“A vocalist suited to stand up against any horn”
-Kurt Gottschalk, AllAboutJazz-NY
In command, infectious, energetic and strong, Fay Victor hypnotizes audiences, whether singing a blues, sculpting a free piece, reinventing a Herbie Nichols tune with her own lyrics, or effortlessly improvising over the harmonies of a jazz standard or her own material. Victor’s lyrics speak of universal themes in story-driven ways, running the full gamut of human emotion in an original mix of traditional song forms and free improvisation – or “FreeSong” – that has become Victor’s trademark approach to improvised vocal music. The trademark transcends Victor’s own original music to include her valued contribution to esteemed ensembles featuring her unique vocal abilities, so unique in fact, that the ensembles Victor are now featured in, rarely, if ever, have vocalists in them.
Other Dimensions in Music (ODIM), the perennial free jazz outfit now going on 40 years of existence(with trumpeter Roy Campbell, reedist Daniel Carter, bassist William Parker and drummer Charles Downs) joined forces with Victor for last year’s critically acclaimed Silkheart release, Kaiso Stories (which Victor also produced) that was lauded for its unique fusion of Calypso and free jazz as well as the original synthesis of Victor’s vocal approach with the groups’ dynamic range of expression. In another rare turn for a vocalist, Victor’s been featured with the Misha Mengelberg/Han Bennink outfit the Instant Composer’s Pool Orkest, touring with the Dutch group in 2010 and appearing with them during their 3-day run in Philadelphia last year while on their US tour. In addition, Victor is one of the vocalists in Anthony Braxton’s Tr-Centric Orchestra, featured on Trillium E (New Braxton Records 2011) and the performance of Trillium J during the four-day Braxtonian Festival held in October 2011 at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY as well as being part of Dutch reedist Ab Baars’ 20 year celebration of his trio called “The Invisible Blow” as a special guest, with all original music written for the project and for Victor’s voice.
-Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
Victor’s own projects, starting with the flagship Fay Victor Ensemble, the voice-guitar-bass-drums quartet performing an expansive and cohesive mix of jazz, rock, blues, new music and free improvisation, focused solely on an all original program, written by Victor and collaborator Jochem Van Dijk. The group’s current release, The FreeSong Suite received tremendous attention for an all-original program and an avant-garde vocal project and featured prominently on year end lists including being Jason Crane’s the host of The Jazz Session’s TOP Pick for 2009. The record also took 4th Place in the Jazz Vocal Category of the 2009 Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll and a spot on the 2009 best of lists in AllAboutJazz-New York, NPR and Popmatters.com amongst others. This recognition has gone on to get Ms. Victor nominated on Downbeat Magazine’s Annual Jazz Critics Poll for the first time in 2010 (and again in 2011).
Victor also collaborates with FVE guitarist Anders Nilsson in The Exposed Blues Duo, fusing true blues and blues based music with free jazz and suite-like shapes. The duo’s debut release, BARE, was released in August 2010 and received accolades from The New York Times and Time Out New York. BARElanded 10th in the Vocal Category of the 2010 Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll(legendary journalist David Fricke picked it as his Vocal pick for the year for the Poll) and was selected one of the Best Vocal Releases for 2010 in AllaboutJazz-New York.
With her active groups or as a featured guest, Victor has performed extensively, appearing at venues/ festivals such as BAMCafeLive, The Stone, Roulette/Location One, The Bimhuis (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Poklad (Gdynia, Poland), Galapagos Art Space, Barbes, CBGB’s, The Vision Festival Series, Koln MusikTrienniale, FireHouse 12, ArtActs Festival, Cornelia Street Café, Issue Project Room, Tonic, 55 Bar, The Vision Festival, The Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival and the River to River Festival. Outside the USA, Victor’s international appearances are extensive, having performed in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Andorra, Mexico, India, Canada, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, Russia, Japan and the USA. She has collaborated with musicians such Misha Mengelberg, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Gary Lucas, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Dave Burell, Han Bennink, Steve Coleman, Roswell Rudd, Tim Daisy, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Achim Kaufmann, Vijay Iyer, reedist Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Connie Crothers, Tyshawn Sorey, Matana Roberts, Jen Shyu, Darius Jones, Hamid Drake, John Hebert, Wilbert de Joode, Wolter Wierbos, Anton Goudsmit, Michael Vatcher, Curtis Clark , the ICP Orkest, Other Dimensions in Music, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Currently Victor is developing new music for the Fay Victor Ensemble, preparing for their third recorded outing as well as a vocal project around the compositions of unsung pianist Herbie Nichols. For complete and up-to-date information on Victor’s discography, performances and more, please visit www.fayvictor.com
“Fay Victor has a rich, commanding voice that’s matched by a sense of adventure, like Betty Carter if that late singer hung around the current Downtown New York scene.”
-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader-April 2010