Incredible Singer Dee Daniels Has a Four-Octave Range

by Red Robinson
The Vancouver Sun
January, 2006

“Silky impassioned.” “Extraordinary range.” “She can sing gospel, jazz and blues comfortably and with great emotion.” These are some of the descriptions various publications around the world have used to proclaim the incredible talents of Dee Daniels.

Her four-octave range enthralls an audience. Whether she’s performing in an intimate jazz club or fronting a big band or full symphony orchestra, she seems relaxed, comfortable and in command at all times. Like Diana Krall, she accompanies herself on the piano with exceptional ease and artistry.

Her musical journey began in her stepfather’s church choir in Oakland, Calif. She honed her talents in the R&B era, then left for a five-year stay in Europe (1982 – 1987). During those learning years she had the opportunity to perform with jazz legends such as Toots Thielemans, Johnny Griffin and Ed Thigpen to name a few. She even sang the blues with the late Sarah Vaughan and gospel with Joe Williams.

Her career has taken her all over the world and to all the major international festivals including Japan’s Kobe Jazz Street Festival, Ireland’s Cork Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in the US, and of course, the DuMaurier Jazz Festivals here in Canada.

Along with her incredible talent, Daniels is also a very giving person, and in 2001 established the Dee Daniels Jazz Vocal Scholarship at Capilano College for young singers and musicians. Her own honors include the FANS Award (a North Vancouver Arts Council presentation), a nomination for Vocalist of the Year, and a nomination for her Love Story album as Best Jazz CD of the Year by the West Coast Music Awards.

Daniels was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2002, and has a plaque bearing her name on Vancouver’s Walk of Fame on Granville Street. In 2003, she received the prestigious Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and was inducted into the University of Montana’s School of Fine Arts, Hall of Honour.

The artists Daniels has performed with reads like a who’s who: John Clayton Jr., Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Lionel Hampton, Herb Ellis, Jeff Hamilton, Benny Powell, Ray Drummond, and more. Each is a fan of her inimitable talent. She also performs on a regular basis with symphony orchestras including those in Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary, Berlin, Florida, Baltimore and San Antonio.

Daniels is passionate about her work and it shows. As a neighbor, I am always amazed at her good nature when I have occasion to see her out and about. No matter how grey a day it is, she always has a million-dollar smile and positive outlook on life. It is a distinct pleasure for me to have this opportunity to inform you of this amazing lady’s multi-faceted talents.
As is so often the case with local performers, we sometimes seem to take them for granted, not realizing how much their work is appreciated in the rest of the world. Daniels may fit this category with some, but those in show business have always recognized she was something special.