Yes…like it or not, we’re in the waning days of summer with the Fall season upon us. Here in NYC one of the things that means is that live shows go back inside. Funnily enough I have not done one outdoor show all summer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve played outside. Maybe in 2013 at the Hammer Museum in LA..that sounds about right…and the Red Hook Jazz Festival in 2013 was outdoors too.
Truthfully, I’ve been indoors a lot this summer. Made it to the beach for the first time just last week. Teaching and working on refocusing my energies and developing new projects. I write this at the end of a ‘staycation’, I took time to be home, stepping back from social media (except instagram), and people in general to regroup and reflect on what’s next and which way to go. And to get a few things DONE such as clean up the teaching page of my website. One thing I’m working on is expanding my teaching of jazz and improvisation around the world and a good clear page about that part of my life was long overdue. Take a look when you have a chance and please spread the word! (add weblink here) This month marks the return to running workshops at both the New York Jazz Workshop (just finished the annual 4-day Vocal Summit) and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music + resuming my private teaching practice full force. Then next month, I’m honored and thrilled to head to Macedonia to teach two days of master classes alongside saxophonist Marc Mommaas at the University of Skopje. Learn more about that and more teaching coming up on the road on the updated teaching page.
I’m also working on new music, mostly working on the beautiful song cycle Bay area bassist/composer Lisa Mezzacappa put together called Glorious Ravage! The song cycle alongside 4 independent films made in conduction with the music, will prier in Los Angeles on the Angel City Jazz Festival on SATURDAY, September 26, 2015 at RedCAT. the amazing 15 piece ensemble (including musicians such as Mark Dresser, Nicole Mitchell, Myra Melford, Vinny Golia and more…) heads to San Francisco to premiere Glorious Ravage on October 1st and 2nd. Lisa’s has a great website about it all – you can learn more at this link. I’m working on some of Ornette Coleman’s music, developing and working out a number of compositions to perform. Anders Nilsson and I started doing this a couple years ago, and now after a great and revelatory concert in August on the Harlem afternoon Jazz Series, playing Ornette’s music in quartet was inspiring to say the least. I want to keep this going.
Before I head back out West, I’ve got a couple shows here in NYC that I’m looking forward to! Coming up on the WhyNot Experiment Series at the WhyNot Jazz Club – I’m there doing a double bill with the marvelous Kyoko Kitamura! Kyoko’s pairing with the ever inventive dancer/choreographer Mark Lamb and later I get to pair up with guitarist Anders Nilsson (aka the ExPosed Blues DUO) for a foray into the experimental blues galaxy that exists waaaay out there. The ExPosed Blues DUO hasn’t played out in the city since the winter so we’re raring to go! What a fun night this will be…happening on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2015. Then on SEPTEMBER 18, 2015, I’m back at the Gin Fizz Lounge, one of my favorite places to play in the city. A fun loving crowd comes out that enjoy the music! We opened up the live music on Fridays at this venue and glad to be back with my Blues and Standards Group. This month at the 55BAR, guitarist Anders Nilsson will be filling in my residency slot on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2015. I’ll be back at the 55BAR on THURSDAY, October 29 with Herbie Nichols SUNG.
Finally, I’ve got to say THANK YOU to a wonderful house and time at the 55BAR on August 27th with Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone and Ken Filiano on bass. Took it to the quiet and intricate side – it was beautiful, playing mostly standards in the soundscape with so many possibilities of time, space and sound available made this music so special. Another project to keep moving forth with. Playing tunes in this way is a joy! Thanks for reading. Get all the deets all on gigs that’s coming up on the GIG calendar.
Wishing you all the best for a fruitful and positive Autumn full of music, peace and love,
Just back from San Francisco, CA playing with bassist/composer Lisa Mezzacappa at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park working out some the material for Glorious Ravage, a song cycle Lisa composed to accompany four films put together by Bay area film makers. premiering next month in Southern California before a two night run in San Francisco at the beginning of October! To learn more on that amazing project, check out Lisa’s website and even spread the word if you can.
Later this month, I run the Advanced Jazz Vocal Summit for the New York Jazz Workshop for the 6th year! The Summit lasts four days and I’ve organized a nice gig at the Lexington Hotel, smack dab in midtown on FRIDAY, AUGUST 21st to feature the vocalists from this year’s session. Very happy to provide this opportunity to the students and I’ll perform a few tunes myself. On TUESDAY, AUGUST 25th, I’m on the Harlem Jazz Series doing a program called In Praise of Ornette with Kenny Wessel (guitar), Sean Conly(double bass) and Darius Jones (alto saxophone). This is a great afternoon Jazz Series, curated by the fantastic trombonist Craig Harris. I’m so excited about this! Finally back at the 55BAR with the stupendous Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone and the ridiculous Ken Filiano on double bass on THURSDAY, AUGUST 27th for the Early Set. That will be a thrilling ride for sure..
Finally a BIG thank you to all that came to the residency birthday hang at the 55BAR on July 30th..it was beyond expectation. So much love and great spirits in that space!!! Thanks for being there with me in person and it spirit. I felt it strong. Here is a clip from the evening if you missed it.
More news in early September about the Fall and beyond…Happy Summer for now.
JOIN me friends for a special night at the 55BAR celebrating my 3rd year there of monthly gigs. The lineup is intense and you wont want to miss the fun and the MUSIC! Early Set from 7-9PM! See you there…
Summer’s begun. I’d bet most of you are on your way to doing great warm weather things. A good thing too. If you’re reading this from the North East USA then you know all too well how horrible this past winter was. And loooong. That’s all behind us now. This summer finds me just slightly less busy then the rest of the year, which is a first. My teaching practice – now booming – isn’t letting up! Later this month, my dearest and I will celebrate 18 years of married life and love, the week after that – I turn 50!! I can’t believe it myself.
