with special guest vocalist
Celebrating Lester Young
& Billie Holiday
"I'd rather listen to [Madsen] than most other players out there right now"
-- Wynton Marsalis
“…she’s off to a remarkable start, a young singer of unusual accomplishment and extraordinary potential.”
-- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Alyssa Allgood - vocals
Chris Madsen - tenor sax
Jim Trompeter - piano
John Sims - bass
Greg Artry - drums
Two respective titans of their instruments, saxophonist Lester Young and vocalist Billie Holiday offered game-changing approaches to jazz in the first half of the 20th century. Coming up in the Swing Era of the 1930s, they made huge splashes with big bands before finding themselves together on record. From that point, jazz history was made and one of the most influential partnerships of all time had been formed. For the last twenty years of their lives, they collaborated on and off, but always shared a special connection, making some of the most telepathically beautiful music to grace the ear. Tonight, we reimagine music recorded by each of them separately and together.
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Jazz saxophonist Christopher Madsen is one of the most in-demand figures in the Chicago jazz world as a performer, composer, and pedagogue. He serves as full-time jazz faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, jazz faculty at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL, and was Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) from 2008-2014.
He is a sought-after jazz clinician, adjudicating at jazz festivals and offering workshops to ensembles of all ages and levels from across the globe. He is a Vandoren Performing Artist, and has also contributed jazz articles to The Instrumentalist magazine and been interviewed on several radio broadcasts about jazz history and his performing career.
As a leader and sideman, Madsen’s discography is extensive. He has released five albums as a leader since 2004 and can be heard as a player and composer on countless additional releases with artists such as Michael Dease, Marquis Hill, and Jeff Hamilton. He has performed at jazz festivals and live music venues domestically as well as in Japan, Spain, and Costa Rica.
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Chicago-based jazz vocalist Alyssa Allgood has been recognized as an artist who “impressively sings, scats and writes original lyrics” (DownBeat Magazine). Her voice is “radiant…strong and coolly expressive. She sings with a maturity marked by restraint and nuance” (Neil Tesser, Grammy Award-winning writer and critic).
Alyssa recently won the first Ella Fitzgerald Jazz Voice Competition held in Washington D.C. She was also named a 2016 Jazz Fellow through the Luminarts Cultural Foundation in Chicago, a Top 15 Finalist in the 2016 and 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and second place winner in the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Voice Competition.
Her debut album, “Out of the Blue”, reimagines the classic Blue Note Records era with original arrangements and lyrics. The album received wide critical acclaim and was hailed as a “Best Release of 2016” by eight different publications, including The Huffington Post, All About Jazz and The New York City Jazz Record. Critics consistently praised Alyssa’s instrumental approach and accomplished scat and vocalese singing.