Transplanted New Yorker Ranee Lee has long reigned as the most venerated song stylist on the vibrant Montreal jazz scene. Lee adds to a stellar resume that includes the gems I Thought About You and Dark Divas (essential additions to any vocal library) with the intriguingly diverse Maple Groove (Justin Time). She recaptures my heart right off the top with what must surely be the first ever swing version of Gordon Lightfoot’s pensive “If You Could Read My Mind,” and continues with flawless readings of “Waltz for Debby” and “Maybe September.” How do a Bill Evans classic and a Jay Livingston standard fit with the CD’s Great Canadian Songbook theme? Evans’ collaborator was esteemed critic and lyricist Gene Lees, who hails from southern Ontario; Livingston’s writing partner was Toronto-born bandleader Percy Faith.
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