Chicago jazz singer Elaine Dame sings – and people stop and listen. Since 1996, the womanTime Out Chicago calls “a jazz dynamo” and “a gem in the city’s vocal jazz scene” has been turning heads and capturing attention at over 300 of the nation’s finest clubs and venues. From her appearances at The Rainbow Room in New York City to her monthly residencies at Southport and Irving and Parker’s American, to her performance at the 2015 Chicago Jazz Festival and New York’s famed 54 Below, to headlining venerable Chicago jazz clubs like The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club and The Drake Hotel’s famed Coq D’Or, Elaine’s is a career spent at the heart of swinging and sophisticated jazz.
While her ensembles range from a guitar and vocal duo for cocktails and dinner to a full octet for dancing, Elaine is most often found performing with her quartet or her trio for Chicago corporate events and Chicago weddings.The musicians she works with rank among Chicago’s finest: a pianist who played with Dizzy Gillespie and Joni Mitchell, a guitarist who accompanied Barbra Streisand on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and a saxophonist who toured with Frank Sinatra whom the New York Timesdescribes as in the virtuoso range.
But while virtuosity is a given, it’s the joy she exudes with every note that makes Elaine’s performances unforgettable. A graduate of The Theater Repertory Program at California State Northridge, Elaine worked for years in Chicago’s theater scene before turning her whole focus to jazz. She’s a singer who understands the importance of stage presence. It’s no wonder the Chicago Reader wrote, “Ms.Dame has a winning stage presence and a chameleon-like vocal flexibility.”
Comes Love, Ms. Dame’s debut recording on the blujazz record label, was released to wide critical acclaim and international radio play. “Her joy in the act of singing is obvious throughout the entirety of Comes Love. Dame combines a freshness of approach with an unaffected fondness for the music she sings. The result is a clear-eyed approach to her material that remains accessible to a broad cross section of listeners, potentially enlarging the audience for jazz,” says Jazz Improv Magazine.
Elaine’s sophomore recording You’re My Thrill was released on December 1st, 2014 and has garnered rave reviews. Neil Tesser, Grammy award-winning writer and author, The Playboy Guide to Jazz said this: “Elaine possesses an exacting, exhilarating command of melodic lines and emotional currents. It helps that she has pinpoint intonation: in performance, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard her miss her mark, even on difficult leaps or drops in a melody line. But she handles those intervals with a dancer’s grace and a nuanced attack, which allow the line to unfold seamlessly. She floats through a melody without any apparent effort; to appreciate her musicianship, listen to most other singers handle the same material (you can practically hear them sweat). And Dame’s phrasing manages to wed an improviser’s expressiveness with a welcome fidelity to the words and their meaning. I think if a saxophone could speak, it might sound like this.”
For the past ten years, in addition to her consistent work as a jazz singer, Ms. Dame has been a private jazz vocal instructor and was honored to have been a 2013 teaching artist at Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Summer Jazz Academy, where she taughtscatting workshops.