Dee Alexander Quartet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Dee Alexander Quartet 

When: Thu., April 16, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., April 17, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., April 18, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., April 19, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2015
Price: $20
On her latest album, Songs My Mother Loves (Blujazz), the superb Chicago singer Dee Alexander boasts versatility and a range that have long been understood as foregone conclusions with her output. Few jazz vocalists can deliver standards with precision and melodic elegance during one gig, then turn around and shape abstract, unbounded improvisations the next—but that’s always been Alexander’s thing. Songs was cut with her excellent working band, as well as a variety of guests including saxophonists Ari Brown and Oliver Lake. It salutes Alexander’s mother—who played records by Eddie Jefferson and Dinah Washington throughout the singer’s childhood—and features sharp arrangements that put new spins on gems like “Letter From Home” and “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Alexander also includes a handful of songs immortalized by Abbey Lincoln, a modernist jazz singer who formed a bold inside-out paradigm that clearly inspired her (and someone whose music she introduced to her mother). The performances stay firmly within jazz tradition, but that doesn’t mean the singer sticks to the script. For this engagement she’s joined by pianist Miguel de la Cerna, bassist Junius Paul, and drummer Ernie Adams, all of whom are regular and empathetic collaborators. —Peter Margasak

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