Dee Alexander [Bio] – Women Driving Excellence 2016 Honoree
Dee Alexander is one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected female vocalist/songwriters. Her talents span every music genre, from Gospel to R&B, from Blues to NeoSoul. Yet her true heart and soul are experienced in their purest form through her performance of Jazz music. From a soft, sultry traditional ballad, to a contemporary JazzFunk groove; from a high flying swing, to a scatfilled romp, Dee 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. Some of her career highlights include the following:
2015 –Kennedy Center Honors with Chicago Jazz Orchestra, 2013 – Newport Jazz Festival; Mississippi Valley Blues Festival;Made in Chicago Funkin with Acoustic Soul: Tribute to Jimi Hendrix/James Brown – Pritzker Pavillion – Millenium Park; 2010 –Tribute to Abraham Lincoln – Proclamation of Hope with Ramsey Lewis at Kennedy Center; 2009 Chicago Jazz Festival – Dee Alexander and the Siren’s Orchestra; 2009 Tribute to Abraham Lincoln – Proclamation of Hope with Ramsey Lewis – Ravinia; 2008 Hope in Action – Homage to Nelson Mandela with Orbert Davis and Chicago Jazz Philharmonic – Millennium Park; 2007 Sirens of Song – Tribute to Nina Simone and Dinah Washington – Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion; 2007 AACM Great Black Music Ensemble Tribute to Fletcher Henderson – Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion; 2007 Jazz Institute of Chicago – Tribute to ”Light“Henry Huff – Columbus Park; 2007 Blue Room – Kansas City, Mo – Dee Alexander Trio with Dennis Winslett; 2006 Sweet Rhythm NYC – Passing Thru with Oliver Lake; 2006 Chicago Jazz Festival with Africa Brass Tribute to Malachi Thompson; 2006 Exquisitely for Ella Tribute Chicago Jazz Orchestra; 2005 Millennium Park Jazz Series – Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra; 2005 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – Douglas Ewart’s Inventions; 2005 Chicago Jazz Festival Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble.
Besides being a phenomenal headliner in her own right, Dee has shared the stage with Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Gerald Albright, Roy Ayers, Joshua Redman, and the O’Jays. Not being one to ever feel that the spotlight has to belong exclusively to her, Ms. Alexander has lent her considerable talents as a backup vocalist to the live performances of an array of many other well known artists i.e., Michael Bolton, Phil Perry, Willie Clayton, and Zora Young. Dee has also formed the Evolution Ensemble which is an acoustic group that consists of string instruments and percussion with a strong emphasis on original compositions.
Internationally, Ms. Alexander has performed at the 2015 WDR3 Jazz FestivalDortmund, Germany with Kirk Lightsey Trio; 2014 International Jazz FestivalLiebnitz, Austria; Chá de Caxinde Jazz Festival– Luanda, Angola; 2012 Bleu Indigo Jazz Series as Musee du quai Branly with Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang – Paris France; Aperitivo in concertoMilan, Italy; 2011 Rocella Jazz Festival; Umbria Jazz FestivalPerugia;Tel Aviv Jazz FestivalTel Aviv, Israel; 2010 Made in Made in ChicagoPoznan Poland; Umbria Winter Jazz Festival Orvieto, Italy; 2010 Bridgestone Jazz FestivalSao Paolo, Brazil, Nîmes Agglo Jazz Festival, Jazz a Serres ProvenceAlpesCote d’ Azure; France, Voreppe – Rhones Alpes, France; Souillac en Jazz FestivalMidiPyrenees, France; Carré Sévigné, CessonSévigné, Rhino Jazz Festival, Espace Tival, Kingersheim, JazzOnze+ FestivalLausanne SwitzerlandSant’Anna Aressi Jazz 2009 and 2010 – Sardegna, Umbria Jazz Festival with Great Black Music EnsembleSons d’Hiver Festival in Paris France; Sirens of SongTribute to Nina/Dinah, 2008 United Nations Conference on Global WarmingPoznan, Poland – Sirens of Song – Tribute to Nina/Dinah, INNtöne Jazz am Bauernhof Diersbach, Austria with Ari Brown Quartet; Sons d’Hiver FestivalParis, France with Ernest Dawkins’ Chicago 12 and AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble “2013, 2007 and 2006 Made in Chicago Festival” in Poznan, Poland with Inventions, Maggie Brown, Evolution Ensemble and Nicole Mitchell’s Harambee Project; Le Labbra Nude Jazz Festival with Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth EnsembleRome, Italy; Banlieues Bleues Festival 2004Paris, France with Douglas Ewart and Trio Inventions and she has toured extensively throughout Europe and Africa.
Showing a limitless versatility, Ms. Alexander has performed with Muntu Dance Company of Chicago. Dee has been featured on various commercial spots, including Alpo, McDonalds, Pert Plus, the Illinois State Lottery, Diet 7Up, Pillsbury, Buick LeSabre, Commonwealth Edison, Dove, and Amoco. Ms. Alexander’s television performances include WTTW 2011 Proclamation of HopeTribute to Abraham Lincoln with Ramsey Lewis;WBBM Channel 2 Portraits in Color; WTTW Channel 11 Chicago Tonite with Phil Ponce; WTTW Going Home Gospel with Sue Conway and the Victory Singers featuring Patti LaBelle; WTTW Arts Across Illinois with Malachi Thompson’s Freebop Band; and Bernie Mac’s HBO “Midnight Mac” Special. Ms. Alexander has also received the 2007 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz Award and 2008/2010/2012/2015 Jazz Entertainer of the Year by the Chicago Music Awards and was named the Best Singer of Chicago in July 2009 issue of Chicago Magazine. Ms. Alexander is also a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and Chamber Music America (CMA). Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago honored Dee Alexander as the 2009 Alyo Awardee for Outstanding Service to the Arts. Ms. Alexander was honored by the NAACP for her outstanding achievements in the arts in 2011. January 2009, Dee Alexander’s CD “Wild As The Wind” was released on the BluJazz Label and received 5 stars in Downbeat and receive rave reviews.