NORMAN — The death of singer Ashlee Madison is fresh on the minds of those who knew her, band member Jemar Poteat said.
"It's still hard to believe she's gone," Poteat said. "She was such a carefree spirit. She was a very spiritual person. She loved to sing and perform."
Madison, 24, was killed in a car wreck April 17. She was on her way home from a performance at Riverwind Casino when the accident happened, Poteat said.
Poteat and other band members will pay tribute to Madison in a special performance at Jazz in June, which opens Thursday and continues through Saturday at Brookhaven Village and Andrews Park.
The free three-evening festival will feature nightly performances, after-hours jam sessions and a special day of musician clinics.
The festival begins at 7 p.m. Thursday with Blues Under the Stars at Brookhaven Village, 3700 W Robinson St.
J.D. Thompson and The Big Bad Wolves will open at 7 p.m. Austin, Texas, singer/songwriter Guy Forsyth will be the headlining event at 9 p.m. J.D. Thompson and The Big Bad Wolves will lead a jam session at 11 p.m. at Coach's Brewhouse, 110 W Main St.
The tribute to Madison will be at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Brookhaven Village. Madison's band members, Poteat (bassist), Jeremy Thomas (organist), Willie Peterson (drummer) and Miss Cooki (vocalist) will perform music Madison loved and/or presented in concert.
A neo-soul singer, Madison also performed a lot of jazz, Poteat said. She was working on a master's degree in vocal jazz performance at University of Central Oklahoma when she was killed.
Michael Rabinowitz and Bassoon in the Wild, with guest Paul McCandless, will perform after the tribute to Madison.
Jazz in June continues Saturday in Andrews Park, 201 W Daws St., with the Norman North High School Jazz Choir opening at 6 p.m., and Austin, Texas, performer Suzanne Choffel taking the stage at 7 p.m. Headliner, The Bad Plus, will play at 9 p.m.
Anthony Nagid and Friends will lead a jam session at 11 p.m. at Sooner Legends Inn and Suites, 1200 24th Ave. SW.