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Typhanie Monique 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."

Monique will be in the Northwest visiting in-laws for the holidays and will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Avalon Bar & Grill in Talent. For this performance, she'll 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 with more than a dozen 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 a Northwest tour that includes 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 Neal 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 move beyond the preliminary voting round.

Monique is compiling songs for a new CD of jazz, contemporary tunes and original tunes to be released around 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.

Monique said she did not come from a musical family, but her family did play "good music,' which she described as "when music is in its rawest form and performed really well by someone who has their heart and soul but also has technical proficiency."

Monique attended her first concert — Lionel Richie and Tina Turner — at the age of 8 and loved it. Through her grade school music teachers, she developed a devotion to good music, and her high-school choir teacher inspired in her a love for jazz.

Monique attended Elmhurst College in the suburbs of Chicago and earned a 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.

Monique said she loves all genres of music, but she has a special affection for the work of 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.

Typhanie Monique, accompanied by guitarist Ed Dunsavage and bassist Jim Calhoun, will perform jazzy Christmas songs from her most recent album, 'Yuletide Christmas.' - Andrew Wedje