On Sunday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m., the entertaining concert series “Live at the Orinda” will celebrate tunes from Freda Payne’s recent album release, Let There Be Love. Known for her multi-octive vocal range, the rhythm and blues and jazz artist will be joined by her band of accomplished musicians. They include keyboardist Rahn Coleman of Sherman Oaks, bassist Daniel Fabricant and drummer David Rokeach, both of San Francisco.
Well known for her classic ‘70’s hits, “Band of Gold” and “Bring the Boys Home,” both of which went Gold, Payne started her career in jazz working with Quincy Jones, Manny Albam and Lionel Hampton.
Along with roles in film and television, Payne also starred in Broadway shows such as Sophisticated Ladies, Blues in the Night, Jellie’s Last Jam and her own tour de force portrayal of Ella Fitzgerald in Ella: First Lady of Song. This short 1970 clip of Payne singing “Band of Gold” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF9Q3hnAr88) provides a glimpse of her talent and can be found here. “I’m excited to be coming back to Northern California to see my friends, fans and even some family. I’ll be giving you all I’ve got,” said Payne.
She travels to Orinda after finishing performances in Seattle at The Triple Door Feb. 5. Performing is what she’s all about. Payne plans to sing some tunes pulled from her role of Ella Fitzgerald, which she has performed three times. Broadway World said of her performance, “Freda Payne pulled off a performance that some musicians half her age might find exhausting. The Lady is a ball of fire with an intensity that comes out in every musical story being told.”
During the COVID lockdown, Payne worked with Mark Bego to write a memoir about her journey as a young singer from Detroit who traveled to New York City and beyond.
“I figured I’d better work on it while I can still remember everything,” joked Payne, who will have signed copies of Band of Gold, a Memoir available the night of her performance.
Payne lived a life alongside the “who’s-who” of the show business world in New York City. In her memoir, she writes about Duke Ellington, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey, Omar Sharif, Quincy Jones, Liza Minnelli and Sarah Vaughn. She has toured the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Her compelling memoir is described as “a celebration of a glamorous life well lived.”
Live at the Orinda has Michael Williams booking the talent for the popular series, which continues to offer top shelf music and vocals.
“The art deco décor is a gorgeous backdrop for an unforgettable evening of entertainment, and Ms. Payne will definitely make your heart sing,” said Williams.
Visit www.orindamovies.com, call 925.254.9060 or stop by the box office at 2 Theatre Square for tickets. Season tickets are available as well as single tickets from $50 – $100. Mark your calendar for Sundays at 5 p.m. for Marilu Henner on March 6; Natalie Douglas on April 3 and Debbie Gravitte on May 1.
Elana O’Loskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.