Freda Payne, celebrated R&B and jazz vocalist, who shot to fame with her #1 Hit, “Band of Gold,” and “Bring the Boys Home,” pays tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, as no one else can! Payne, the star of such Broadway shows as Jelly’s Last Jam, Sophisticated Ladies and Blues in the Night, “conjures the spirit of Ella” with her renditions of “A-Tisket, a-Tasket,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing.” and “Mack the Knife,” as well as many other Fitzgerald classics
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Freda started her career by singing radio commercial jingles in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. This quickly caught the attention of music executives and other artists. At the age of 17, the legendary Pearl Bailey gave Freda her first professional job and this paved the way for her to share the stage with other legends that have included Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr., Billy Eckstine, Quincy ]ones, Bill Cosby and many others.
The young protégée of Quincy ]ones during his big band era, Freda toured with him performing at theatres that included the world famous Apollo in New York and the Regal in Chicago. Soon after she recorded her first album When The Lights Go Down for Impulse Records and is now available on CD. Of all the music styles that Freda has the ability to perform, her favourite is Jazz. In a recent article she stated:
"Ella (Fitzgerald), Sarah (Vaughan), and Billie (Holiday) are the greatest - Those ladies were the divas of their day - each had the unique gift of interpreting the best songs from an incredible era with their own inimitable styles ..."
Freda's link with some hometown friends proved to be very fruitful. Brothers Brian & Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier (Holland-Dozier-Holland) were responsible for putting Motown music firmly on the map by writing and producing million sellers for acts that included the Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas and the Supremes - whose last lead singer is Freda's sister Scherrie - also blessed with an incredible vocal talent.
Holland-Dozier-Holland's newly formed Invictus Records provided Freda with 2 million selling singles - Bring The Boys Home and Band Of Gold plus Deeper and Deeper, Cherish (What's Dear To You) and You Brought The Joy. Freda then moved to ABC and later Capitol Records, releasing the albums Payne & Pleasure, Out Of Payne Comes Love, Stares & Whispers, Supernatural High and Red Hot. 1993 saw the release of her critically acclaimed album An Evening With Freda Payne that perfectly showcases her incredible talents and incomparable jazz styling.
Freda's ever-expanding repertoire includes roles in the award winning musical Blues In The Night and Jelly's Last Jam - a musical based on the life of jazz legend Jelly Role Morton. In the review for Blues In The Night the American showbiz daily VARIETY states:
"Freda Payne has a truly unique voice that hits an amazing number of notes with a smokey, unusual quality..."
Additionally, Freda has starred in the Broadway production of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, Ain't Misbehavin' and the Tony Award™ winning production of Hallelujah Baby.
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