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 Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa, the 2015 American Jazz Pianist Competition in Melbourne, Florida and the 2012 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition where he was noted as the youngest competitor. He has toured and recorded in a duo setting alongside Manhattan Transfer co-founder Janis Siegel. In New York Frei has held residencies at the Kitano, the Cell Theatre and Somethin’ Jazz and performed at venues such as Minton’s, Birdland, Cornelia St. Café, Pangea and Rockwood Music Hall among others. He has served as musical director of B-Side Productions’ Adding Machine and The Wild Party. Frei 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, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and Generations International Jazz Festival’s Workshop. He is also 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. His original compositions and imaginative arrangements can be found on Intentions, Frei’s debut album, and Transit, a 2016 release that includes a theatrical music video collaboration featuring vocalist Tahira Clayton.
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.
Frei also co-leads AMP Trio, contributing several compositions to Flow on Armored Records and the self-released m(y)our world, which rose to #24 on the Jazz Week charts. Featuring Perrin Grace on bass and Matt Young on drums, the trio has toured extensively throughout North America including appearances at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the Velvet Note in Atlanta, and Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. AMP Trio released an extensive in-studio video series directed by Andy LaViolette (Snarky Puppy) and has shared the stage with trumpeter John Raymond and saxophonists Tim Green and Quamon Fowler.
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.
A sought-after studio musician and vocal accompanist, Frei’s emotive style is featured on numerous albums including releases by Sarah Kervin, Jimin Lee, Gale Cruz, Emily Merrell, Susan Hanlon, Mario Cruz, Aaron Hedenstrom, Spenser Liszt, Nolan Byrd, Fundamental, the Maniacal 4, the Two O’Clock Lab Band and the Alex Hahn Crossing. Frei has contributed to multiple Downbeat Student Music Award winners including the 2013 and 2014 winners of best Blues/Pop/Rock group.