Fred Hughes has performed, conducted and presented workshops nationally and internationally for over three decades. His early training includes keyboards and low brass in community bands and jazz ensembles across his home state of Pennsylvania. By age 25, Fred had long been recognized as an up and coming conductor and world class jazz pianist for his work with the First Army Band, Fort Meade, Maryland and the Eighth Army Band in Seoul, Korea.
In 1981, Fred formed the jazz group Just Friends and recorded six albums for Oasis/EMI Records in Seoul, Korea. Just Friends performed for sold out houses and to live radio and television broadcasts throughout the Korean Peninsula. During the same period, Fred served as the rehearsal conductor and jazz coach for the MBC Pops Orchestra in Seoul, Korea.
Fred returned to his native Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1985 and performed throughout the eastern U.S. with his jazz trio, Alternative, before joining the United States Army’s premier touring jazz ensemble, the Jazz Ambassadors. As pianist and soloist for the Jazz Ambassadors, Hughes performed in all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Europe and at such prestigious jazz festivals as the Newport, Montreux, Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals.
An avid educator, Fred was Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd College. He has presented workshops and clinics at conferences for the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA), Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He has conducted numerous county, state and regional honors groups including the Maryland All State Jazz Band and the MENC All-Eastern Honors Jazz Ensemble. His book, The Jazz Pianist: Left Hand Voicings and Chord Theory is published by Alfred Publications.
Hughes can be heard on over 30 recordings and has performed with the Baltimore and Chicago Symphony Orchestras as well as jazz greats Claudio Roditi, Al Cohn, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove, Bill Watrous, and Toots Thielemans. As a conductor, he has directed the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Atlanta and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, Washington and Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was musical director for the Three Mo’ Tenors, conductor of the Chesapeake Bay Community Band, and was appointed the director of the Columbia Jazz Band in September of 2017.
Fred’s compositions appear on numerous recordings including the Fred Hughes Band’s New Day Dawning, the Fred Hughes Trio recordings Out Of The Blue, Live, No Turning Back, In The Mist, Love Letters and the DVD In Concert as well as Ricky Loza’s My Dream and the Pete BarenBregge/Frank Russo Quartet recordings PF Flyer and Point Of Grace. His orchestrations and arrangements can be heard on the Cook, Dixon and Young PBS Great Performances Television Special Cook, Dixon and Young – In Concert as well as a compact disc of the performance distributed by RCA Victor titled Cook, Dixon and Young Volume One.
I'll Be Home For Christmas, the Fred Hughes Trio's seventh release, received 5 Stars from Amazon.com and 3 ½ stars from the most widely recognized jazz magazine, Downbeat. The recording garnered considerable radio airplay and finished out 2015 in the number 5 slot on the CMJ Jazz Radio Chart.
The Fred Hughes Trio's eighth recording, Matrix, received critical acclaim including this from Amazon.com: “The Fred Hughes trio delivers a stunning formula that will leave you humming the tunes long after the disc is done playing.” The recording spent 5 weeks in the #1 spot on the Top 50 Jazz Album Chart at Roots Music Report and finished 2017 in the Top 5 of the Root Music Report Top Jazz Albums for 2017.