featuring Dee Alexander
The Metropolitan Jazz Octet
John Kornegay – alto saxophone
Bill Overton – tenor saxophone
Peter Brusen – baritone saxophone
Doug Scharf – trumpet
Russ Phillips – trombone
Bob Sutter – piano
Doug Bistrow – bass
Bob Rummage – drums
Dee Alexander - vocals
MJO and Dee Alexander perform at Winter’s for the first time. They will present music for their Delmark Records release of "It’s Too Hot For Words”, music that celebrates the life and artistry of Billie Holiday.
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The Chicago Tribune writes: “It’s Too Hot for Words” (Delmark Records). Pair Chicagoan Alexander’s stylistically versatile vocals with...glistening arrangements for the Metropolitan Jazz Octet, and you have new ways of appreciating Alexander’s art. All the more because she takes on music associated with Billie Holiday, but not the most obvious songs (with the exception of “Strange Fruit,” delivered here on a nearly operatic scale).
Alexander’s voice produces fascinating colors and textures throughout.
The Metropolitan Jazz Octet (MJO) is the reawakening of a group founded in the 1950s by saxophonist/arranger and De Paul University professor Tom Hilliard (1930–2006).
In 1959, the original group recorded “The Legend of Bix,” a tribute to the artistry of cornetist/composer Bix Beiderbecke. Near the end of Tom Hilliard’s life, he bequeathed his life’s work of music to his former student, Jim Gailloreto.
In 2014, Jim began to explore Tom’s legacy with a monthly reading of the MJO library. The musicians involved — two former fellow DePaul students among them — likened the experience to an archaeological jazz dig, with each session unearthing a new layer of the original group’s creativity, thinking and
This year, MJO is thrilled to collaborate with engaging jazz vocalist Dee Alexander to produce their latest album “It’s Too Hot for Words”, a reimagining of 10 classics from the great Billie Holiday. The album includes well-known songs such as “The Blues Are a Brewin’”, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, “I’m a Fool to Want You” and more; each one tells a story filled with varied moods, textures and colors.
Delmark Records will soon release this album—near to the 60th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s tragic passing. We are very fortunate that she lives on through her extensive discography, and we are grateful that we can share and build upon her rich legacy.
Dee Alexander – vocals