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Radio Kansas plays Jazz

Watercolor graphic of small jazz ensemble

Jazz has a long history on public radio, and we're glad to bring you several great shows for fans of jazz and blues! Saturday evening kicks off early with Dee Alexander bringing you her unique take with All That at 7, Dave Schwan then hosts Straight Ahead - jazz from his deep library starting at 8.












Dee Alexander

Producer/Host, All That, Saturdays at 7


Dee Alexander is one of Chicago’s most gifted and respected vocalists/songwriters. Her musical interests span virtually every genre especially those related to the African diaspora including: Gospel, R&B, Blues, Neo-soul and other global musical forms. Her true heart and soul though, are ultimately expressed in their purest form through her explorations in “jazz”, the one idiom that can encompass all her interests and influences. Ms. Alexander gravitated toward this musical form at an early age. She names Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Nins Simone and Ella Fitzgerald among her many major influences. Chicago saxophonist “Light” Henry Huff, as well,was profoundly influential on her by encouraging the taking of risks and the crossing of boundaries, setting her on a path that has allowed her to emerge as one of the celebrated vocal improvisers on the scene today. From a sultry traditional ballad, to a contemporary jazz-funk groove, a high-flying swing, or scat-filled romp, 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.

In addition to being a seasoned headliner in her own right, she has also shared the stage with Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Gerald Albright, Roy Ayers, Joshua Redman, and Oliver Lake to name a few. Avoiding the inclination to seek to monopolize the spotlight, Ms. Alexander has lent her considerable talents as a back-up vocalist to the live performances of many other well-known artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Phil Perry and Willie Clayton. Dee Alexander leads a quartet under her own name as well as has established the Evolution Ensemble, an acoustic group consisting of string and percussion instruments, that puts a strong emphasis on original compositions.

The Chicago group Women Driving Excellence honored Alexander as one of 2016’s Trailblazing Women. In 2012, she received the prestigious 3Arts Award in music and in 2011 the NAACP honored her for outstanding achievements in the arts. She was honored in 2009 by Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago as the Alyo Awardee for Outstanding Service to the Arts.
Chicago magazine named her “Best Chicago Vocalist” in its July 2009 issue. Ms. Alexander received the 2007 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz Award and in 2008–10 Jazz Entertainer of the Year from the Chicago Music Awards. She a longstanding member of the Chicago chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and Chamber Music America.


Dave Schwan

Producer/Host, Straight Ahead, Saturdays at 8

Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, Dave Schwan has been around music all of his life. Thanks to musical family members, Dave was exposed to jazz as early as age five and never looked back. While playing and performing music on an amateur level, Dave has had a life-long fascination with the history of jazz, American music and its contributions to the world. Dave says that jazz is a true art form and agrees with Duke Ellington’s dictum: “If it sounds good, it is good.”

He has worked as a broadcast journalist and program host for nearly 40 years.

In addition to music, travel is one of his main interests and that has taken him to all 50 U.S. states, Europe and Peru. Along with taking in the history of these places, Dave has always made a point to seek out their musical culture as well, something that never fails to enhance a journey anywhere in the world.