Dee Alexander is among the premier vocalists and songwriters in American music today,
and one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected artists.
Her performances span virtually every music genre related to the African diaspora:
gospel, blues, neo-soul, rhythm and blues, and world music. But her true heart belongs
to jazz, the one medium that can encompass all her influences.
Ms. Alexander gravitated toward jazz at an early age and names Sarah Vaughan and
Ella Fitzgerald among her major influences, as well as Chicago saxophonist Henry Huff,
who encouraged her to take risks and cross boundaries, setting her on the path to
becoming one of the most accomplished voice improvisers in the world today.
Her 2007 “Sirens of Song” tribute to Nina Simone and Dinah Washington (commissioned
by the Jazz Institute of Chicago), at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion, introduced her
to a larger audience and helped her garner world recognition as well, resulting in
frequent tours of France, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Poland. Ms. Alexander
boasts long and fruitful associations with Chicago’s jazz elite (including Ramsey
Lewis, Orbert Davis and Nicole Mitchell), and leads two of her own bands: the Dee
Alexander Quartet and the Evolution Ensemble, which emphasizes her original compositions.
Her accolades include “Chicagoan of the Year” (Chicago Tribune, 2008) and “Jazz Entertainer
of the Year” (Chicago Music Awards), and her 2009 album “Wild Is the Wind” received
five stars (highest honor) from Downbeat magazine, which named it among the Top Ten
recordings of the new millennium. Ms. Alexander is also a member of the Association
for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago’s internationally known
musicians’ collective, and has performed frequently in major AACM productions, as
well as in other large-scale works on Chicago stages and television; recent projects
include a reinterpretation of the music of rock and soul legends James Brown and Jimi