Bassist/Vocalist Kelly Friesen has played music ranging
from 1920’s style Dixieland with “Woody Allen’s”
New Orleans Jazz Band (1997-2001) to Beethoven’s
5th with the Julliard Symphony Orchestra, to straight
ahead Pop with “Sister Sledge” (We Are Family).
His formal training included Classical studies at the
Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for bass, piano,
voice and theory. He also received 4 years of private
instruction with legendary Jazz Bassist Ray Brown (1993-1997)
and Classicist Homer Mensch.
As a singer Kelly has been compared to the likes of Nat
King Cole and Chet Baker which is clearly evident on his
debut CD “Back in Time” released in 1997 featuring
Howard Alden and George Kelly.
Since moving to New York in 1993 he has firmly established
himself as a top sideman and leader working with jazz
greats such as Herb Ellis, Bucky Pizzarelli, Etta Jones,
Dick Hyman, Jerome Richardson, Frank Wess and Joe Wilder
to name a few. Some of his credits as sideman and/or leader
in New York City include performances at Town Hall, The
Blue Note, Birdland, The Jazz Standard, The 92nd Street
Y Jazz Series, JVC Jazz Festival, The Iridium, and The
Kelly has appeared in two feature films including Woody
Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown” (1999) featuring
Sean Penn and Uma Thurman, and the critically acclaimed
documentary “Last of the First” produced by
Anja Baron, featuring the “Harlem Renaissance Orchestra”
which opened at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. In addition
to being in the film, his unique “Slap Bass”
style is featured on the entire Sony soundtrack of “Sweet
Mr. Friesen has toured extensively with various groups
in the US , Canada , Japan , Turkey , France and Germany.
Currently he can be seen singing and playing at a variety
of venues in and around NYC. He has led a steady gig at
Shelly’s New York (one of New York ’s leading
Jazz clubs) for the past 5 years featuring jazz greats
such as: Frank Wess, Ralph Lalama, Warren Vache and Joe
His next CD “Sings Songs of Love” is to be
released in the spring of 2006.