DEE ALEXANDER & The Metropolitan Jazz Octet @ JAZZ SHOWCASE, Chicago
November 29, 2021, 7pm: Metropolitan Jazz Octet featuring Dee Alexander
Metropolitan Jazz Octet
Mondays, November 29th, December 13th & 20th
7:00pm – 8:30pm
806 S. Plymouth Court | Chicago
Tickets: $15 GA
Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours is required to attend all shows.
2014 NPR Best Jazz Vocal
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 Neo-Soul. 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 Jazz-Funk groove; from a high flying swing, to a scat-filled 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. 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.
Metropolitan Jazz Octet / Dee Alexander – It’s Too Hot For Words: Celebrating Billie Holiday
Delmark DE 5032 (2019)
You won’t need to get very far into this disc – about 75 seconds, I’d say – to know why the Metropolitan Jazz Octet and Dee Alexander seem made for each other. After the rarely heard verse to “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” Jim Gailloreto’s arrangement swirls the horns together into a bebop Dixieland of collective improvisation; and yet, each one emerges with high-def clarity. And so does Alexander when she re-enters; she becomes another instrument in the mix.
It’s Too Hot For Words is a multi-generational time capsule: sterling musicians of the 21st Century, building upon an octet sound crafted 60 years earlier, to revitalize songs that Holiday began recording in the 1930s. It also serves as a springboard for the one aspect of Holiday’s work that Alexander does mimic. Sutter puts it this way: “Dee does what 90 percent of singers don’t do: instead of just singing the song, she tells a story – like Billie.” And all the while, the MJO spins evocative stories of their own: wordless but equally literate narratives to complement the human instrument invited into their midst.