Pianist/composer, Matthew Fries, is professor of jazz piano at Western Michigan University. He is highly regarded in the jazz world as both a soloist and accompanist. The winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, his continuing work with his collaborative trio, TRI-FI, “takes on the Jazz Trio challenge and delivers a ‘knock out’ punch” (Jazz Review). As a sideman his work has been described as “the best jazz accompaniment I’ve seen in a cabaret in years” (The New York Times), and “the crispest rhythm section imaginable” (The London Times).
Born in the small town of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, Matthew grew up in a musical home. His mother was a classical singer. His father was a professor of piano at Susquehanna University and was Matthew’s first teacher, teaching him piano and music theory. He caught “the jazz bug” after a college jazz history course awakened his interest in jazz piano. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Ithaca College and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from The University of Tennessee, where he taught undergraduate classes and studied with jazz piano great, Donald Brown.
Matthew lived in New York City for almost 25 years performing with many of the greatest jazz musicians. He maintains a busy teaching and touring schedule – touring frequently with his collaborative trio, TRI-FI, and with singer, Curtis Stigers, as a regular member of his band. He continues to perform with a diverse lineup of artists that has included Curtis Stigers, Stacey Kent, Ann Hampton Callaway, DeeDee Bridgewater, Vincent Herring, Steve Wilson, Joel Frahm, Steve LaSpina, Dave Samuels, Claudio Roditi, Terell Stafford, and many others.