Deep Song--A Tribute To Billie Holiday is made up of vocalist Ranee Lee's wonderful renditions of classic Holiday recordings. Originally released in 1989, the disc has been beautifully remastered by Canada's Justin Time Records, with two bonus tracks added. True to her style, Lee doesn't try to create Holiday's unique plaintive quality but brings her own warm, earthy individuality to each track. Pianist Oliver Jones, handles most of the arrangements and also does stellar work in accompaniment. Also backing Lee is the great veteran bassist Milt Hinton, who played with Holiday five decades ago. Lee ...read more
Interpreting lyrics convincingly and scatting with fired-up authority, Ranee Lee turns in a winning performance, working with a superb piano trio that agrees with her expressive manner. She and pianist Oliver Jones first recorded together over fifteen years ago. Here, they're both quite expressive in their delivery: Lee the warm interpreter and Jones the impeccable keyboard presenter.
The pianist's crisp cascades and crystal clear melodic romps give the session a clean attack. Combined with bass and drums, his improvisations leave telltale tracks all over the place. Jones' driving force allows the quartet plenty of room to swing.read more
Veteran jazz singer Ranee Lee celebrates the Great Canadian Songbook with her session of songs by some of Canada’s noted composers and lyricists. They’re songs familiar to the world. Lee interprets them with a sensitive ear.
Ballads, such as “Maybe September,” reveal her strongest quality. She dances her way through our hearts with expression that comes from deep within. As she sings Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom” a cappella with a talented vocal ensemble from McGill University, Lee convinces. Her genuine reflections carry us home.
Tradition takes a detour on “Spinning Wheel,” as Lee introduces ...read more
Canadian vocalist Ranee Lee mines an attractive concept on Maple Groove : showcasing great Canadian songwriters. The vast majority of major Canadian songwriters known internationally are pop rather than jazz artists, but a singer with Lee's chops and taste meets the challenge of making pop songs propulsively swing. Her covers of Bruce Cockburn's My Beat" and Randy Bachman's Undun" are glowing examples on this album. Lee does Both Sides Now" convincingly as a slow ballad, simply the best translation of a Joni Mitchell folk song into a jazzy torch song I've ever heard. Capably backed by a professional, ...read more
Ranee Lee, a Brooklyn native transplanted in Canada, has written a show honoring the divas who have influenced her the most in her career as a jazz diva herself. Her seventh album for the Justin Time label is a capsulized version of this review and features songs that were sung by Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Lee in no way apes the renditions by these great singers. She puts her own special stamp on each song on the play list. Given her long and distinguished membership in the jazz/pop vocal community, how ...read more
Jazz singing is as much about personality, style and attitude as it is about technique. And while Canadian singer Ranee Lee has plenty of chops, it's her personal flair and sense of drama that makes her new Justin Time release such a rousing success.
Dark Divas is drawn from a stage show in which Lee pays tribute to seven of her jazz singing idols. Backed by a tight swing septet, the Brooklyn-born Lee, a long-time resident of Montreal, tackles classic material by female jazz greats from Josephine Baker to Ella Fitzgerald. Rather than imitating her heroes, she attempts to capture ...read more