Here’s hoping things are great in your world. So much turmoil and trouble and we’re losing great energies in quick succession. B B King and Ben E King gone within 3 weeks of each other and just last night Bruce Lundvall, of Blue Note Records passed on as well. It’s painful to lose people we feel we know because they touch us so deeply, once again reminded how fleeting everything – including ourselves – is. It’s one of the reasons music is so important to me as every time I sing and it’s over. It’s over. Never to come again and a recording of those moments are a document to what was. Making music makes the point clear each and every time…that this moment and time is the only real thing we have.
And I have some news.
Before I hit the road in April, the great ezine (and part of the New Music America) stopped by my home for a pretty in depth interview I’d like to share. It’s part of a three part interview that includes vocal powerhouses Jen Shyu and Jazz legend Sheila Jordan focusing on three generations of jazz vocalists going in decidedly disparate paths, yet still honoring the tradition. I’m honored to have been asked to take part and you can read it (and see the video) right here.
I’m also headed to the West Coast to play with at the California Jazz Conservatory on SATURDAY, MAY 23rd and conducting a workshop called Improvising w/o Scatting on SUNDAY, MAY 24th. Everything is on the PERFORMANCE section of the FV site and I’m putting here as well:
SATURDAY, MAY 23rd //The California Jazz Conservatory
FV’s TRIO West
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Lisa Mezzacappa – double bass
John Finkbeiner – guitar
w Special Guest – Steve Adams (reeds)
Berkeley, CA https://cjc.edu/concerts/?eid=8662
As soon as I hop back into town, I’m at the 55BAR keeping it jazzy this month for the Early Set..
THURSDAY, MAY 28th//The 55Bar
FV with Ratzo Harris and Kenny Wessel
Early Set 7-9PM
NY, NY www.55bar.com
Thank you all for reading. Appreciate every moment!
What a month I had between Europe and Turkey. I first went over to do a tour with Herbie Nichols SUNG; after that I ran two masterclasses on my own at Bern University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland, then moved on to Istanbul, Turkey to join the New York Jazz Workshop team for a week of master-classes at Bogazici University, truly the Harvard University of Turkey. Three different scenarios and each deeply fulfilling.
First off the Herbie Nichols tour…a small dream that revealed so much about where Nichols’ music can go and how open people were towards it. We’re taking an elastic approach to the forms, full of detours and improvisations that crop out of nowhere. So wonderful to hear how the music unfolds over four back to back concerts, every concert different from the other and always exploratory. I couldn’t have asked for better partners in pianist Achim Kaufmann and reedist Tobias Delius on this journey. These musicians know Nichols’ music inside and out, having played his pieces from years, a fact that left the possibilities endless. It was a revelation. I learned so much and see Nichols music in a different way now. Not just tunes that are a master-class in themselves of form, harmony and thematic development, but now as fluid materials so strong that those melodies are indestructible beacons of light carrying feelings, sounds and intuitive joy. The feedback and reaction to the tour were amazing and I was floored by the reaction to our unorthodox approach. The concert in Amsterdam, where the tour started had quite a few members of the Instant Composers Pool coming out to hear our way, musicians that know the Nichols’ book just as well, arguably much better than I do. The great reedist and shakuhachi player Ab Baars said “Good you came over to give us a great view on Mr Nichols’ music.” !!!
After the HBS tour ended in Berlin, Germany, I spent a few days there getting to know that great city during springtime. Always a lover of history, I learned more about the history of the city as East Berlin, with enough evidence around to back up the conversations. The night before heading out of town, I got to check out the Bad Plus in Berlin doing Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction with a front line to die for: Ron Miles, Tim Berne and Sam Newsome. Very honored to be Sam’s guest at the A Train and sit front row taking in all the beauty. Just in awe.
