Ranee Lee

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Ranee Lee for a Montrealer cover story in 2009. It was a wonderful conversation during which Ranee praised the efforts of the jazz festival founders André Ménard and Alain Simard to make Montreal such a wonderful place for jazz performers. “Thanks to their foresight decades ago, we now have jazz being taught in schools and universities.”

Ranee Lee is now celebrating over 45 years in Montreal, where she enjoys a successful, multifaceted career as one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists (she has recorded 13 albums for the Justin Time label.)  Ranee is also an excellent and respected teacher. For outstanding service to jazz education, she has received the International Association of Jazz Educators award and as an educator, Ranee has been part of the University of Laval faculty in Quebec City and The Schulich School of Music of McGill University faculty for over twenty years.  Named a member of the Order Of Canada in 2006 – she is also a Juno Award winner, an accomplished award-winning actress, a songwriter, and a proud author of a children’s book.  Throughout her career, Ranee has performed with many jazz notables, including Clark Terry, Terry Clarke, Bill Mayes, Herbie Ellis, Red Mitchell, Milt Hinton, Oliver Jones, John Bunch and George Arvanitas. Lee continues to tour with her own group throughout North America and abroad, performing at many prestigious jazz festivals.

Ranee conceived, wrote and performs in the production Dark Divas, a musical about the lives of some of the most compelling and popular women singers of the century.  The show honors the divas that have influenced her most in her career and features songs that were sung by, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Ranee and her octet will perform Dark Divas on July 5 at L’Astral, the Jazz Fest’s own intimate club at 305 Ste-Catherine West (north side). Ranee’s show starts at 6pm, so they’re plenty of time to take in some other outdoor shows later in the evening. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca or 1-855-790-1245