“Freda Payne laughs when asked about her No. 1 1970 hit “Band of Gold.”
“People love to hear that song,” she says with a chuckle. “I will do ‘Band of Gold’ to satisfy the band of golders!”
However, as serious music fans know, Payne is far from a one-hit wonder — she’s a tremendously gifted singer whose jazz singing holds its own when compared to any of the greats, including Ella Fitzgerald — an “icon” to Payne, who has portrayed her on stage. In particular, Payne has mastered the art of scatting and makes it sound effortless.
“With scatting, you have to have the ear for it, the musicality and the imagination,” she says. “It’s like dancing around the notes, you’re dancing around the melody. It’s almost like being a great basketball player, you have to take chances.”
Payne is one of several artists who will appear at the Portland Jazz Festival, which kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 17, and runs through Sunday, March 1. Designed to coincide with Black History Month, the festival features performances all over town, as well as workshops, the schedules of which can be found at portlandjazzfestival.org.“