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 2017 Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Piano Solo Competition, 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. He has released two albums on Armored Records, Intentions (2014) and Transit (2016), featuring frequent collaborator and Manhattan Transfer co-founder Janis Siegel. His latest recording on TCB Records-The Montreux Jazz Label will feature a new trio comprised of bassist Tamir Shmerling and drummer Mario Gonzi.
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). AMP Trio recently completed a Japanese tour and alongside vocalist Tahira Clayton, was selected as the winner of the DC Jazz Prix, earning a DC Jazz Festival performance in 2018. With his 2016 single and music video “Postcard”, Frei again teamed up with Clayton, this time expanding into a broader production palette. Following in this sonic path, he explored political themes in a digital EP, Future Speak (2017).
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. Frei performed a concert series at the 2017 Lucerne Piano Festival. He was also a featured soloist with Drew Zaremba’s Unity Orchestra in Dallas. Frei headlined the 2015 Wichita Jazz Festival and brought his group to the Dallas Museum of Art. He has toured alongside vibraphonist Christian Tamburr, Felix Peikli and Joe Doubleday’s “Showtime Band”, and the Charles Turner Quartet. His acclaimed compositions have earned him invitations to Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Frei is a two-time recipient of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award sponsored by ASCAP. He served as musical director of B-Side Productions’ Adding Machine and The Wild Party.
A 2014 summa cum laude graduate of the prestigious University of North Texas Jazz Studies program, Frei traveled with the 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 the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the University of Kansas, the University of Central Florida, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, Baker University, the Verdi Conservatory of Torino, TUTS University and Pretoria University as well as numerous primary and secondary schools. Frei was a featured artist at the 2014 Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in Dallas. He is presently a member of the Orlando-based Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra, in their inaugural season under the direction of Rodney Whitaker. Addison Frei is a Yamaha Artist.