Then it was on to Bern, Switzerland where the master classes went so well at Bern University of the Arts, I almost cried. It was a small group of 5 amazing students in total, diving into a deep place looking at vocal confidence and audience connection. Every time I’ve given this workshop, there’s been a deep emotional response from at least one of the participants. This occasion was no different. The second class was on improvised group vocal improvisations with a rhythm section joining us exploring improvisation by ear over the blues, Stella by Starlight as well as free improvisation. Great discussions with these students, many of them at the Masters degree level in music and composition and it looks like I can go back! I was thrilled. The stay in Bern was brief, just a night before the master classes there, taking the night train back to Amsterdam that same evening. Amsterdam now just as a mini vacation, seeing friends and family. A cool spring, hell everywhere was cool – yet sunny and beautiful too. I left there wishing I could stay just a few days longer. It felt so good and connected this time.
Istanbul, Turkey. I was the vocal instructor of the New York Jazz Workshop team and after a successful run last year, we were invited back Bogazici University to teach over 40 students during their Spring Break. The vocalists were so excited after last year’s proceedings that we doubled the amount of vocalists this year! The students aren’t music majors but they’re brilliant students in their own fields. From freshmen chemistry majors to biomedical engineers working on their Ph.D’s…all for a love of this music. The week was dynamic and the team was immense: Drummer Tony Moreno, pianist Nikolaj Hess, bassist Jay Anderson, guitarist Kenny Wessel…alongside our ring leaders and co-directors of the New York Jazz Workshop – tenor saxophonist Marc Mommaas and Marco Chelo. Last year, I had the group of vocalists entirely and this year, I had all of the vocalists in the morning, and floated around in the afternoon to the ensembles that they were a part of. Such a new way of interacting for me, which was uncomfortable at first but I got into it and learned so much about myself and the power of those vocalists integrating themselves into the different ensemble lead by the instrumentalists on the team. Last night when we put on the final concert…we were floored by the range, depth and power of the performances and the audience of a few hundred people responded in kind. How lucky I feel to have had anything to do with this amazing outcome and what a place in the world to have this opportunity. Istanbul is incredible.
I started to fall in love with Istanbul…the people, sounds (the call to prayer blows my mind), the food, the love of music, the chaos and the love people show. Passionate beautiful people…warm and appreciative was my experience. It’s such a beautiful city too, almost like a shining jewel. The house we stayed in on campus was decadently comfortable, with views from on high of the Bosphorus at every turn. The five minute walk from my room to where I taught each morning was like walking past a postcard with differing views depending on the light. The amazing barges colored orange and red..stood in gorgeous stark contrast to that Bosphorus’ blue hue, sounds of the water moving through the trees just outside my window took my breath away too many times to mention. We also played a great concert at Nardis, the famed Istanbul jazz club. Marc Mommaas lead the band and featuring his compositions, and I joined the band with a couple choice standards and two originals of my own. A packed house and a gleefully vocal audience!! An intense period of deep connection to great people in a dream like location with jazz as the catalyst.
This has been a dream month for me. I can’t begin to express the deep gratitude I have for my life and music in this moment. The force of it. The BEAUTY of it!!!! What it does to people. A few months ago…I questioned the importance of music and my place within it. I couldn’t see the value as I saw it before when I decided to become a musician in the first place. I went through a period of reflection and trying to find meaning, lasting months. I live in a country that doesn’t really care about these things unless someone is successful or making a wave. New York is too hard a city to get carried away by beauty alone. How would you eat and take care of yourself? How do you show the importance of beauty in a throwaway society such as ours. I had to come away and throw myself in the deep end in places that understand what that means. To make it real, we were here because someone decided they wanted the students to have this experience, simple as that. I write this post on the flight home from Istanbul where the experience hasn’t been processed enough but I can say that I had the time of my life, connecting to friends, students, musicians and people just happy to be where we met. I come home a renewed being, having gone through some sort of metamorphosis that I can’t quite put my finger on yet…but you’ll hear it soon.
