Jazz artist Craig Fraedrich has enjoyed a professional career as a performer and educator that spans over thirty years. He received his undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance from North Texas State University and Masters Degree from Arizona State University. He also studied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Banff Center for the Arts. He was awarded music scholarships at each of these institutions. While in college he won numerous solo awards at jazz festivals throughout the country including: The Elmhurst Jazz Festival, The Notre Dame Jazz Festival, The Wichita Jazz Festival, The UT-Austin Jazz Festival, The University of Arizona Flagstaff Jazz Festival and the University of California Berklee Jazz Festival where he was named the outstanding soloist of the Festival. He was a winner of International Trumpet Guild Jazz Solo competition and leader/director of the first student combo to perform at the International Jazz Educators Conference.
Since 1986 he has performed as a featured jazz trumpet soloist with The Army Blues, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Army and one of the few full-time jazz ensembles in the country. During that time he also served as the groups musical director, trumpet section leader and assistant group leader. In addition to performing, he has composed or arranged over 100 pieces for the band. As a member of this prestigious ensemble, Craig has traveled extensively both performing and serving as a clinician. In addition to visiting much of the United States, he has performed in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Germany, China, Ireland, St. Thomas and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He finished his career as a Sergeant Major, serving as the leader of the Army Blues and Element Leader of the Popular Music Element.
Craig has pursued a significant solo career as well. He has released twelve compact discs with his own groups and has appeared on dozens of others as a side-man. His release, So In Love (featuring NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman) reached number twelve in national jazz radio play according to Billboard Magazine. His most recent, All Through the Night on Summit Records is now available. Other performance highlights have included an appearance as guest jazz soloist with the Brass Band of Battle Creek for the premier of Wycliff Gordons Tribute to Muhammad Ali as well as the Kennedy Centers presentation of Ramsey Lewiss Proclamation of Hope, both of which were recorded for PBS. Craig continues to maintain a busy schedule in the Washington D.C. area. He is a dedicated educator and has been a faculty member (Associate Professor) at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music since 1989 and was a Lecturer at West Virginia University from 2013 to 2016. His duties have included: teaching Applied Jazz Trumpet, Jazz Coaching (applied jazz lessons for any instrument) Music Theory, Jazz Theory, Jazz Arranging and Composition, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Combos, the Little Big Band and has been the director of the Shenandoah Jazz Ensemble since 1999. Highlights directing the Jazz Ensemble included tours of Senegal West Africa with performances culminating at the St. Louis Jazz Festival and a tour of Ireland with a featured performance at the National Concert Hall.
Craig has published three books as part of the Practical Jazz Theory for Improvisation series. He has studied improvisation with Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, Chuck Marohnic, Rich Matteson, Dan Hearle, Jack Peterson, and Frank Puzzullo. Additionally, he cites the remaining faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1985- Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Don Thompson, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Julian Priester) as major influences. His principal trumpet teachers have included Dennis Najoom, Dr. Leonard Candelaria, Don Jacoby, Dr. Wayne Cook, Steve Kossoris, Chuck Tumlinson and Ken Van Winkle.