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Francine Reed returns for a dazzling evening of blues, jazz and gospel

Singer Francine Reed, a rhythm and blues singer whose 2011 performance wowed a Bates audience, returns to the college for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Olin Concert Hall at Bates College, 75 Russell St.

Seating is by reservation. Advance tickets cost $15 for the general public and $10 for seniors and students, rising to $20 and $10 on the day of the show. Buy tickets at www.batestickets.com.

The performance is jointly presented by L/A Arts and the Olin Arts Alive concert series. For more information, contact 207-786-6135 or olinarts@bates.edu.

Although Reed did not receive national recognition until she began recording with Lyle Lovett in 1985, she has always been a singer, first performing with her family gospel choir at age 5.

Reed began singing professionally in the 1980s, picking up gigs in jazz clubs and functions in Phoenix, Ariz. She became known for her powerful voice and commanding stage presence, offering an eclectic blend of jazz, blues and R&B. She was asked to open shows for such names as Miles Davis, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and the Crusaders.

In 1985, friends introduced Reed to Lovett, who was searching for a female singer for his new band. Lovett was still a struggling performer when they met, but as his star rose, Reed became an integral part of his show.

Reed toured with Lovett and his Large Band as a background vocalist, but also performed duets with the country musician. She was featured on several Lovett albums and sang with him on such television shows as Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show and Regis and Kathy Lee.

After moving to Atlanta, Ga., she recorded her debut solo album, I Want You to Love Me (Ichican International, 1990), which featured a duet with Lovett. The follow-up, Can’t Make It on My Own (Ichiban Old Emd, 1996) included a duet with Delbert McClinton. The success of these early works resulted in nominations for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award (Blues Song of the Year and Soul/Blues-Female Artist of the Year, 1997).

Reed performed on Willie Nelson’s acclaimed 2000 album Milk Cow Blues, lending her talent to the title track as well as to Nelson’s countrypolitan classic “Funny How Time Slips Away.” In recent years Reed has appeared as the “Chanteuse” for the avant-garde theater Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco.

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