Dee 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 idiom that can encompass all her influences. She 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. Dee 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 original compositions.
Some of her recent career highlights include the following:
2018 History Makers honoring Harry Lennix, Jr.
2016 Chicago Symphony Center -Chicago Jazz Orchestra Tribute to Sarah Vaughan
2015 Chicago Jazz Festival – Chicago Jazz Festival
2014 Kennedy Center – Chicago Jazz Orchestra – Kennedy Center Honors
2013 Newport Jazz Festival
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; 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; AACM Great Black Music Ensemble Tribute to Fletcher Henderson – Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion; Jazz Institute of Chicago – Tribute to ”Light“ Henry Huff – Columbus Park; Blue Room – Kansas City, Mo – Dee Alexander Trio with Dennis Winslett
2006 Sweet Rhythm NYC – Passing Thru with Oliver Lake; Chicago Jazz Festival with Africa Brass Tribute to Malachi Thompson; Exquisitely for Ella Tribute - Chicago Jazz Orchestra
2005 Millennium Park Jazz Series – Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra; Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – Douglas Ewart’s Inventions; Chicago Jazz Festival - Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble.
Internationally, Ms. Alexander has performed at the following:
2017 Tel Aviv Jazz Festival; Dee Alexander Quartet
2016 Corsica/Sunset-Paris France; Dee Alexander Quartet
2015 Vienna Austria – Dee Alexander Quartet; Joy of Jazz Festival- Johannesburg, South Africa; Toulouse- Germany-Dee Alexander Quartet; Made in Chicago-Poznan, Poland
2014 Luanda, Angola-Dee Alexander Quartet; Austria; Dee Alexander-Sydney, Australia
2013 Sons d’Hiver Festival-Paris France; Evolution Ensemble-Milano; Made in Chicago-Poznan Poland 2012 Bliss – Paris, France; Umbria Winter Fest-Orvieto
2011 Tel Aviv Jazz Festival; Dee Alexander Quartet
2010 Umbria Winter Jazz Festival in Orvieto, Italy; Bridgestone Jazz Festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Nîmes Agglo Jazz Festival, Jazz a Serres - Provence-Alpes-Cote d’ Azure; France, Voreppe – Rhones- Alpes, France; Souillac en Jazz Festival-Midi-Pyrenees, France; Carré Sévigné, Cesson-Sévigné, Rhino Jazz Festival, Espace Tival, Kingersheim, JazzOnze+ Festival, Lausanne Switzerland; Sardegna -Sant’Anna Arressi Jazz
2009 Umbria Jazz Festival with Great Black Music Ensemble - Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris France, Sirens of Song- Tribute to Nina/Dinah
2008 United Nations Conference on Global Warming in Poznan, Poland – Sirens of Song – Tribute to Nina/Dinah, INNtöne - Jazz am Bauernh of Diersbach Austria with Ari Brown Quartet, Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris, France with Ernest Dawkins’ Chicago 12 and AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble
2007/2006 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 Mitchells Black Earth Ensemble in Rome, Italy
2004 Banlieues Bleues Festival in Paris, France with Douglas Ewart and Trio Inventions.
She has toured extensively in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and France with Sue Conway and the Victory Singers, and in Singapore and Holland with the Art Porter Quartet at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
2020 City of Chicago Individual Artist Program - Esteemed Artist Grant
2019 OUTSTANDING WOMAN AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE for Music and Theater Arts
The African American Arts Alliance of Chicago - Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the arts community of Chicago; Live the Spirit Residency and the Englewood Jazz Festival presents The Spirit of Jazz Award in recognition of your inspiration and many contributions to Jazz and all its forms
2012 Jazz recipient of the 3Arts; State of Illiois Jesse White Award for Music Arts
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. Best Singer of Chicago in July 2009 issue of Chicago Magazine; Muntu Dance Theater Alyo Awardee for Outstanding Service to the Arts.
2008 “Chicagoan of the Year" (Chicago Tribune, 2008); Jazz Entertainer of the Year" (Chicago Music Awards)
• AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), 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 re-interpreting the music of rock and soul legends James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.
• Jazz Radio Host of the WFMT Jazz Network
• 3Arts Artist Council 2019
• Jazz Institute of Chicago Women’s Leadership Council
Showing a limitless versatility, Ms. Alexander has performed with Muntu Dance Company of Chicago. She 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:
2001 WBBM Channel 2; WTTW Arts Across Illinois with Malachi Thompson’s Freebop Band; Bernie Mac’s HBO “Midnight Mac” Special.
2005 Portraits in Color; WTTW Channel 11 Check Please; WTTW Channel 11 Chicago Tonite with Phil Ponce; WTTW Going Home Gospel with Sue Conway and the Victory Singers featuring Patti LaBelle
2009 “Wild As The Wind” on BluJazz
2014 “Songs My Mother Loves” on BluJazz
2019 “It’s Too Hot For Words” - The Metropolitan Jazz Octet (MJO) featuring Dee Alexander on Delmark Records.
Maurice J. Vaughn
Thomas (Moni Rashad)
Malika (Brenda) Moore
Jordan Maurice Brown
Maurice J. Vaughn
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