started him on alto saxophone at age six, and encouraged him to practice. As a high school student, Greene was selected to perform in several Regional, All-Connecticut, and All-New England jazz ensembles and symphonic bands. Greene's music teacher at Bloomfield High School arranged for him to meet and play for Jackie McLean at the famed altoist's community arts school, The Artists'Collective. Of his eager student, McLean commented, "From the beginning, I could tell that he was going to be an exceptional student. He already had a very mature sound and a very mature concept." McLean's teaching over the subsequent years gave the young musician a firm foundation in improvisation, a profound viewpoint of the jazz tradition, as well as the inspiration to seek his own musical identity.
Greene formed his first quintet while in high school, and began composing music soon thereafter. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the David Liebman Summer Saxophone Workshop, and during his senior year, augmented his studies at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts under bassist/educator Dave Santoro. As a member of the Academy Jazz Ensemble, Greene won the Most Outstanding Soloist award at the 1993 Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Ensemble Festival and was selected to the 1993 Grammy All-American High School Jazz Band, conducted by Branford Marsalis.
Greene graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1993 with high honors. He continued his studies at the Hartt School/University of Hartford with Jackie McLean, trombonist Steve Davis, and saxophonists Ken Radnofsky and Kris Jensen. During his final year at Hartt, Greene performed often alongside trumpeter Claudio Roditi. In fact, Greene made his recording debut on Roditi's "Double Standards" release on the Reservoir label. At the same time, Greene entered the prestigious 1996 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Jazz Saxophone Competition. He was named First Runner-up by a panel of judges that included Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Jackie McLean, and Joshua Redman.