Producer/Host, Jazz Network
Dee Alexander is one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected vocalists/songwriters. Her musical interests span virtually every genre—especially those related to the African diaspora, including Gospel, R&B, Blues, Neo-soul and other global musical forms. Her true heart and soul though, are ultimately expressed in their purest form through her explorations in “jazz”, the one idiom that can encompass all her interests and influences. Ms. Alexander gravitated toward this musical form at an early age. She names Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald among her many major influences. Chicago saxophonist “Light” Henry Huff, was also profoundly influential on her by encouraging the taking of risks and the crossing of boundaries, setting her on a path that has allowed her to emerge as one of the celebrated vocal improvisers on the scene today. From a sultry traditional ballad to a contemporary jazz-funk groove, a high-flying swing, or scat-filled romp, Alexander delivers each style with a passion and love of music that comes across in each and every note, and with a style and grace that is truly her own.
In addition to being a seasoned headliner in her own right, she has also shared the stage with Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Gerald Albright, Roy Ayers, Joshua Redman, and Oliver Lake, to name a few. Avoiding the inclination to seek to monopolize the spotlight, Ms. Alexander has lent her considerable talents as a back-up vocalist to the live performances of many other well-known artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Phil Perry and Willie Clayton. Dee Alexander leads a quartet under her own name and has also established the Evolution Ensemble, an acoustic group consisting of string and percussion instruments that puts a strong emphasis on original compositions.
The Chicago group “Women Driving Excellence” honored Alexander as one of 2016’s Trailblazing Women. In 2012, she received the prestigious 3Arts Award in music and in 2011, the NAACP honored her for outstanding achievements in the arts. She was honored in 2009, by Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago as the Alyo Awardee for Outstanding Service to the Arts.
Chicago magazine named her “Best Chicago Vocalist” in its July 2009 issue. Ms. Alexander received the 2007 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz Award and in 2008–10 Jazz Entertainer of the Year from the Chicago Music Awards. She is a longstanding member of the Chicago chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and Chamber Music America. There is seemingly at this point no end in sight for Dee Alexander’s celebrated musical journey exploration on which she is so generously taking us all along with her.