Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones

Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones

BandJazz

Ranee Lee is Montreal's first lady of jazz: an exquisite singer, JUNO nominee, actress and a recognised jazz educator. Ranee has released nine superb recordings on Justin Time Records, and is irrefutably one of Canada's greatest jazz vocalists.

Biography

RANEE LEE – ARTIST PROFILE

Ranee Lee is irrefutably one of Canada’s greatest jazz vocalists. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ranee began her professional stage career as a dancer. She also played drums and tenor saxophone with various touring groups in the United States and Canada before moving to Montreal, Quebec thirty-five years ago. Since then, she has focused on perfecting her exquisite vocal capabilities, astounding audiences with her amazing range, flawless phrasing, powerful scatting, melodic acrobatics and profound sensitivity.
Ranee became a Dora Mavor Moore Award winning actress for her starring role in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”, Canada’s first production of the musical portrayal of Billie Holiday. It was hugely successful and enjoyed extended runs in Toronto and Montreal. Her subsequent recording, Deep Song, released on Justin Time Records, received critical acclaim and brought Ranee’s superior vocal talent to the attention of jazz fans and concert producers throughout North America and Europe. In 1995 Ranee headlined a Western Canadian Jazz Festival tour, as well as a tour of the United States. In June 1996, she was a featured artist in “The Canadian Jazz Giants”-- a month long South African tour.
In May 2001, Ranee co-starred in the role of Sadie Delany, a non-musical production of a 103-year-old survivor of racism. This was another Canadian first, which was presented at the Saidye Bronfman Centre For the Arts and received rave reviews.

Career highlights include acting with Billy Dee Williams in the movie “Giant Steps” in 1991 and thrilling the audience with her opening performance for the late George Burns at Montreal’s Place Des Arts in 1993. Ranee was also featured in a televised adaptation of Lady Day entitled “White Gardenia”, which aired on the CTV network during the summer of 1994.
Miss Lee hosted the TV series, “The Performer” for Black Entertainment Television Network in the U.S. and Bravo! in Canada. This program has been instrumental in bringing the talents of Canadian jazz artists to the attention of North American audiences.

So far, Justin Time Records have released eight wonderful recordings of Ranee Lee. The most recent is “Maple Groove: Songs From The Great Canadian Songbook”, (fall 2003). Considered one of her finest recordings to date, Maple Groove integrates selections from some of Canada’s greatest songwriters. The acclaimed Rick Wilkins skilfully arranged interpretations of classic songs from Randy Bachman, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Jann Arden, Gordon Lightfoot, Oscar Peterson and Moe Koffman.

In 2000, Ranee conceived the idea and wrote the screenplay for “Dark Divas, The Musical”. She also performs solo in this exceptional two-hour production. “Dark Divas” is a musical journey manifesting the spirit and depicting the lives and times of seven black female icons from an extraordinary era: Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Ranee’s versatile voice and engaging theatrical presentation embodies each diva through song and permeates the audience with a new understanding of their personality, their music and their life. The double CD, also entitled Dark Divas, was released by Justin Time Records and received a Juno Award nomination in 2001. This is Ranee’s seventh recording on this label.

Other Justin Time recordings include The Musical, Jazz on Broadway, a successful marriage of jazz standards with Broadway music. In 1994 and again in 1995, Ranee received the Top Canadian Female Jazz Vocalist Award from Jazz Report Magazine and her recording, I Thought About You, was nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Mainstream Jazz category in 1995. In 1998 Ranee received the Best Female Jazz Vocalist Award from the American Federation of International Musicians.

You Must Believe In Swing, was released in 1996 featuring bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. It received outstanding reviews from critics and the general public and charted in the influential Gavin Radio Charts in the USA. Ranee’s recording, Season’s Of Love, featuring Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton and special guest David Murray, was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. The album features standards as well as two of her originals plus a Ranee Lee/Oliver Jones collaboration.

Throughout her career, Ranee has performed with jazz masters such as Clark Terry, Bill Mayes, Herbie Ellis, Red Mitchell, Milt Hinton, Oliver Jones, Terry Clarke, John Bunch, George Arvanitas and many more. She has toured with her own group throughout North America and has been a perennial favourite at many prestigious jazz festivals -- most recently the Montreal International Jazz Festival as host of an eight episode annual series and at the Canada Capital festival in Sao Paulo.

Ranee is an excellent and highly respected educator. She received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award for outstandi

Discography

Just You Just Me (with Oliver Jones) - 2005
Maple Groove : Songs From The Great Canadian Songbook - 2003
Dark Divas - Highlights - 2001
Dark Divas - The Musical - 2000
Seasons Of Love - 1997
You Must Believe In Swing - 1996
I Thought About You - 1994
The Musicals - Jazz On Broadway - 1992
Deep Song - 1989
Live At Le Bijou - 1984