Missing Jeanne

Still my favourite voice in jazz, and a genre-defying artist, so deep and rich. I miss Jeanne Lee these days. 

I think I love just about everything she did. Her ground-breaking duo with Ran Blake. The other duo, with Mal Waldron. Her fantastic Jeanne Lee Music & Dance Ensemble, with dancer Mickey Davidson, trumpet player Lester Bowie, percussionist Famadou Don Moye and others. Vocal Summit, the group she had with Bobby McFerrin, Lauren Newton, Jay Clayton, and Ursula Dudziak. Also, the groups of others she sang in, Reggie Workman’s group for example, and Marion Brown’s record.The music she recorded with Archie Shepp. Her duo with Dave Holland, Mingus Meditations. Her words. The way she sang standards. And her singing in Carla Bley’s Escalator Over The Hill. 

Memories of studying with her, of her advice, of her generosity. Memories of her coming to listen to our first concert at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland. Of her being present during rehearsals with my band. Of singing with her and her group at what is may be the most beautiful open air stage I have ever been at, the Théâtre de la Mer, in Sète, Southern France. And so many more. 

Listen to this sweet short excerpt, “Jada”, from 1963 (Jeanne was 24 years old). And to this live snippet

And if you like, listen to a radio tribute on Swiss radio SRF from 2009, here

Jeanne Lee during a lesson at the Royal Conservatory, around 1995

Jeanne Lee during a lesson at the Royal Conservatory, around 1995