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Freda Payne headlines jazz festival in Madison

MADISON – An entertainment first will arrive in Madison on Aug. 5 when 1970’s R&B icon Freda Payne headlines “Alabama Women in Jazz Festival … with a hint of the blues.”

Insanity Complex will host the festival from 1 to 10 p.m. The event will be held indoors so no coolers, chairs or outside food will be allowed. A dance floor will be open, and the VIP Package (advance tickets only) includes a meet-and-greet session with the performers.

“We are presenting a great jazz musical program for the community. It’s the first time ever in this area that this great lady, Freda Payne, has graced our city,” Patrice Bivins said. Bivins is founder of Valley Arts and Entertainment, the event sponsor.

“We want to help the community of Madison welcome Ms. Payne and come out to Insanity and support this beautiful new complex,” Bivins said.

The multi-talented Freda Payne is best known for her phenomenal hit from 1970, “Band of Gold,” about unrequited and unfulfilled love. She had a follow-up hit with “Bring the Boys Home.”

“Ms. Payne also has performed in musicals and acted in movies over the years and briefly was the host of her own TV talk show,” Bivins said. Born in Detroit, Mich., Payne developed an appreciation of music at an early age with sultry jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday as her role models.

Payne was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in June 2017.

Paula Atherton also will perform at the festival. Billed as a “smooth, jazz/funk saxtress,” Atherton will “will dance the funk right off everyone’s dancing shoes,” Bivins said. Atherton and keyboardist Gail Johnson collaborate for “that same seductive, crystal-clear vocal style that has brought Atherton this far and a new album, ‘Ear Candy.’”

Another performer at the festival, B.J. (Bettye Jo Miller) writes, sings, plays, arranges, engineers and produces music. Miller has played and captivated audiences across the United States, Canada, France, Spain and Tokyo. Miller also plays trombone.

Parking is free. The event is open to anyone 21 years old or older.

Early bird tickets cost $20 and are available until July 1. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.

For more information, visit valleyartsandentertainment.org.

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