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Short Bio:

Vocalist Lee Engele has performed at New York, fronts local big bands, and her active solo career has put her in the company of both local and national artists such as Butch Thompson and clarinetist Evan Christopher. Lee has three self produced CD’s to her credit, as well as featured on a number of jazz compilation CD’s.

As a jazz vocalist Lee has performed with combos and big bands at major Twin Cities restaurants/clubs such as The Dakota, Artists’ Quarter, and in New York at the Metropolitan Room and the TONY Lounge. She has also appeared at numerous jazz festivals such as Grand Marais, Jazz on the Prairie, and at the Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival for the past 15 years, and in concert at Bloomington Center for the Arts, Hopkins Center for the Arts, and the Old Log Theater.

Her second EP, In the Key of “L”, (with several former members of the renowned Twin Cities Hot Club), has enjoyed regular radio play both locally and at a number of jazz stations around the country, and has received delightful reviews by local and national reviewers which include LA Jazz Scene Magazine, and by Twin Cities legend Leigh Kammen, former host of The Jazz Image™ on MPR.

Long Bio:

Sometimes it seems there are as many jazz singers as songs in the jazz canon. So why is Lee Engele one of the fastest rising stars on the Twin Cities jazz scene? To stand out in this ever-growing crowd of vocalists, a singer must bring more than good pitch and pleasing intonation to the bandstand - the jazz vocalist must further project that energizing "swing feel" that drives the melody and a personal commitment to the lyrics, to telling compelling stories through song. The jazz singer must be part musician, part dramatist, part choreographer. This is Twin Cities jazz artist Lee Engele, a singer who demonstrates contagious energy, personal charm, and that love for lyrics every time she takes the stage.

From her dramatic work in Community Theater and touring with the last edition of the Serendipity Singers to solo performances on stages throughout the Twin Cities and beyond, Lee's career has been as diverse as her repertoire. And that diverse experience informs her work at every turn, be it out in front of a big band or alongside a swinging piano trio. Her long resume includes work as a DJ and club manager; hosting karaoke; earning a Master's Degree in Organization Leadership; a seven-year tenure with the Just Friends Big Band; holding the vocal chair for the Somewhat Dixieland Band; providing voice-overs; guest spots on KBEM Jazz 88 Radio; and solo appearances at such Twin Cities venues as the Artists Quarter, Dakota Jazz Club, Dakota County Music Cafe, Rossi's Blue Star Room, and The Minnesota Zephyr Cabaret.

Lee's trademark "jazz with an attitude" describes the modern twists she brings to jazz standards, no doubt reflecting her years in theater as well as her finely honed vocal skills. Her three-octave range, confident stage presence and sultry sound ("rich chocolate low notes," said a fan) have made her a sought-after-performer for festivals and gala events such as the Grand Marais Jazz Festival, The Twin Cities Jazz Festivals, and art gallery events. In addition to her vocal talents, Lee has an uncanny ability to put together unique combinations of musicians who often have not played together before, but under Lee's leadership, become exciting musical collaborations. Her consummate artistry as singer and bandleader also led to her selection as a participant in the prestigious Yale Cabaret Conference in 2008.

Lee's current repertoire is as diverse as her career: "I love the standards, especially swing," she says, but she has also expanded her songbook, adding show tunes and modern songwriters' compositions. And she swings through these songs with the greatest of ease, taking her listeners along for an evocative ride.