Ever since Addison Frei (“Fry”) began playing piano professionally at age ten in local restaurants around Lawrence, Kansas, he has garnered accolades far beyond his years. The New York based pianist has won first prize in several competitions including the 2016 UNISA International Jazz Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition in Melbourne, Florida and the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition. Frei’s original compositions and imaginative arrangements can be heard on his debut album Intentions (2014), and Transit, a 2016 release highlighted by a theatrical music video starring vocalist Tahira Clayton and two tracks featuring frequent collaborator and Manhattan Transfer co-founder Janis Siegel. Upon participating in the 2016 Generations Jazz Festival Workshop in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, Frei earned a recording contract with TCB Records and will release a new trio album featuring bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Mario Gonzi in 2018.
Frei currently holds the piano chair in the Juilliard Artist Diploma Ensemble, regularly performing and touring with the conservatory’s flagship jazz ensemble. In New York, he has held residencies at the Kitano and the Cell Theatre and consistently performs at venues such as Smalls, Minton’s, Birdland, Cornelia St. Café and Rockwood Music Hall among others. Frei served as musical director of B-Side Productions’ Adding Machine and The Wild Party. He also headlined the 2015 Wichita Jazz Festival, brought his group to the Dallas Museum of Art and joined vibraphonist Christian Tamburr at the Lied Center of Kansas. Frei’s acclaimed compositions have earned him invitations to Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. He is a two-time recipient of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award sponsored by ASCAP and was recognized as a 2013 Yamaha Young Performing Artist.
Frei also co-leads AMP Trio, contributing compositions to Three (2017), m(y)our world (2015), which rose to #24 on the Jazz Week charts, and Flow (2013). Featuring bassist Perrin Grace and drummer Matt Young, the trio has toured extensively for five years, playing American venues such as ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the Velvet Note in Atlanta, and Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, as well as Japanese clubs D-Bop, Star Eyes and Jazz Spot J. AMP Trio partnered with videographer Andy LaViolette (Snarky Puppy) to release an extensive in-studio video series. As a rhythm section, AMP Trio has recorded with Aaron Hedenstrom, Adam Hutcheson and Spenser Liszt and performed with John Raymond, Tim Green and Quamon Fowler.
A 2014 summa cum laude graduate of the prestigious University of North Texas Jazz Studies program, Frei traveled with the six-time Grammy® nominated UNT One O’Clock Lab Band to headline the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California and can be heard on Lab 2013. While at UNT he had the opportunity to perform with prominent jazz artists including Christian McBride, Mike Stern, and Peter Erskine. Frei also gave a duo piano recital alongside his mentor, Stefan Karlsson, featuring the music of Richie Beirach. In 2013 the faculty honored Frei with the Outstanding Undergraduate Jazz Studies Student Award.
In addition to performing and recording, Frei is an established clinician and educator, delivering invited lectures/performances at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Central Florida, the University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, Baker University, and Lynn Seaton’s Bass Workshop at UNT. Frei was a featured artist at the 2014 Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in Dallas.