'Soul-infused jazz' at Avalon

Chicago-based jazz singer Typhanie Monique will contribute to the holiday spirit this year with jazzy renditions of Christmas carols and ditties on her Northwest tour promoting her newest album, "Yuletide Groove."

While in the area visiting in-laws for the holidays, Monique will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Avalon Bar & Grill in Talent. For this performance, Monique will be accompanied by local guitarist Ed Dunsavage and bassist Jim Calhoun.

Her Christmas CD, "Yuletide Groove, Typhanie Monique, Neal Alger and Friends," was released in November 2008. The 14-track CD includes the musical stylings of about 16 guest artists, including jazz organ player Tony Monaco.

"The CD contains everything from classic carols to the fun holiday ditties and an original composition, 'Christmas Spirit,' " Monique said.

Monique's Talent stop will complete her Northwest tour through Seattle, Olympia, Wash., and Portland. She said the tour was more isolated than past tours "because you only have December to promote a Christmas CD."

Monique said her music could be described as "soul-infused jazz."

"Stylistically, my sound is jazz-oriented in phrasing, feel and note choices, but there is this underbelly of pop and soul influences," she said.

Besides "Yuletide Groove," her albums include "Intrinsic," released in 2004 and "In This Room," released in 2007. Each album contains three of Monique's original jazz compositions as well as new arrangements of classic jazz songs, including Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," Horace Silver's "Song for my Father" and Myles Davis' "All Blues." Guitarist Alger and a few special guests accompanied Monique in both CDs.

Although Alger will not be playing with her at the Avalon, he typically tours with her. While in Chicago, the duo plays with an organ trio, and while touring, they often choose local musicians to accompany them.

Monique was considered for the Grammy's "Best Jazz Album Vocal of the Year" for her work in "Yuletide Groove" and "In this Room," but did not exceed the preliminary voting round.

Monique is compiling songs for a new CD of jazz, contemporary tunes and original tunes to be released at the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.

"In the next disc, I'm hoping to have at least half of the material be original compositions," she said.

Monique said her originals reflect a variety of themes, from relationships, such as in the song "Let it Go," to typical everyday scenarios as in "Smile."

"I think (my music) very much represents who I am," she said. "I think I've established a sound over the years that I continue to grow with."

Today, Monique's music is being aired on dozens of radio stations across the U.S., Canada, France, Poland, Portugal and Brazil.

Although Monique has a natural musical aptitude, she said she did not come from a musical family, but her family did play "good music."

Good music is "when music is in its rawest form and performed really well by someone who has their heart and soul but also has technical proficiency," she said.

When Monique was 8 years old, she attended her first concert — Lionel Richie and Tina Turner — and loved it.

Through her grade school music teachers, she developed a vigorous devotion to good music, and her high school choir teacher instilled in her a love for jazz.

Monique attended Elmhurst College in the suburbs of Chicago and acquired her bachelor's degree in jazz and music business. She now teaches voice and piano and is pursuing her master's in musical pedagogy at Northeastern Illinois University-Chicago.

One of her students, who was from Russia, recommended Monique to teach at The Moscow College of Improvising Music. While there, Monique also played at pubs throughout Russia and the Ukraine.

Despite her avid attention to jazz music, Monique said she loves all genres of music, but especially music by Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

"I fell in love with their voices," she said. "I fell in love with their style and with jazz. I love being able to improvise."

Admission to the Avalon show is $10. Call 512-8864 or see www.tmonique.com.

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