Thana Alexa

Thana Alexa

Vocals

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Biography

By the time an artist discovers their own voice, they’ve inevitably been shaped by countless influences. On her debut album, Ode to Heroes, vocalist/ composer/ arranger Thana Alexa pays tribute to the personalities both personal and musical who have impacted her on the path to forging her own distinctively individual voice. It’s a telling list that encompasses her own family; jazz giants like Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, and Paul Desmond; and the stellar musicians who collaborate with her on the album, including drummer and co-producer Antonio Sanchez, saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Lenart Krecic, bassists Jorge Roeder and Scott Colley, pianist Sergio Salvatore and vibraphonist Christos Rafalides.

The release of Ode to Heroes (Harmonia Mundi/Jazz Village), marks the arrival of a rising star on the modern vocal jazz scene. The album mainly features her engaging original compositions, along with vibrant takes on jazz standards like Shorter’s “Footprints,” Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” and Desmond and Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5.” Most importantly, it spotlights Alexa’s ability to engage in rewarding and illuminating conversation with some of the music’s most renowned and forward-thinking players.

Alexa is an active member of Antonio Sanchez’ touring ensemble Migration (John Escreet, Seamus Blake, Matt Brewer) and has recorded two critically acclaimed albums with the group (New Life and The Meridian Suite). They have toured the United States, Mexico, South America and Europe performing at major clubs, theaters and festivals.

Alexa also appears on guitarist Gene Ess’s albums Eternal Monomyth (John Escreet, Thomson Kneeland and Clarence Penn) and Fractal Attraction (David Berkman, Thomson Kneeland, Gene Jackson). Both records – for which Alexa contributed vocals, compositions and lyrics – won the SESAC Jazz Award in 2015 and 2016. The group will be releasing their third album in Summer 2016 (Gene Ess, Manuel Valera, Yasushi Nakamura, Clarence Penn).

Alexa came in 2nd place in the 2014 Made in New York Jazz Competition and won 1st place the 2011 Jazzon Alpe-Andria International Competition for “Ode to Heroes,” while her composition “Siena” was nominated for a Best Jazz Composition award by PORIN, the Croatian Music Academy, an honor equivalent to the Grammy® Awards in America.

Thana is a graduate of the New School University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz and Contemporary Music and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Although born in New York City, Thana grew up in Croatia – her family’s country of origin – where she was mentored for many years by vibraphonist and club owner, Bosko Petrovic.