All About Jazz

Home » Member Page

Elaine Dame

Elaine Dame is a Chicago-based jazz vocalist, flautist, band leader and teacher

About Me

”Jazz dynamo Dame continues to be a gem in the city's vocal jazz scene.” -TimeOut Chicago, Oct. 09'

“Dame possesses all the musicality you could want in a true jazz vocalist - centered intonation, an enviable command of rhythm and a translucent but powerful instrument.” -Neil Tesser, Author, Playboy Guide to Jazz, December, 2010

Elaine studied music and theatre at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA and in California State Northridges’ two-year intensive Theatre Repertory Program. Inspired to become a jazz singer by a book called, The Artist's Way, Elaine has been a mainstay on the Chicago jazz scene since 1997 and has performed at over 200 venues in and around Chicago and the midwest, appearing at The Fairmont Hotel (where she was in residency for sixteen months), The Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club and Winter's Jazz Club, just to name a few. In fact, Neil Tesser, author of The Playboy Guide to Jazz, said this about Elaine: “Dame has quietly risen to the top ranks of Chicago jazz singers.”

When she is not performing, Elaine is a private vocal jazz instructor. Elaine has been teaching privately for the last thirteen years and was recently a teaching artist (scatting workshops) at Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Summer Jazz Academy. Elaine has also conducted master classes and clinics at Minneapolis Public Schools and The Chicago Academy for the Arts.

In 2005, her self-produced debut recording, Comes Love, was released to wide critical acclaim and worldwide radio play on Chicago’s own blujazz record label. The album features an all-star Chicago rhythm section: pianist Jeremy Kahn, bassist Rob Amster and drummer Tim Davis, as well as Art Davis (trumpet), Dave Onderdonk (guitar) and the late, great Johnny Frigo (violin).

Her sophomore recording, You're My Thrill, was released in 2014, and has garnered rave reviews. Elaine is currently planning her 3rd recording, which will feature jazz arrangements of her favorite music from the 70's. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ms. Dame continues to tour nationally and has headlined jazz clubs from coast to coast.

Notable venues include:

The Rainbow Room - New York The Metropolitan Club - New York The Triad Theater - New York Upstairs at Vitello's - Los Angeles Herb Alpert's Vibrato Jazz Grill - Los Angeles The Jazz Estate - Milwaukee The Dunsmore Room at Crooner's Lounge - Minneapolis C Grace - Raleigh Tula's Jazz Club - Seattle Cliff Bells - Detroit Merriman's Playhouse - South Bend Noce Jazz Club - Des Moines The Kerrytown Concert House - Ann Arbor

Selected Press:

“From the start, it was apparent that Dame offered optimism, enthusiasm, and joy for both her partners and the jazz standards they played together. This musical attitude was just as appealing as her considerable vocal and flute playing skills...her intelligent phrasing proves she actually listens to the lyrics that she sings...a resounding musical success...” ~ Chicago Jazz Magazine

“Blessed with such purity of sound that clarions could take lessons, Dame expresses wide open honesty, and her clarity is matched note for note by her imagination...” ~ Jazz Times

”And artist who truly wants to sing and has dug deep down to do it. Dame’s first CD is very smooth and stylish. Every track is note perfect… an intimate, personal style…interpretation is clearly her forte, she shapes a song like she’s been doing it for years… Dame delivers the perfect twists and turns on every phrase, swinging from a whisper to a husky wail with confidence and panache” ~

“a clear and powerful voice along with the ability to improvise with subtlety…an excellent scat singer…beautiful tone” ~ All Music Guide

“…a winning stage presence and a chameleon-like vocal flexibility” ~ The Chicago Reader “Dame’s cool alto voice fits nicely with her instrumental support” ~ Cadence Magazine ”Like clarified honey, her voice combines a hearty sweetness and a welcome translucence, and they enjoy a complimentary balance.” ~ Neil Tesser Author, “The Playboy Guide to Jazz,” and host of “Listen Here,” NPR’s Jazz Review

“Her joy in the act of singing is obvious throughout the entirety of “Comes Love.” Dame combines a freshness of approach, like the unpredictability of shifting meters Used to insert tension and increase the excitement of “Yesterdays,” with an unaffected fondness for the music she sings. That fondness is evident in the unadorned respect she pays for a classic song like “What’ll I Do?” 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.” ~ Jazz Improv Magazine

“Dame has quietly risen to the top ranks of Chicago jazz singers, with a light and cheerful timbre and musicality that allows her to improvise things most singers shouldn't even try” ~ Neil Tesser, Author Playboy Guide to Jazz

My Favorites

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.