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BIOGRAPHY



      Frederick James McCray was born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1955 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It became evident very early in his life that he had a special musical talent when before the age of 5, he was found at the piano playing songs entirely by ear, having never had any musical training. His first job in music was at 12 years of age as the church organist. A few years later he played in the East Jefferson High School Jazz Band when he won the award for “Outstanding Jazz Piano” in a competition with over forty schools. From this award, he met Stan Kenton and played in his All Star High School Jazz Band in 1974. He studied at Xavier University in New Orleans, both piano and voice, and also studied privately with leading jazz educator, Ellis Marsalis. During this time, Frederick also worked and studied with New Orleans’ jazz historian/musician, the late Danny Barker. He worked with many local, New Orleans artists, including but not limited to, Bob & George French, Lady BJ, Phillip Manuel,Wanda Rouzan, Laverne Butler and James Rivers.

      Frederick has worked extensively as a soloist over the past 30 years and has had a variety of experiences ranging from musical director for female singing group, E.L.S., while performing at the Playboy Club in Manilla, Phillipines in 1983 to MCA recording artist with Windjammer and appearing on “Top of the Pops” in London, England. He performed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Valentino Jazz Country Inn with “Nature” and was a pianist at Houlahan’s on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. He was kept busy as a free-lance musician performing in many varieties of groups, including styles ranging from jazz, gospel and rhythm & blues. Frederick was lured to Salt Lake City, Utah by the owners of Jazzranch Bistro in 1985 and had worked continually in various clubs, restaurants and hotels when he was discovered by Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah in 1990, where he entertained at the Five Star Diamond lodge for their acclaimed Sunday Jazz Brunch until November, 2003. He also performed at the Sundance Film Festival for the awards ceremonies hosted by Variety Magazine 2000-2001. Frederick worked from the beginning of 2004 at the Easy Street Brasserie & Bar in Park City, Utah until it was closed for re-modeling April 2006. He performed at the Fidelity Investments Park City Jazz Festival in August 2004. While living in Salt Lake City, he performed with the late Freddie Hubbard at Nino’s Caberet & Restaurant.

      One of the highlights of his career was performing for the International Olympic Committee during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. He returned to New Orleans to perform during WWOZ Piano Night, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. His unique style of music has also been enjoyed by guests at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City from 1996 until January 2010. He has also worked a lot with Destination VIP, masters of the myriad aspects of planning successful meetings & corporate incentives from 2001 to present. Frederick’s first CD release in 2003, “Spiritual Intrigue,” is the result of countless requests over the years from guests visiting his places of employment to have something to take home with them. The success of this first CD prompted the creation of his second CD release, “Congo Cruise,” produced for Rampart Street Music, published and distributed by Jamalar Publishing in 2005.