Born in Brooklyn, Lee moved to Montreal at the age of 18 in 1970. She toured North America in the 1970s as a jazz drummer and tenor saxophonist. She subsequently landed a starring role playing Billie Holiday in Lady Day, and won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her performance. She subsequently began recording as a vocalist, releasing her first album Deep Song in 1989.
She wrote and starred in Dark Divas, The Musical, a tribute to the lives and careers of seven of the most popular female jazz singers of the 20th century - Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
Her music appears in the animated short film Black Soul (2002).
She is also a children's book writer (author of Nana, What Do You Say?); an educator, long associated with the University of Laval in Quebec City and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University; and she hosted the television series The Performers.
Honors and awards
Lee was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2006. She received the International Association of Jazz Educators award in 2004 and 2008. She won a 2010 Juno Award for her album Ranee Lee - Lives Upstairs.
- Live at the Bijou (1984)
- Deep Song (1989)
- The Musicals: Jazz on Broadway (1992)
- I Thought About You (1994)
- You Must Believe in Swing (1996)
- Seasons of Love (1997)
- Dark Divas (2000)
- Maple Groove (2004)
- Just You, Just Me (2005)
- Ranee Lee - Lives Upstairs (2009)
- Jim Santella, review of "Ranee Lee & Oliver Jones: Just You, Just Me (2005)". All About Jazz, November 9, 2005.
- Justin Time (label): Ranee Lee.
- Ranee Lee at Wild West Artist Management.
- Ricardo McRae, "Ranee Lee", Who's Who In Black Canada, March 15, 2011.
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