Great love and thanks to Achim Kaufmann, Tobias Delius, Tom Baeten, Nico Chientaroli, Danielle Oosterop, Renate De Rin, Wolfgang Glode, Lukas Frei, Ali Yekta Ulgen, Marc Mommaas, and Marco Chelo for contributing so much to make this month happen and unfold the way it did.
So what’s next? More music of course! Back at the 55bar on THURSDAY, APRIL 30th with cellist Marika Hughes and pianist Aruan Ortiz…playing a wide range of things. 7-9pm. No cover. . Then I’m a special guest with the ICP Orkest at Roulette on WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 alongside trombonist Ray Anderson. I love that band and it’s an honor to play with them once again! Later on in May, I head to the West Coast for a concert and workshop at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA on SATURDAY, MAY 23 and SUNDAY, MAY 24th respectively. The concert will feature fantastic Bay area musicians Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and John Finkbeiner on guitar – with special guest Steve Adams from the Rova Saxophone Quartet. The Workshop on the SUNDAY, MAY 24th is called “Improvising without Scatting” and I’m excited to share with participants all the interesting ways we can use our voices outside of the scat realm. Learn more about all of that here. Then it back to NYC, ending May 2015 at the 55BAR featuring guitarist Kenny Wessel and bassist Ratzo Harris doing a totally jazzy Early Set on THURSDAY, MAY 28th.
Ahh music…you weave a thread so deep that carries across my life. In deep gratitude for what I do and for what others allow me to bring into their lives as a musician and teacher. At this moment, I’m full and have what I need to keep going on. We’ll meet along the way.
In NYC the turn of the weather has come to us and Spring is now in the air. Just as I leave town to play some dates in Europe and later on in Turkey. I’m excited to get out on the road with Herbie Nichols SUNG – playing four dates in Holland, Belgium and Germany. Playing his music with pianist Achim Kaufmann and reedist Tobias Delius is a delight since both musicians know Nichols’ music inside and out and we’ve played once before as a group in 2013 for a buoyant crowd in Berlin, Germany. It was a great night I still think about so getting a chance to dig in even deeper feels like a great gift I’m looking forward to cashing in on! More importantly, the opportunity to perform Nichols music and expose more audiences to his amazing compositions makes me so very happy. Come catch us! Here’s where we’ll be…specifics in the GIG section of the site.
Herbie Nichols SUNG Fay Victor – voice, lyrics Achim Kaufmann – piano Tobias Delius – tenor saxophone, clarinet
The Maarten Luther Kerk
Amsterdam the Netherlands
April 10 De Singer
April 12th Novilla
After a few days off in Berlin, I’ll head to Bern, Switzerland to teach a day of masterclasses at the Bern University of the Arts! Looking forward to teaching a wonderful group of students on confidence building with their voices and more. Then its off to Istanbul, Turkey for a week of masterclasses with the New York Workshop team with Marco Chelo and Marc Mommaas at the helm. We’ll also play at the famed club Nardis in Istanbul on THURSDAY, APRIL 23rd! The New York Jazz Workshop was there last June and it was a joy – not only to teach these incredibly talented and brilliant students – but to also taken all that is beautiful about Istanbul. We should have a blast and feel even more at home than we did last year…
I’m back in NYC near the end of the month, just in time to make my 55BAR residency and this month, I’ve asked Aruan Ortiz on piano and Marika Hughes on cello to join me on THURSDAY, APRIL 30th for the Early Set at the 5’s playing some older originals and music from other sources. I’ve been interacting with both of these formidable musicians in the last couple years so this will also feel like home and not just a homecoming.
Excited to take Herbie Nichols SUNG on the road next month with the great Achim Kaufmann on piano and Tobias Delius on reeds. I’ve been performing and developing Herbie Nichols material now for over 10 years and put together a number of configurations to communicate the ideas I had for Nichols’ knotty compositions. The latest approach and bringing back piano into the fold started with meeting Achim Kaufmann in Berlin in 2012, spending a week hashing out ideas and approaches to Nichols tunes. I came back to New York and formed a group here to further develop the ideas in performance hoping to record the project and bring it out! That hasn’t happened yet and perhaps this tour will open up a few doors. Whatever happens, I’m always thrilled and honored to play Herbie Nichols’ glorious compositions and with great company. Spread the word!
