Tammy Greene, Charlotte’s ‘Jazz Diva,’ dies after years-long battle with breast cancer

Greene was owner of Jazz Diva Entertainment, a promotion team that hosted jazz events locally and in the greater Charlotte area.

Tammy Greene, a Charlotte promoter of jazz concerts and entertainment,  has died after battling metastatic breast cancer. She was 55 years old.

Greene was owner of Jazz Diva Entertainment and hosted jazz events locally and in the greater Charlotte area.

Originally from Philadelphia, she moved to Charlotte to become a finance teacher at Central Piedmont Community College. But nearing the age of 40, she decided that she would rather pursue a career promoting jazz events.

When some of Greene’s friends opened a jazz venue, she began booking entertainment for them. And at a time when Charlotte had far fewer options for jazz music than it does today, she became known as “the Jazz Diva.”

Greene promoted the Uptown Jazz Festival and produced the Carolina Jazz Concert Series at CPCC and a weekly smooth jazz mixer at Sydney’s in Uptown. She also helped produce the Low Country Jazz Festival in Charleston, S.C.

Lonnie Davis, founder of Jazz Arts Charlotte, described Greene as “a beautiful person” and a “smart businesswoman.”

“I learned a lot from Tammy Greene over the years, just in our partnerships and just knowing her.”

Davis recalled collaborating with Greene about 10 years ago to produce a Swing Concert Series at McGlohon Theater. And although both women produced and promoted jazz events individually, Davis said there was never a sense of competition.

“It was always a pleasure to work with her,” Davis said.” She was always very positive, and like I said, she was like a big sister to me as I was learning this promotion, this jazz promotion.

“We established from the beginning that there was nothing to compete for,” Davis added. “There was no reason to compete because we were both in it for the same reason, for the love of the music, to bring music that we both love to the community.”

Davis said Greene’s biggest impact may be in the work she did to increase the jazz offerings in a city where jazz options were few.

“People connect her to smooth jazz primarily, but Tammy loved all the music. She loved all jazz. And I learned that by working with her,” Davis said.

“She brought world-class musicians to the city, to the region and really help to put Charlotte on the map as a location where great music took place,” Davis continued. “And she also brought lots of people together with her events and really helped to build the momentum and the excitement for the music here in Charlotte.”

Jerry Hopper met Greene 16 years ago when he was working as a DJ at radio station WSGE (91.7-FM) in Dallas, N.C. He said the two would often discuss music. Then one day, she recruited him to join her promotion company.

“I bumped into her, and she asks me when I was going to come and do some things with her,” he recalled. 

Hopper said his professional association with Greene lasted for 15 years, during which time he worked as a production assistant for Jazz Diva Entertainment. He said her work brought exposure to Jazz music in Charlotte.

“She was a lover of Jazz music and tried to bring those cultural events to the area,” he said.

In one of Greene’s final posts to her Facebook page, on Oct. 31, she re-shared a post from two year prior in which she wrote about the physical struggles of going through cancer treatment.

“I may look normal, but my body fights every day … every single day,” she wrote. “Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All of the energy around breast cancer will slow down drastically….but for me, my fight is 365 days a year.”

Green ended the post by saying she was “blessed beyond measure” to have friends who encouraged her.

This article was updated to include remarks by Lonnie Davis, founder of Jazz Arts Charlotte.

Jalon Hill
Jalon is a general assignment reporter for QCity Metro. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and an avid sports fan. (jalon@qcitymetro.com)

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