Jazz singer Carol Fredette, who will share the stage at Charlie's Georgetown with veteran Carol Sloan this week, has been collecting round-the-world kudos for a number of years, but she just recently got around to recording her first album. "It's just the way it happened," she says. "I was traveling a lot, but for the last five years I've been back in New York."
The common pattern for singers is to develop in one town and then take their act on the road, but in the '60s when Fredette was starting out, there was no work in her home town for jazz vocalists. "Rock 'n' roll was all that was happening back then. When somebody offered me a job on the road, I wasn't about to say no."
She worked with the big bands of Sal Salvador and Neal Hefti and began a whirl of gigs that also took her to a number of major European and Latin American cities. "Working around the country and the world is also valuable because you're able to perform in front of lots of different types of people," Fredette says. "Creative juices can flow anyplace in the world."
Having sung with big bands and small combos, Fredette claims no preference. "They're both wonderful. With a small band, of course, there's more freedom, but the excitement and the energy that flows from hearing all that support behind you is inspiring in a different way. If I had my choice, I'd probably go with a rhythm section; there's more spontaneity about to erupt."
The first-time dual bill with Sloan (they will share support musicians) was Charlie's owner Pete Lambros' idea. "He put it together because he wanted to use both of us. I like doing different things." As for repertoire conflicts, Fredette insists that's "no problem at all."