Happy March Friends! The promise of Spring looms in an air of abstraction here in the NorthEastern US yet being able to say we’re in the month of March assures warm weather fairly soon. YES!
With all that said I’m wearing my warm jazz hat quite a lot this month in wonderful musical settings starting tomorrow as part of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival where I’m invited as a special guest with DC based group Ephemera and we’ll perform a double bill with RAW of Sweden on SUNDAY, MARCH 8th at the House of Sweden in DC. on SATURDAY, MARCH 7 – I’m giving a Masterclass at the Levine School of Music in DC as well. Very excited to perform in DC for the first time with this great group of musicians. Later in March, I’ll run a Masterclass much closer to home at Long Island University through the wonderful invitation of master musician himself, Sam Newsome. On the local gig front, I’m putting on another Greene Avenue Music Presents (the event in February with Tyshawn Sorey and Brandon Seabrook was a musical sensation !!!) presenting Herbie Nichols with a European aficionado of his music, Akhim Coughman and Ratzo Harris at I-BEAM in preparation for an upcoming Herbie Nichols SUNG Europe tour in April (more on that shortly), plus the 55Bar Residency this month features FV’s Blues and Standards (THURSDAY, MARCH 26th) for the Early Set with Anders Nilsson (guitar), Ratzo Harris (double bass) and Jason Nazary (drums).
If the weather itself doesn’t warm up come and wrap yourself up in some good music wherever you can find it. The last gig with the Fay Victor Ensemble at the 55 BAR found me entering an empty bar on a cold cold night to set up for the gig to having it filling up with smiling and welcoming faces bringing a warmth that went straight to the heart. Music warms from the inside out.
Yep…winter is rolling right along here in the Northeast. Where I am the cold, especially how erratic the temperatures rise and fall, have me loooonging for softer climes. It’s an endurance test for me. How long can I take this perceived injustice. It’s a luxury problem in my case (I’m warm with shelter and proper clothing) yet still looking at the question – how much can I endure or how much can we – is a good one.
Last month, Patricia Nicholson Parker invited me to put a set together for the BlackLivesMatter Festival Arts for Arts put on in the last week of January. My set turned out to be the closing set of the 8 day festival so I not only wanted a strong set, I needed to say something too. I put together a little piece buoyed by words that reflect how I feel about Black lives matter and the question of endurance factors in. Check that out here…
That concert closed out January and before that I had a great time performing Herbie Nichols’ Music at the 55BAR with Ratzo Harris and Anthony Coleman, I played at the beginning of the month with Ratzo and guitarist Kenny Wessel at the North Square Lounge in the West Village, a gig that was fun, fun, fun! Taking part in William Parker’s piece at Roulette in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a major highlight highlight last month. William Parker put together an interesting melange of musicians, actors and dancers which created a colorful tapestry of sound and substance. Finally, it was wonderful once again to be nominated the best Female Vocalist as part of the annual El Intruso annual poll. Learn more about that poll here…
Here’s WHAT’S UP in February 2015
>>>>>THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12th I’m part of Aruan Ortiz’s ensemble presenting a great work-in-progress called Inside a Rhythmic Falls up at Harlem Stage. We’re on at 7:30PM with a Q+A after the performance. I’m excited about this music + I’ll get to play with two Cuban percussionists for the first time! 7:30PM. FREE >>>>>SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14th, The ExPosed Blues DUO, going on 8 years strong presents a set as part of guitarist Anders Nilsson‘s monthlong residency at Barbes. The avenues we go down in the name of th blues are many some come and see which way we go on that day of love…Valentines Day. 6PM, ONE SET. $10 suggested donation >>>>>SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21st, I’m appearing for the first time at the hippest. swankiest jazz spot in Brooklyn, Brownstone Jazz. Nestled