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Ranee Lee

Ranee Lee is now celebrating thirty-five years in Montreal, Canada, where she enjoys a successful, multi-faceted career as one of Canada's most popular jazz vocalists, an award-winning actress, a songwriter, and a proud author of children's books. Ranee has recorded twelve albums for Justin Time, a proud discography of acclaimed recordings that feature some of the finest jazz musicians of our time among its sidemen.

A Dora Mavor Moore Award winning actress, Ranee starred in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Canada's first production of the musical portrayal of Billie Holiday. Her subsequent recording, Deep Song, featured label mate Oliver Jones and well as Milt Hinton, bassist with Billie Holiday. The recording was met with acclaim, bringing Ranee's voice to the attention of jazz fans and concert producers throughout the world.

Ranee conceived, wrote and performed in the production Dark Divas, a musical about the lives of some of the most compelling women singers of the century. Further career highlights include acting opposite Billy Dee Williams in the movie Giant Steps; host of the television series "The Performers", for the Black Entertainment Television network in the U.S. and BRAVO in Canada; her children's book Nana What Do You Say?, inspired by her song of the same title, from the 1994 release, I Thought About You, and her appointment to the Order Of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour in 2006.

Other recordings include The Musicals: Jazz on Broadway, which was a successful marriage of jazz standards with the music of Broadway; I Thought About You, the first nominated recording for a Juno Award in the Best Mainstream Jazz category in 1995; and, with Oliver Jones, Just You, Just Me, which won a Toronto Urban Music Award November 2005.

In November 2007, Ranee recorded her tenth CD for the Justin Time label. Recorded live over two nights at acclaimed Montréal Jazz club - Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, Lives Upstairs offers up 10 tracks penned by the likes of Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, James Taylor and Ranee herself (The Storm) that showcase her expressive, old-school, Sarah Vaughan-style vocals and growth as an artist. Lives Upstairs won the coveted Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album Of The Year 2010.

Along with the Juno win - recent awards include one for appreciation and contribution to the development of the McGill Jazz program by the McGill Schulich School of Music, presented to Ranee Lee in October 2007, and The ACTRA award of Excellence for life achievement, in May 2008. As well in November 2010 Ranee received a MECCA nomination for her role in the Black Theatre Workshop production of "Swan Song For Maria."

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Album Review

Ranee Lee: Deep Song: A Tribute to Billie Holiday

Read "Deep Song: A Tribute to Billie Holiday" reviewed by Larry Taylor

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. ...

Album Review

Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones: Just You, Just Me

Read "Just You, Just Me" reviewed by Jim Santella

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 ...

Album Review

Ranee Lee: Maple Groove

Read "Maple Groove" reviewed by Jim Santella

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 ...

Album Review

Ranee Lee: Maple Groove: Songs From The Great Canadian Songbook

Read "Maple Groove: Songs From The Great Canadian Songbook" reviewed by Norman Weinstein

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 ...

Album Review

Ranee Lee: Dark Divas

Read "Dark Divas" reviewed by Dave Nathan

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 ...

Album Review

Ranee Lee: Dark Divas - Highlights

Read "Dark Divas - Highlights" reviewed by Joel Roberts

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 ...

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Canadian Jazz Diva Ranee Lee Releases "Lives Upstairs" on Justin Time Records

Canadian Jazz Diva Ranee Lee Releases "Lives Upstairs" on Justin Time Records

Source: DL Media

CANADIAN JAZZ DIVA RANEE LEE RELEASES LIVES UPSTAIRS ON JUSTIN TIME RECORDS2010 JUNO AWARD-WINNER VOCAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEARRECORDED LIVE AT ACCLAIMED CANADIAN JAZZ CLUB, UPSTAIRSIt's been a rather amazing journey for Ranee Lee, who for several decades has reigned virtually unchallenged as the Queen of Canada's jazz divas. Ms. Lee recently won the coveted Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year(beating out Diana Krall, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Carol Welsman) for ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Because I Loved

Self Produced


Deep Song: A Tribute...

Justin Time Records


Just You, Just Me

Justin Time Records


Maple Groove: Songs...

Unknown label


Maple Groove

Unknown label


The Moon is Made of Gold

From: Because I Loved
By Ranee Lee



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