Born in the township of Englewood, NJ where star studded performers such as the late great Dizzy Gillespie and the Isley Brothers once resided and walked the streets, just adjacent to this location is the township of Teaneck where this July 29th “Jersey Cat” grew up paving his way to worldwide status as a jazz trumpeter. Teaneck being just a few miles shy of NYC, coincidentally is a NJ residency for many jazz icons (past and present) ranging from the late great Milt Jackson, Sam Jones, and Nat Adderley to Rufus Reid, Jon Faddis, Ray Drummond, Lenny White and countless others.
Freddie’s musical influences extends through the legacy of jazz music though he credits his playing style mostly to trumpeters Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw. His first introduction to jazz happens when his junior high school music director/1st trumpet instructor David Brown hosts an audition for his Teaneck Town-wide Jazz Band. To Freddie’s dismay, his failed audition attempt forced him to reconvene into his father’s record collection. With only a Louis Armstrong and Joe Newman recording to his name, along with countless hours of transcribing solos led Freddie to the attention of his next door neighbors. Melvin King, loaning Freddie two dozen jazz records of legendary jazz artists to copy and return. And neighbor Jimmy Pettiford former bassist for Monty Alexander and distant cousin of the late great Oscar Pettiford. These gentlemen along with a number of great music instructors of the Teaneck school system is what gave Freddie the determination needed to attain both a Masters and Bachelor Degrees in Jazz Studies and Performance from New Jersey City University and William Paterson University. From then on Freddie started to take music to another level.
Freddie has went on to be a member of virtually almost all of the top big bands in NYC. Early in his career, Freddie got his start in the business with Illinois Jacquet’s Big Band, Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Band, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Ray Charles Big Band, and Mike Longo’s NY State of the Art Jazz Ensemble. Later on it became bands like the Roy Hargrove Big Band, Charles Tolliver Big Band, Nicholas Payton’s Television Studio Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Currently Freddie Hendrix is an active member of the 2 time grammy winning Christian McBride Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Heath Big Band, Ron Carter Big Band, three Dizzy Gillespie jazz ensembles, and the George Gee Swing Orchestra.
With nearly 50 recordings as a sideman under his belt, In 2016, Freddie released his debut album “JERSEY CAT” on Sunnyside Records . And according to Sunnyside, it is “Because of his relationships in his home state that really made the recording possible.” In 2017, New Jersey City University awarded Freddie with the Clark Terry “Keep On Keepin’ On” Award. Freddie also performed at the White House on two occasions for President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2016. Also he performed at a private event for President Bill Clinton at Harlem’s own Red Rooster Restaurant. Other highlighted performances are with the late queen Aretha Franklin in a number of shows and also for her private birthday parties, 2015-2016. The 2015 Jimmy Fallon Show Birthday Celebration with Stevie Wonder and The Roots. The BET HONORS Award Show 2008 – 2014. Lastly but certainly not least Alicia Keys 2008 “As I Am” world tour having performed 105 shows in over 40 countries.
Freddie has performed in over 15 of the most prestigious jazz festivals around the world. At 42 years of age he is considered one of the best at his craft and is currently in high demand! As an educator, Freddie Hendrix shares his knowledge and passion for the music with aspiring and up-and-coming jazz artists and students. Freddie was the former trumpet instructor for 4 years at Jackie McLean’s Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He his currently enrolled in his 2nd year as Jazz Lecturer at Princeton University in the Department of Jazz Studies . He lists his former mentors/private instructors as: Rufus Reid, Harold Mabern, Byron Stripling, Joe Faddis, Joe Magnarelli, Walt and Joel Weiskopf, Dr. David Dempsey, Dr. Edward Joffe, Dr. Maredia Warren, Robert Hankle, David Rogers, David Brown and Ed Treutle. Freddie is also a great composer and arranger. Be on the look out for his next upcoming recording entitled “A New Beginning”. It’s sure to be a show stopper!
(Bio was provided to Jazz Sister Cities courtesy of Freddie Hendrix.)