in the parlor floor of a Bed-Stuy brownstone this weekly jazz spot is a place to come and sit back in an intimate and soulful atmosphere. I’ll perform stands and the blues with Lafayette Harris – piano, Eric Lemon-bass and Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax-drums. This will be a funky good time. 8:00PM Start, 7PM Doors ope. Entry includes Fish Fry. >>>>>SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd, Greene Avenue Music Presents Fay Victor -Tyshawn Sorey DUO/ Fay Victor Tyshawn Sorey DUO + special guest Brandon Seabrook. Multi-instrumentalist/composer Tyshawn Sorey and I carry on our DUO explorations and invite Brandon Seabrook into the mix for the 2nd set. IBEAM, Sets 7:00 and 8:30. $15 Suggested Donation >>>>>THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26th, The Fay Victor Ensemble Returns! Playing the 55BAR and entering our 10th year as a group. Come hear our bandlike cohesion mixing old and new. I love this band. Some of my favorite music with some of my favorite people. With Anders Nilsson – guitar and Ken Filiano – double bass. Ear;y Set, 7-9PM. o Cover, 2 drink minimum.
Thanks so much for reading…hope to see you out at the shows!
Sending Love and wishes to you all for a wonderful New Year! Lots of things coming up for FV in 2015 that will unfold as the year…well..unfolds! For now, want to tell you what’s going on in the short term and again I wish you all the best!! Thanks for reading.
Here’s WHAT’S UP in January 2015
>>>>>SUNDAY, JANUARY 4th join me, Ratzo Harris and Kenny Wessel for a sumptuous Jazz Brunch at the North Square Hotel. This trio played there for the first time last July and it was a blast! Looking forward to swing the afternoon away. Sets at 12:30 and 2PM, Reservations highly recommended. >>>>>SATURDAY, JANUARY 17th, I’m part of an ensemble of William Parker’s Tone Motion Theatre piece featuring some heavy hitters such as Cooper Moore, Hamid Drake and Joe McPhee in the mix. At Roulette, 8PM. $25. >>>>>THURSDAY, JANUARY 29th, I’m back at the 55BAR with Herbie Nichols SUNG featuring Herbie Nichols wonderful compositions stretched wide open alongside Anthony Coleman (piano) and Ratzo Harris (bass). 7-9PM, NO Cover, 2 drink minimum. >>>>>FRIDAY, JANUARY 30th, Evolving Series Special Event through Arts for Arts for #BlackLivesMatter. FV Free Improv ensemble featuring Daniel Carter (reeds) and Reggie Nicholson (drums, percussion). Set time, TBA.
May 2015 be the year you’ve been waiting for in your wildest dreams and may all those dreams come true! Thanks for reading.
Yes it’s been a moment since I’ve made a post to this here website yet as the end of the year nears I wanted to take a moment to mention just one more concert for 2014.
Before that though – I want to take a moment to say thank you, thank you for all your support for this year and every other. I find it difficult to make creative music without knowing how it comes across. Putting my heart and soul into the music I make and knowing it communicates in a strong way makes me happier than hardly anything else. I need to be present in my music and I thank all of the people that help show me the way. These are times that demand strong voices. On New Years Day of this almost gone year, my husband and I went to see 12 Years a Slave, a movie we spoke about for hours afterwards, seemingly setting the tone for how this year would unfold in this country. How racism, every present in American Society would rise back up through the blatant racist policing all across this country and highlighted in incidents in Missouri, Ohio and my own city, New York. I want my voice to be stronger than ever.
Stronger than ever as a teacher. I’ve been teaching since the late 90’s yet the last few years something has changed. I just love it and get so much out of it. I see the immediate benefit of my work with students. It’s a clear and wonderful relationship and I’m running two vocal workshops on a weekly basis, which teaches me so much about my students and myself. I’m amazed to see my students grow and this year they grew tremendously. This time of years, many of my students are performing, old hat for some. For others, they are dipping their toe in the water for the first time. I’m tremendously proud of those vocalists that brave their souls to discover all this wonderment within them.
