Ranee Lee: You Must Believe in Spring

What would you get if you mixed the spirited lilt of Ella Fitzgerald with the sassy sophistication of Sarah Vaughan topped off with the ability to emotionalize a lyric ala Carmen McRae. A dream-like combination for sure, but Ranee Lee comes darn close to realizing it. She’s been around for some time, though she’s not nearly as well known as some less talented singers. Perhaps this disc will change that for it presents Lee in her prime, a mature, confident vocalist. The songs here include “Angel Eyes,” “I’ve Got the World On A String” and “Fine and Mellow.” Lee’s phrasing proves she understands the nuances both in the lyric and the melody line, as does the band, which features stellar vets Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. – Deni Kasrel