Lee Hartley is presently a Jazz DJ for KAJI, American Jazz Institute in Palm Desert, Ca. 95.3 FM
She has toured with Les McCann, worked in several LA Big Bands and is Dusty Springfield in a tribute show.
Lee began singing Gospel music at the age of three. She later sang with her two older sisters as The Hartley Sisters throughout the South. They toured the church bible belt with her Father who was the State Bishop. She and her sisters performed with impeccable harmonies as the family traveled in the US.
In high school she played saxophone and sang in choirs, and studied voice. She later moved to Florida and sang in a Rhythm and Blues band in the Keys. Then to New York City where she continued to study voice, sang in local clubs and met the most impressive musicians of the day. Lee went on the road as a backup singer and as a lead female vocalist for a dance band touring in the US.
Her career took her to Tokyo and Osaka to sing at the Playboy Clubs. Since then she has appeared in Jazz festivals both in the United States, Japan and Hawaii. Throughout her career, she has worked with numerous jazz groups in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs. She is comfortable in many styles of music, but loves jazz.
In Los Angeles she booked two night clubs which expanded her knowledge of music, network of professionals and jazz artists.
Her 2011 CD release of
Whole Lotta Somethin' is her first CD which includes two of her original songs, Swingin' King Cole and Whole Lotta Somethin'. This CD has an impressive list of legendary jazz musicians such as Les McCann, Bob Magnuson, Jaime Valle, Pat Rizzo and Don Shelton. Lee has an engaging presence with a unique, soulful style of her own.
Listen to her a on the radio at
Monday - Friday 10 to Noon
(Press Listen To Muisic, then the play button)
Locally in Palm Desert, CA
At 95.3 FM
Check her website to see her Gigs.
Have A Love Lee Day
ALPHONSE MOUZON CEO/Chairman of Tenacious Records: 5 STARS
AMAZING SINGER! A NEW STAR IS BORN!!
I'm so impressed with new jazz/pop/soul singer Lee Hartley's new CD "Whole Lotta Somethin' that she released on her own! Great vocals, songs and musicianship! Legendary pianist/vocalist Les McCann appears on this awesome swinging release!
I recommend this impeccable CD to all of my fans!!
"Lee is like a fine, long lived recipe. Even though she's a young, energetic soul who's learned from "What Was"...It gives her the "Just RIght Know How" to handle the Music of "Now". There is NO One like her.
She is the Full Package." - Les McCann
"Hartley, an impressive jazz artist...performing in a style that enhanced a mainstream jazz perspective with illuminating aspects of Gospel music and blues...with spontaneity, imagination and swing." -
Don Heckman - International Review of Music
THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF MUSIC
Live Jazz: The Paul McDonald Big Band, Les McCann, Lee Hartley and Jay Jackson at Typhoon
By Don Heckman
Monday night was a great night for jazz at Typhoon. As it often is in the open spaces of this warm and amiable club on the fringe of Santa Monica Airport. I’d often intended to show up for one of the room’s frequent Monday night big band programs but never quite got around to it.
Not until last Monday night, that is, when my good friend Norton Wright, who has done some reviewing for iRoM (Click here), convinced me that I should write about the Paul McDonald Big Band in performance at Typhoon.
The Paul McDonald Big Band
I was further convinced when I saw that the program would also include a set by the incomparable Les McCann and his frequent companion, singer Lee Hartley. The deal was locked when Norton and his wife Suzy picked us up and did all the driving.
An up front table (maybe 5 or 6 feet from the saxophones in the McDonald Band), provided plenty of good angles for Faith’s camera work. Add to that the feeling of nostalgia I experienced, so close to the saxophone section. Inevitably, it called up memories of the years I spent, from late teens to my early twenties, playing in similar (if not nearly as adept) saxophone sections.
But the musical pleasures of the McDonald Band reached way beyond nostalgia, from note one to the final coda. Whether they were generating roaring, full ensemble shouts, articulate exchanges of riffs between sections, or featuring hard swinging, inventive individual soloing.
Big band nights are not hard to find in Los Angeles, usually featuring a line up of prime players – their presence and their skills reflecting the high quality of Southland players – whether well known or not. The McDonald Big Band is no exception. Seated up close it was easy for me to focus on their accuracy, musicianship, ensemble togetherness and collective sense of swing.
The Band’s performance was further enhanced by McDonald’s arrangements, which captivated the best of the ensemble’s qualities. Starting with a full range of colorful charts, McDonald led his players through a set that never stopped filling Typhoon’s wide spread room with all that’s great about big band jazz.
Paul McDonald and The Paul McDonald Big Band
The McDonald Big Band reached its peak with a gripping medley of music from the musical West Side Story arranged with meticulous care by McDonald. It was the musical high point of an evening with many memorable high points. At its best, McDonald’s West Side Story arrangement was an impressive example of the unlimited potential of big band jazz arrangements in the hands of writers such as MacDonald, Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel and many others. I’ve always felt that the big jazz band was the American symphony orchestra of the 20th and 2st century, an instrumentation that continues to possess limitless creative potential, when placed in the right hands.
The McDonald set also dedicated a part of the program to a celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Singer Jay Jackson led the way, joining the McDonald players with a swinging mixture of rhythm and song. Jackson’s versatility was present in a full selection of tunes, from blues to ballads. In some of the best moments in the set, he came together with the band in dynamic passages vividly reminiscent of Joe Williams with the Basie band.
And the evening’s performance ended, perfectly, with a brief set from Les McCann and singer Lee Hartley. McCann sang from a wheel chair, but there was no reduction in his ability to play a keyboard or sing a song, And his last tune, inevitably, was his classic “Compared To What.” Partnering with Hartley and her gorgeous, soaring voice, he easily persuaded the audience to join in the repetitions of the song’s familiar chorus.
Les McCann sings with Lee Hartley and the Paul McDonald Big Band
It was the perfect ending for a memorable night of music. So memorable that we’ll soon be making many return visits to Typhoon, with its amiable vibe, its Island cuisine and its great jazz.
On June 14 an overflowing crowd of jazz enthusiasts were treated to a funky, but groovy afternoon of highly charged jazz music. Les McCann and company provided toe tappin’ rhythm all afternoon for those wanted to see and hear the legendary jazz singer and keyboardist. The soon to be 80 years old headed up a star lineup of professional musicians who showed up from far and wide to play. Although it was obvious that the band members had not rehearsed, they gave it their all. The famous bass player, Abe Loboriel, was in rare form and really got into his infectious solos. Another stand out was guitarist John Chiodini playing some beautiful cords all afternoon. Singer, Lee Hartley kept things moving right along and was featured on many tunes including Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father”. It was fun to hear our local star, Jeff Elliott playing and trading stories of their time on the road in the 80’s with his former boss. McCann keep the band going all afternoon with his exciting beat, but wasn’t really heard much until he was featured on a lovely, and moving rendition of “Amazing Grace”. He accompanied his vocal with some lovely keyboard cords and showed us that he indeed still had it! The show closed with two vintage McCann hits, “Cold Duck Time” and “Compared to What”. I don’t think anyone in the crowd left disappointed!
– Natalie Wilson
-Photos by Mark McDonald