Stronger than ever to face sadness. 2014 had a number for tough losses of friends such as trumpeter and downtown scene stalwart and musician Roy Campbell, the legendary Amiri Baraka, and most recently, another downtown legend Will Connell passed away. That news, so sudden and unexpected especially since Will was full of energy and excitement, prepping for his residency at The Stone (coming up this week and now held in his honor). He was a fierce and powerful musician carrying that fire with quiet dignity and his SOUND was something to be experienced. Thankfully, I played with him a few times this past year for the first time after all these years. I put together a quartet that got to play out twice and thankfully documented by Don Mount – VoiceHornsBass included Vincent Chancey on french horn and Ken Filiano on double bass along with Will playing flute, alto and bass clarinet.
This coming week, I along with a host of great musicians and poets will descend on the Stone to pay tribute Will Connell, Jr., our great friend of the community and of the music that will be terribly missed. We miss him already. Please check the Stone website for all the details of this week’s residency. I’m part of the ensemble playing this Tuesday night, DECEMBER 23rd entitled World Peace, With or Without People: Music from the legacy of Horace Tapscott, set at 8 and 10pm. I hope many of you will join us to raise our voices in tribute and celebration.
With all that’s going crazy in the world at this moment, I’m grateful for those closest to me – friends, family and the gift of music. I wish you and yours all the best for a healthy and happy holiday season full of reflection and appreciation for what we have to be thankful for. Best wishes too for a prosperous and wondrous 2015.
Fall now is in full swing and this weekend in New York City we’re feeling it. Brisk and fresh, its definitely time to think of the indoors and get ready for the cold. Warming up with great music always helps to get through the dark and short winter days to come and we’ve only just put the clocks back.
Stepping back for second to October turned out to be a wonderful month of musical eclecticism for me. Started the month playing at I-BEAM with Jason Hwang on violin and Miya Masaoka on koto! Whoa. A joy and new discovery to make music with these instruments. We also a special guest from Indonesia Djudak Ferianto a great musician and vocalist that joined and added abundantly to the proceedings. The next great thing was VoiceHornsBass on the InGarden Series for Arts for Art with Ken Filiano (double bass), Will Connell (reeds) and Vincent Chancey (french horn). This was our 2nd meeting of improvising textures, tones and text…it was wonderful. Then what was for e a milestone – I had the opportunity to perform Sequenza III by the great Italian composer Luciano Berio, as part of an all Berio program at Columbia University through the new and exciting chamber organization, ensemble mise-en. It’s the first time I performed a solo vocal piece ever. What a thrilling experience it was. I closed out the month at the 55BAR with Marika Hughes (cello) and Sean Conly (double bass) playing older songs of mine and Jochem van Dijk – pre-FVE tunes re-cast in a different instrumentation. It was a lot of fun and great exploration with fresh approaches. I think we’ll do that again very soon….
Coming up this month, its a month chock full of DUOs and a big film Collab. I’m back at the Lexington Hotel twice in November with bassist Ratzo Harris on WEDNESDAY, November 5 and Anders Nilsson on TUESDAY, November 18th. On November 15th, I’m playing with guitarist Brandon Seabrook at new venue run in Brooklyn by Cisco Bradley called New Revolution Arts. Then on TUESDAY, November 25th, I’m past of a big group at JACK in Brooklyn performing and improvising in front of and alongside films! Finally, the day after Thanksgiving I head to Chicago to help celebrate 40 years of the great Amsterdam club the Bimhuis in a duo with famed cellist Tristan Honsinger, where we’ll play an improvised voice/cello set at Constellation. I haven’t been to Chicago since 2010, looking forward to being there for a little while.
Thanks much for reading and hope to see you out and about!