Ranee Lee will perform Dark Divas on September 9
By Egbert Gaye
There’s something about Ranee Lee.
After more than 50 years on the music circuit, the American-born jazz vocalist who became a Canadian icon is now in her early seventies and still commands the attention of music lovers from far and wide.
Since she made Montreal her home in 1970, Lee, who as a teenager in Brooklyn was on her way to fame and acclaim as a Jazz drummer and tenor saxophonist, rose to the pinnacle of entertainment as one of Canada’s most celebrated vocalists, with close to a dozen albums to her name.
She also stamped her name in the annals of stage and screen with an award-winning performance as the legendary singer Billy Holiday in Lady Day. And continues to earn widespread respect as a professor of music and author of children’s books.
Her contributions and achievements were recognized in 2006 when she was named a member of the Order of Canada. She earned International Association of Jazz Educators awards in 2004 and 2008 for her work in the classroom. And another crowning achievement came in 2010 when she won a Juno Award for her album Ranee Lee – Lives Upstairs.
Over the years as a celebrated songwriter, Lee has penned dozens of hits performed by herself and other stars.
In 2000, her many talents were showcased when 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 and women who influenced Lee’s life and music—Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
The album was released to great reviews and the stage production was performed at venues across the city.
On September 9, Lee will be on stage at Victoria Hall in Westmount with another performance of Dark Divas.
The show is being presented by Doudou Boicel, another of Quebec’s entertainment pioneers, who is credited as the man behind Montreal’s first Jazz festival.
In the 1970s, his club the Rising Sun was a celebrated musical outpost that brought to Montreal many of the most famed singers and musicians of the day.
He told the CONTACT that putting Ranee Lee on stage is a grand achievement for him.
“I feel that I have to do this show,” he says. “Ranee has contributed to the (cultural landscape) of this city and this country. She is a magnificent singer and actor. Ranee is a complete artist.”
Ranee Lee: Dark Divas—- September 9, 2017 at Victoria Hall, 4626 Sherbrooke W., at 7:30 PM info. 514- 989-5226. Or raneelee-en.eventbrite.ca