Friday, August 29, 2014

New Orleans saxophonist Tim Green has died

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 5:15 PM

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New Orleans saxophonist Tim Green — an omnipresent player and WWOZ-FM champion — has died. 

The Connecticut native moved to New Orleans in the late '70s and has shared and lit up the stage with countless musicians, from Walter "Wolfman" Washington to Anders Osborne to the West African and jazz ensemble Africa Brass and avant-garde artists like James Singleton and Helen Gillet, among dozens others. His credits onstage and in the studio span several decades. He also served as the station manager for WWOZ in 1988.

"I'm an improviser, not a composer," Green told Sam Winston in a 2007 Gambit interview. "I've never felt limited in my creativity from the side of the stage, and I'm still finding interesting things in the music every time I play."

Onstage, his powerful playing never took time away from those he shared it with, whether as a sideman for a rock band or slipping in and out of the shared momentum of an improvised jazz ensemble — and offstage, where he wrote thank you cards to his fellow players. He told Gambit, "I just feel fortunate to play with them and to be allowed so much creativity."

Jonathan Freilich filed a comprehensive 2011 interview with Green, covering his early years as a student to his later years as a master collaborator.

Local musicians and fans have shared their memories of Green on social media. Gillet wrote, "My teacher, my friend, a true musical GIANT and I enjoyed every minute of music we made together. He gave so much every time he was on stage; his melodic innovations live on in the hearts and souls of so many people."

Bonerama's Mark Mullins wrote, "Tim taught without teaching. He made you try to be a better person just by being around him and he played with a style unlike any other saxophonist I have ever heard. Perhaps most of all, he brought his open, creative, jazz influenced style into a world of music you might not expect from a player like him, that of songwriter based rock music. I loved that about Tim. He was such a gem and his wide musical influences contributed so greatly to these other styles of music."

On his blog, musician Jeff Albert recalled Green complimenting him after his first Naked Orchestra performance:

I don’t remember his exact words, I just remember that the guy who made the most music in this group of (close to 20) great musicians went out of his way to say something encouraging to me. He made me think that maybe I could make some music that mattered. Those few words from him really did change my life.

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