Ranee Lee embodies jazz. Her career has been a relentless pursuit to see where the music would take her, what she could learn, what she could pass on, how she could take new and exciting paths. She accepts challenges and constantly redefines herself. What is indisputable is that she is one of Canada’s premiere jazz vocalists.
Lee has lived in Montreal now for over 50 years, moving from New York in 1970. She’s released 13 acclaimed albums on the Justin Time label, the newest of which is 2022’s Because You Loved Me, her radical, innovative interpretations of songs made famous by another Quebec heroine, Celine Dion. She’s a Juno Award-winner, a songwriter, an award-winning actress, a celebrated educator, and an author of the children’s book Nana What Do You Say? inspired by her song of the same title.
Ranee’s impressive discography is filled with masterworks: The Musical, Jazz on Broadway, being one of them, was a successful marriage of jazz standards and the music of Broadway. In 1994 and again in1995, Ranee received the Top Canadian Female Jazz Vocalist Award presented by Jazz Report magazine. She has been nominated for several Juno Awards and in 2010 – won the Juno for Vocal Jazz Album of the year for her recording Ranee Lee Lives Upstairs. Her performance as Billie Holiday in the play Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill won her a Dora Mavor Moore
Throughout her career Ranee has performed with many jazz notables, including Clark Terry, Bill Mayes, Herb Ellis, Red Mitchell, Milt Hinton, Oliver Jones and Terry Clarke, to name a few. Lee is no stranger to the road; she has toured with her own group in the United States and has played at many prestigious jazz festivals throughout Canada as well as Spain, France, England and Haiti.
For outstanding service to jazz education, at the twenty-first IAJE conference in 1994, Ranee received the International Association of Jazz Educators Award. 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. She was appointed as a Member Of The Order Of Canada and in 2007 was given an award for appreciation and contribution to the development of the McGill Jazz Program by the McGill Schulich School of Music.