Claude Ranger - The Lost Legacy

Claude Ranger has legendary status amongst many of Canada's top jazz musicians. Those who were able to play with him or hear him in the 1970's and 1980's in Montreal then Toronto, continue to marvel at his awesome talent even some 20 years later.

While you read on listen to a clip of this “sacred monster”:

The Intrepid Fox

which will illustrate why he inspired both terror and awe in musicians far & wide...

Claude was known for a fierce intensity that could propel rhythm sections to dizzying heights. But he was also a very sensitive player who would fully submit to the collaborative demands of egoless music.  

He continues to be admired for his uncompromising dedication to the creative process that is jazz. Sadly, unlike many of the great contributors to jazz in

Canada, Claude's legacy has suffered a tragic fate. Outside of a very limited inner circle, Claude's musical contribution is almost a total unknown.

Even amongst today's up-and-coming jazz talent, Claude Ranger's name has faded into obscurity.

Also, for an artist of such stature & maturity, Claude is very under-recorded.

sketch by Lucie Frigault -

And of what was recorded, very little [to my knowledge] captures the full scope if his playing.

I feel qualified to make that statement because for the last 15 years I have been lucky to have in my possession about 20 hours of live music recorded when Claude was leading his own band in Toronto and playing like a monster.

Although only an amateur pianist, I am a very discerning listener. So I've spent countless hours digging the music on these tapes made by Roland Bourgeois & Marty Melanson ( my brother ) who were both playing in Claude's band at the time.

Over time I have come to realize that the preservation of some fragment of Claude's legacy is paramount & that with each passing year, potential source material is either lost or corrupted.

The project was thus born.

  • 1st as a way to make available the fantastic music that was preserved by Roland & Marty
  • Also as a way for jazz musicians, critics & listeners to share their own experiences, stories & comments about Claude Ranger
  • And finally as a way to collect & share any other live recordings which listeners & musicians might have made during Claude's playing days

Who knows what other musical gems might also have been safeguarded by musicians & listeners in Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver during the days when Claude's thunder echoed through jazz clubs?

If you or someone you know can contribute to the preservation of Claude's musical legacy, please contact me here:  or add your contribution to the site directly via the 'comments' and/or 'upload audiofile' pages. If you have raw analog recordings, I would be happy [OK not totally happy as the process can be a real pain - let's say I would be not unhappy] to transfer these to digital format so that they can be made available on this site.

I did not ask Claude for his permission to create this site. I don't know anyone who has his contact info. The last I heard, Claude was still on the west coast - somewhere inland - but had stopped playing.

In deciding to put this site together without the opportunity to get Claude's input, several things were considered:

  • Nothing on this site can lead to my financial gain - there is nothing of Claude's being sold or exploited in any way. The posted discography [a work in progress] has links to the currently available albums Claude plays on; most of these discs can be purchased online which will hopefully lead to some financial benefit to Claude
  • Any recordings posted here are from music that is not commercially available - no one will lose potential revenue because people are getting free access to music they would otherwise have to pay for [most if not all of the material is not of sufficient audio quality to ever be released in a commercial form]
  • Claude's artistic legacy is of such importance that there is a cultural imperative which behooves us to prevent it from slipping into obscurity and/or non-existence

Simply put, is all about celebrating & honoring Claude Ranger. If Claude is ever able to see this site, I hope that he approves. But I would also like to make clear: if he ever wants any changes or even that the whole site be taken down, he has the final say and his wishes will be granted without question. Claude or anyone acting on his behalf can reach me via email or by phone at 506 850 7768.

If anyone has any news/contact info for Claude, please email me as several musicians have expressed a desire to reach Claude.

It is my sincere hope that you enjoy these fragments of Claude Ranger's living legacy. Through your support of this site, more musicians will hopefully become aware of Claude's tremendous artistry.

Cheers and happy listening,

Armand Melanson
Custodian of the website

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