One of the ways of celebrating that milestone takes place on THURSDAY, JULY 30 at the 55BAR! My residency enters its third year there and every anniversary I celebrate by inviting great friends and idols to join me a for a musical smorgasbord for a couple of hours. It’s always a great hang, it’s free and having you there make the celebration all the better. This year the special guests are: Anders Nilsson, Ras Moshe, Ken Filiano, Michael Attias, Mazz Swift, Reggie Nicholson, Cooper Moore and William Parker!
Speaking of William Parker, just a couple days ago a joined a small chorus for his piece at the Vision Festival XX that was a blast. And as I write today – SUNDAY, JULY 12th – I’ll be at Barbes with the wonderful musician and singer Jeremiah Lockwood going deep into the blues at 5PM.
Early in August (FRIDAY, AUGUST 7th), I head out to the West Coast, playing with Lisa Mezzacappa at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park working out some the material for Glorious Ravage – being more formally presented in September/October. To learn more on that amazing project, check out Lisa’s website and even spread the word if you can. Later in August, I run the Advanced Jazz Vocal Summit for the New York Jazz Workshop. The Summit lasts 4 days and I’ve organized a nice gig at the Lexington Hotel, smack dab in midtown on FRIDAY, AUGUST 21st to feature the vocalists from this year’s session. Very happy to provide this opportunity to the students. On TUESDAY, AUGUST 25th, I’m on the Harlem Jazz Series doing a program called In Praise of Ornette with Kenny Wessel, Sean Conly and Darius Jones. This is a great afternoon Jazz Series, curated by the great trombonist Craig Harris. I’m so excited about this! Back at the 55BAR on THURSDAY, AUGUST 27th for the Early Set and the line-up soon come. Details on all the shows mentioned are in the GIG section of the site.
In other great, great news – I’m honored to be a part of a newly released book, entitled “Giving Birth to Sound: Creative Women in Music”, edited by William Parker and Renate De Rin and published by buddy’s knife. I got my copy a couple nights ago and I’m inspired by all the thoughts these powerful and creative women have on the process of making music. How music impacts our lives. Pick up a copy and learn more here.
I’ll be back with a proper post come September so until then – have a great summer!! Thanks for reading and maybe, just maybe – I’ll see you out there.
May is just about a closed door and June is reaching out with open…and warm… arms
Just back from California after performing a wonderful concert with Lisa Mezzacappa, John Finkbeiner and auspicious guest reedist Steve Adams (of the ROVA Saxophone quartet) at the California Jazz Conservatory…following up the concert with a workshop the next day called Improvising without Scatting. That turned out to be something of a revelation. I had a vibrant and expressive class that gave me a clear view on the effectiveness of the things we tried. The students were pleased. I was pleased that some germinating ideas had come to fruition. I look forward to teaching more of these workshops and expanding the idea of improvisation for vocalists.
I got home just in time to close out the month with the 55 Bar residency taking it all the way jazz, playing standards with bassist Ratzo Harris and guitarist Kenny Wessel. We had a great time swinging the great American Songbook in our way the perfect way to come home. Now coming up a happening month of happenings – check the Performance section for details but shortly, here’s what’s coming up!
June opens up with a special set of the Fay Victor Ensemble at Korzo, part of the Konceptions Music Series for the 10:30PM Set on TUESDAY, JUNE 2 with Anders Nilsson and Ken Filiano! We are celebrating 10 years this year as a group and it’s always a ball and a joy to make music together. I hope you’ll join us for this special presentation! WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 doing a private party as part of the annual Art OMI fundraiser with Anders Nillson, Ursel Schlict and Jamie Baum.SATURDAY, JUNE 6 I’m part of a triple bill put on by killing free jazz drummer William Hooker atFunkadelic Studios. My set is with the great and esteemed William Parker on Bass! Woo…very excited about this happening. The next day, I head up to Hartford, CT to perform with a crew of amazing musicians to part of the grande season finale of the Improvisation Series held at RealArtWays, put on by Joe Morris and Stephan Haynes. A crew of 15 musicians improvising as a group and in smaller settings will make for a thrilling afternoon on SUNDAY, JUNE 7th. Back in NYC, join me and my Blues & Standards group at the Gin Fizz Lounge on FRIDAY, JUNE 19th where we’ll be swinging and smoking the night away…this is a fun dress up hang too. Closing out June at the 55BAR on THURSDAY, JUNE 25th will be Anders Nilsson and Sean Conly + a special guest.
In between all this…I’ll presenting two student concerts this month. The first is part of the New York Jazz Workshop afternoon of workshop performances on SUNDAY, JUNE 14th at Small’s Jazz Club starting at 12:00NOON and ending with the Advanced Vocal Class at 5:30PM. The second presentation for theBrooklyn Conservatory of Music Jazz Workshop at the Brooklyn Conservatory Main Stage on TUESDAY, JUNE 16 2015 from 7:30-9:30PM. These events are FREE and open to the Public. I do hope you will join me at one of the shows this month!
This is month where everything tapers off for the summer. I’m looking forward to a great summer full of plans as well as open spaces to play and explore. How about you? Any great plans coming your way? Have a great summer no matter what you do. Looking forward to seeing at the shows and/or around town!
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.