New Album OUT! ReDDeer: New York-St. Johann on Evil Rabbit Records

New York – St. Johann out NOW on Evil Rabbit Records

Friends!  A new release of original improvised music over 2 concerts is OUT with my ReDDeer Trio made of pianist Elisabeth Harnik from Austria and Dominic Lash from the UK.  We all met at the MusicOMI artist residency back in 2010 and have kept the trio going, performing when we can since then. With the release of New York-St. Johann , we’re working on more performances in the future.

Check it out and pick up a copy!

BARE: How the Blues caught me by the jugular and never let go

Dear Friends!!

On the last day of this August month, Anders Nilsson and myself (as the ExPosed Blues Duo) release our debut recording, BARE, on Greene Avenue Music.  I’m so excited about this project being released and we’re looking forward to hearing the feedback that’s bound to come – one way or the other.  Preparing for the release also bought me back in touch with why I love the blues so much and how that came to be.  I’d like to share some of that with you…

A couple years after I moved to The Netherlands in the 90’s, I got asked to sub for an American soul singer at a festival in Cologne, Germany. We performed a mishmash set including jazz standards, blues, R&B and soul tunes we threw together to make the show. When the set was finished, a guitarist came up to me and asked if I’d ever performed blues before and if I’d be interested in performing a complete blues gig at a monthly series he fronted the house band for in Muenster, Germany. I told him I knew a couple blues tunes but was certainly no blues singer and doing a gig like that was out of my league. He said he thought I could become a great blues singer and it’s worth a try. What did I have to lose he said. On a Monday night, decently paid, room, board and travel thrown in. I agreed to give it a shot.

For the show in Muenster, a great German college town about 3 hours from Amsterdam, I pulled together a set of tunes based on the few bluesI knew and some jazzy-blues numbers by Stanley Turrentine and that ilk. When the Theater Café filled to capacity that night, it was no time to be tentative. I did the best I could and surprisingly folks really enjoyed it. Now, I figured one-half of the reason they liked it so much is because I looked the part.  Being African-American gives me all sorts of rights to sing this music, despite the fact that in that moment, I knew almost nothing about it.

You see, the truth of the matter is when I started out and heard the blues sung by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Bessie Smith,I thought that was the real thing – or should I say the only thing. I learned some blues when I started performing because that’s what I was told to do plus they were ‘fun’ and ‘crowd-pleasing’ as opposed to a serious ballad or navigating a bebop tune. A jazz vocalist’s repertoire is incomplete without blues in the repertoire, just as it would be if one sang no bossa novas.

So this opportunity in Germany to put the blues out front made me look at that music differently for the first time. I began to see that it was an art in and of itself. Much older than jazz, simpler, clearer in expression, individual, ornery, dirty. I began to listen to Robert Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Blind Lemmon Jefferson, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Lonnie Johnson, Elmer Snowden, Skip James, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Charles Brown and so much more. That band leader in Muenster asked me to front his band, which I did for three years as well as work with other blues groups in Germany. At the same time, I began to appreciate and know how much the blues profoundly influenced the best part the soul and R&B music I loved and grew up with.

Gigging with the blues and the study that happened alongside it laid the foundation for a journey of learning to express myself through this substantial medium and I ‘got’ it early on that it’s not a music to hide behind.  It’s a music to deepen my understanding of myself because it won’t tolerate a facade.  At least it didn’t for me. And all those gigs (100’s) performing this music made it clearer still. The blues has helped me be a more colorful and storytelling vocalist and deeply informs the compositions Jochem and I write.  It’s a fundamental part of my expression.

So why a blues record now?

In 2007, I was asked to perform a blues-based program at the WinterNights Jazz Festival in Marseille, France. Myself and Fay Victor Ensemble guitarist Anders Nilsson came up with an approach and used some material I performed when I lived in Europe, added new tunes and re-wrote the script for that event. We thought we’d open up the forms and tunes, leaving BARE the possibility for free improvisation to emerge, just like those singular Delta blues guitarists, we said. It worked, the audience told us. It felt good to connect with an audience that way again! So we went on to develop what started in Marseille and formed the ExPosed Blues Duo, melding blues forms and free improvisation.  As we gigged around town, the music got more organic, pure, languid and visceral. We felt that some strong music may come out of this. Let’s record this happening and take it from there.

Here we are.


More info:
Greene Ave Music
Improvised Communications
Media Contact: Scott Menhinick

BARE is available for download at CDBABY and I-Tunes.
The Street date for the physical CD is August 31, 2010



Year-END Kudos For the FreeSong Suite!!


Dear Friends,

It’s with deep gratitude and a little shock that I share with you the great news of the Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite making NINE year end lists as of this writing! This all-original program of songs, improvisation and the spaces between seems to have hit a chord in the big, big world out there and I just want to say A Big Thank YOU!

