The journey that brought V. Shayne Frederick to Philadelphia is the same one traveled by many jazz greats before him. Frederick’s paternal family had moved from North Carolina to Philly before he was born, following the path that had already brought such icons as Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and the Heath Brothers to the city during the Great Migration.
Even though the project dips its toes into Latin grooves, hip-hop, and experimental jazz, Frederick’s vocals are constantly (and rightfully) at the forefront. His stunning baritone effortlessly soars; sometimes a seductive whisper, sometimes an exuberant belt.
To watch V. Shayne Frederick perform feels like observing one of the old, early-twentieth-century masters’ energies and vocal stylings transposed into a contemporary form. His rich timbral tone vibrates your sternum when it hits the right notes (it never fails to), stretching across his wide register and rich palette. His repertoire is vast but curated, reaching deep into the jazz songbook for forgotten songs that he makes feel like standards. He’s an artist’s artist, in part because it seems almost effortless—like he’s never been anything but.
The shining light among the singers was Frederick, a young man who has been making waves in the Philadelphia area recently. He has a remarkable range from the bass register all the way up to countertenor. His interpretations are carefully crafted around the meaning of the words and the structure of the melody. Frederick is definitely “one to watch.”