Freda’s band of `Blues’

“At this point in my life, I’d rather do the standards. I’m not exactly the hip-hop type.”
So says Freda Payne, the 58-year-old pop/R&B singer best known for her million-selling single “Band of Gold.”

Payne is in San Francisco singing her heart out in Blues in the Night, a jazzy, blues-y revue featuring a bunch of great songs by the likes of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Johnny Mercer, Vernon Duke and Bessie Smith.

The show opens Aug. 15 at the Post Street Theatre.

Payne’s relationship with the theater stretches back to 1967 when she was an understudy for Leslie Uggams in Hallelujah, Baby! (Payne went on five times, she says). Through the years, she has performed with multiple companies of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Sophisticated Ladies. Bay Area audiences saw her about 12 years ago in the touring company of Jelly’s Last Jam, which starred Maurice Hines, who happens to be co-starring with Payne in Blues in the Night (as are Carol Woods and Paulette Ivory).

For Blues, Payne will be singing chestnuts such as “Lush Life,” “Rough and Ready Man” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.”

“I love this music,” Payne says. “Music is a healer. It soothes the soul, makes you happy and kind of sad, too.”

Blues in the Night continues through Sept. 30 at the Post Street Theatre, 450 Post St., San Francisco. Tickets are $35 for previews and $40 to $75 for regular performances. Call (415) 771-6900 or visit www.bluesinthenightsf.com.

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