Jimmy Greene, Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue)
The album opens with saxophonist Jimmy Greene’s 6-year-old daughter Ana angelically singing “Come Thou Almighty King” at a 2011 family Christmas celebration. A year later Ana was one of the 26 pupils and teachers murdered in the assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In his notes, Mr. Greene stresses that the album is in memory not of how she died, but of “how she lived, lovingly, faithfully and joyfully.” Joining him in the tribute to Ana are pianists Renee Rosnes, Kenny Barron and Cyrus Chestnut; guitarist Pat Metheny; vocalists Kurt Elling, Latanya Farrell and Javier Colon; bassist Christian McBride; drummer Lewis Nash; strings of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; voice actress Anika Noni Rose; and a children’s choir of Ana’s classmates from the period when the Greenes lived in Winnipeg, Canada. This memorial is indescribably moving and, yes, joyful.