Here’s where we are:

>>The Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll 2009 – 4th in the Best Vocalist Category

>>Jason Crane’s Top 10 of 2009 – The FreeSong Suite was Jason’s TOP Pick for the Year

>>NPR Jazz: 10 Great Moments from Jazz Recordings in 2009

>> The Best Jazz of 2009

>>AllAboutJazz-NewYork’s Best of 2009 – Best Vocal Releases/January 2010 Issue

>>Elzy Kolb: A Few Of My Favorite Things 2009

>>Laurence Donohue-Greene’s Top 10+ of 2009

>>CKUT Jazz Director’s Top 20 list

>>Délire Actuel 2009 Demanding Music Top 30

Purchase The FreeSong Suite

FVE_Cover A small update on some info on how The FreeSong Suite is doing and how to purchase your own copy!  Thanks for reading.

Purchase The FreeSong Suite:

itunes    downtownmusicgallery

or send a message through the website



**Currently #11 on the CMJ Jazz Charts
**Recommended New Release in September issue of All About Jazz – New York

What the press are saying:
“A jazz singer who makes her notes slow, wide and meaningful—she often sounds like an evening-out of Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln—Fay Victor uses a great and simple concept on The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)…a studio recording organized like a live set. This means the band flows from one song into another, without knowing where it’s going next…these songs have distinct melodic character: fascinating ballads with Anders Nilsson’s country-bluesy guitar soloing, drum chants, some careful free improvising.”
Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“From free improv to the blues to alt-rock and back again, The FreeSong Suite is easily one of my top 10 records of 2009.”
Jason Crane, The Jazz Session

“Victor scats, vocalizes, chips, mumbles and sings bluesy chromatics or angular displays of dexterity, delivering the unexpected with beauty, depth and innovation.”
Wilbur MacKenzie, All About Jazz-New York

The FreeSong Suite, peers into the NYC-based vocalist’s challenging and rewarding world of captivating vocal work and stirring spontaneity.”
Andrew Zender,



“Victor has the chops, the phrasing, the band and the courage to make contemporary music that references contemporary culture and materials that range from Carter to Berberian to Sun Ra to Hendrix. This is sheer, unadulterated brilliance. Buy it!”
Nilan Perera,, Canada’s Music Authority

FV on Jason Crane’s The Jazz Session – # 95

The_Jazz_sessionDear Friends…

Interview on the Jazz Session with Jason Crane is up!

Please check it out and pass on your feedback too…thanks for listening if you do.

The New York Times has reviewed the FreeSong Suite!

Ben Ratliff inclIn the Stoneuded The FreeSong Suite in Sunday’s Playlist in the New York Times!  I am thrilled and grateful…

“A jazz singer who makes her notes slow, wide and meaningful — she often sounds like an evening-out of Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln — Fay Victor uses a great and simple concept on “The FreeSong Suite” (Greene Avenue Music).”
Read more here:

The FreeSong Suite Released Today


So excited about the release of the FreeSong Suite and to presenting to the world the evolution of the Fay Victor Ensemble and our approach to creative vocal music that we think is as accessible as it is challenging.  Legendary and eminent guitarist Gary Lucas wrote the liner notes and mentions that the record is “…hypnotic in its flow, every song in the three sections of the suite a masterpiece of compressed story-telling…”

We will celebrate the release on the first day of October at Roulette in New York and on Sunday, October 4th at the Rotunda in Philadelphia.

The Fay Victor Ensemble is:
FV-voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson-guitar, effects
Ken Filiano-bass, effects
Michael ‘TA’ Thompson-drums

Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”

Roulette 20 Greene Street
(between Canal and Grand Streets)
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15 Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30 & Seniors: $10
Roulette members / Location One members: FREE.

Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”

5:00PM – One Set Only
The Rotunda 4012 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: (215) 573-3234

The FreeSong Suite is a recommended New Release in AAJ-NY
-Laurence Donahue-Greene, Managing Editor
September 2009 AAJ-NY

Purchase a copy or download a tune at
Downtown Music Gallery

Upcoming Performances

A couple performances coming up…one historical and one nice and local but with an added foreign flavor.  I’ve also added a few early reviews of The FreeSong Suite which comes out next week Tuesday!   And our CD release is on October 1st at Roulette…(


A site specific work at the DIA:BEACON
“Stuyvesant Reluctant”
Pocket Oratorio for 3 voices and cello
Kyoko Kitamura
Yoon Sun Choi
Fay Victor
Tomas Ulrich


55 Bar

7:00-9:00PM/Early Set
No cover, 1 drink minimum
Twisted Standards and Free Explorations

Hilliard Greene – double bass
Dom Minasi – guitar
with special guest Oleg Kireyev – tenor & soprano sax

Save the date and please join us on…


Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”
Roulette 20 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15 Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30 & Seniors: $10
Roulette members / Location One members: FREE.