From concerts, recordings and military service in Seoul, Korea to jazz festivals as a Jazz Ambassador; conducting orchestras across the United States as a musical director to recording and producing records as a pianist and leader of his own group; Fred H
Fred began studying keyboards and low brass at the age of 8 and by age 12 was a member of
Local 294 of the American Federation of Musicians in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
He performed alongside his father in the New Holland and Bainbridge Bands on tuba and in his
dad’s jazz group on organ. Professional performances continued with his own organ trio until
graduating from high school.
In 1979, Fred enlisted in the United States Army and upon advancing out of the Armed Forces
School of Music, was assigned as a tuba player in the First Army Band at Fort George G. Meade,
Maryland. His keyboard prowess soon had him playing in the duty combo, show band and big
band with the First Army Band as well as an organ trio in his off-duty time in the
Baltimore/Washington area. He also performed with the UMBC Jazz Ensemble, under the
direction of Ron Diehl, playing with such guest artists as Al Cohn and Ashley Alexander.
1981 to 1985 was a period of tremendous opportunity for Fred, not only as a member of the
Eighth Army Band in Seoul, Korea, but numerous performance opportunities in his free time. As
a soldier-musician, he was rising quickly up the ranks, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. His
responsibilities included leader of the duty combo, show band, and big band for the Eighth
Army Band as well as operations noncommissioned officer; overseeing the booking of the
In his off-duty time, Seoul was becoming a hotbed of jazz activity and Fred was performing
almost every night of the week by the time he left Korea. His group, Just Friends, had recorded
six albums for the Oasis/EMI label and had become popular across the Korean Peninsula;
performing for sold-out houses and to live radio and television audiences. It was through these
performance opportunities that Fred had the honor of being chosen to serve as the rehearsal
conductor and jazz coach for the MBC Pops Orchestra.
Returning to his native Lancaster in 1985, Fred began performing extensively in a piano trio
setting with the group Alternative. Alternative, which included Harrisburg legend Sammy Banks
on drums and the formidable J.J. Wiggins, now Hassan Shakur on bass. Alternative was in
demand in the Central Pennsylvania area and was the house band at what is now the Eden
Resort Inn in Lancaster.
In 1989, Fred reentered the military joining the United States Army’s premier touring jazz
ensemble, the Jazz Ambassadors. As pianist and soloist for the Jazz Ambassadors, he performed
in all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe; with jazz greats Arturo Sandoval, Ed
Shaughnessy, Allen Vizzutti and Toots Thielemans; and at such prestigious jazz festivals as the
Newport, Montreux, Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals.
Fred left the Jazz Ambassadors in 1996 and the Fred Hughes Trio released their first recording,
Out Of The Blue, in December of that year. Although the Fred Hughes Trio had gotten its start
in the jazz clubs of Washington, DC in 1989, it wasn’t until 1996 that the group began to
flourish with performances at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Elkhart, Rehoboth, and Cape May
jazz festivals as well as becoming the rhythm section for groups including the Vaughn Nark
Quintet and Tim Eyermann’s East Coast Offering.
The Trio has performed with such artists as Claudio Roditi, Jon Fedchock, Warren Vache and
Larry Coryell and the group’s recordings include Out Of The Blue (1996), Live! (1998), No
Turning Back (2001), New Day Dawning (2006), In The Mist (2012), Love Letters (2015), I'll Be
Home For Christmas (2015) which received 5 Stars from Amazon.com, 3 ½ stars from Downbeat
and garnered considerable radio airplay; finishing out 2015 in the number 5 slot on the CMJ
Jazz Radio Chart, and Matrix (2016) which 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 Roots Music Report’s
Top Jazz Albums for 2017. The Trio has a DVD, In Concert (2002), released by GMC in the
Republic of Korea. A sampling of the groups performing credentials includes the East Coast,
Clifford Brown and Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festivals, tours to the Republic of Korea in 2001 and 2002,
and clubs and concert venues from Toronto to Orlando.
In 2002, Fred became the musical supervisor and conductor for Three Mo’ Tenors who later
became Cook, Dixon and Young. In this role, he directed the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the
Atlanta and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestras, Washington and Chicago Lyric Opera
Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as many contracted orchestras on shows
across the United States. 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.
Fred was Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd College and 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.
Fortunate to have many great teachers and mentors in his life including his father, Ben Iannone,
Al Hermanns, Bill Horn and Kenny Werner; Fred’s experiences as a young apprentice in the
community and professional organizations of Lancaster County Pennsylvania provided the
opportunity and training that shaped him into the musician he is today. Whether house pianist
at the Willard Hotel (2005 to 2008) and Gaylord National Resort (2008 - 2011), conductor of
community groups like the Chesapeake Bay Community Band (2004 - 2015), his newest
appointment as director of the Columbia Jazz Band (2017 - present), or performances on stages
around the world; Fred brings his years of experience on the bandstand to every musical