Newtown dad's album honoring daughter earns Grammy nominations

Newtown dad's album honoring daughter earns G... 07:26

Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene is a double Grammy nominee for an album that pays tribute to his daughter.

Two years after Ana was killed in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the musician released "Beautiful Life" -- his first album since the tragedy, reports "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King.

Greene described music as "the language that kicks in when words don't suffice."

"So the process of making the music, it was fraught with tears and a lot of pain, but it was a necessary expression, just like talking is a necessary expression." Greene said.

Greene's wife Nelba would find her husband locked in Ana's room, practicing, looking at music or writing them in tears.

"They say after a trauma, there's three normal responses. You know, fight, flight or freeze," Nelba said. "And I think what Jimmy did is he showed, and he is showing people that there's another way and that's create."

Greene said his double Grammy nominations is the "biggest honor," but wished his daughter was there to see.

One of his songs from his album, "Seventh Candle," symbolizes the candle he'd never get to put on Ana's next birthday cake. She was just six - and a "half," as she would always emphasize to her parents - when she was killed.

Greene wrote the song around the time of her seventh birthday in 2013, playing it specifically on soprano saxophone because that is the closest range to his daughter's voice.

The first track of the album also features a recording of Ana with her brother, Isaiah.

Greene also used a children's choir made up of Ana's and Isaiah's friends from when the family lived in Canada. Greene said recording with Ana's friends was "powerful," but also painful, as it was the first time seeing them since Ana's death.

Jimmy Greene lost his 6-year-old daughter Ana... 05:15

"It was painful, absolutely. But the music that poured out of them was just really, really special," he said.

While she describes her husband as a "creator," Nelba calls herself a fighter. After her daughter's death, she went right into "fight mode," heading to Washington to do some lobbying.

Greene and his wife knew each other since they were 15 and starting dating at 17. They went to two proms together and got married at 25. Despite their ordeal of losing a child, Nelba said the couple's faith and community of people around them helped them keep their marriage together.

"I think it was hard because one of the things that people don't like to talk about is how hard grief is on the marital unit. But we were able to bring out strengths together, that will leave a legacy, hopefully, for many generations to come," Nelba said. "And for our son, because he needs an example of how you respond to tragedy. And he's a beautiful kid who still deserves it."

The family had only lived in Sandy Hook for four months when Ana was killed. Despite the tragedy, the couple said their decision to move to live in a "good place" was a "good decision," and didn't want to leave.

"That's Ana's house. We ain't going nowhere," Nelba said.

The couple also made a conscious decision not to have another child.

"We've talked to Isaiah about it and we talk to each other. And it always comes back to - and Isaiah says this too - 'I just want Ana,'" Greene said.

"She was a little girl that felt a lot of love, so it was not uncommon to come home to a note from Ana," Nelba said. "As a matter of of fact, one of the most memorable things, and one of the things that allowed us, I think, to live this far is the day that she said to us, 'Don't let them suck your fun circuits dry, mom' when we were having a hard day. So we remember the notes of love, the words of encouragement. And she did have a very special way about her."

The song "Ana's Way" from Greene's album captures exactly that. The lyrics, which Greene wrote himself, goes: "She danced and sang and laughed and lived a life full of joyful memories. Ana had a way about her."