About Freda Payne
Fame can be a pleasant surprise. When Freda Payne recorded “Band of Gold” for Invictus Records in 1969, she didn’t think much of it — until it catapulted her to the top of the charts in 1970. Even today, it’s still considered one of the top 100 songs of the 70s. But Freda Payne’s roots are in jazz — she recorded her very first album for Impulse! Records (known for recording jazz legends such as John Coltrane and Duke Ellington) and ever since 2014, she’s returned to those roots with her recordings. Her latest album Let There Be Love features jazz masters of today like Kurt Elling and Dee Dee Bridgewater, along with long-time legend Johnny Mathis and R&B, soul, and jazz star Kenny Lattimore.
Arrangements for Let There Be Love were crafted by Grammy Award-winning composer and bandleader Gordon Goodwin, with some suggestions from Freda Payne. When Gordon presented his original arrangement of the title track, Freda said, “This one’s going to be a duet with Kenny Lattimore, a real R&B star. I want it to be FUNKY, put some spice in it.” Gordon re-arranged the tune once more — the way you hear it on the album now. Freda also contributed the idea of piecing together “Moanin” by Bobby Timmons and John Hendricks with “Doodlin” by Horace Silver. The clever interplay comes to life in a duet with jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Freda doesn’t shy away from scatting either — “It’s All Right With Me” features her trading melodies with the big band, and “Our Love is Here to Stay” showcases a stunning scat battle between Kurt Elling and Freda.
Listen to the full Bite-Size Jazz interview to hear Freda Payne’s stories about coming up on the jazz scene in New York in her early 20s, traveling the world, and the healthy habits that have kept her voice powerful even into her late 70s.
Birdland Jazz Club will present Freda Payne in her album release concert “Let There Be Love” for one show only on Monday, November 22 at 7:00 PM ET. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.
Never miss out on an episode by signing up for the Bite-Size Jazz newsletter! You can be the first to know about new interviews by having them sent directly to your inbox along with exclusive content about upcoming episodes. You’ll also find a link to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We’d love to connect with you!