Happy Holidays + One Last Show!

Some Holiday cheer from my nabe in Brooklyn, NY
Some Holiday cheer from my nabe in Brooklyn, NY

Greetings and Happy Holidays to you all.

This has certainly been a trying year, yet I aim to end 2016 and move into 2017 with as much light and love I can muster.  I saw myself begin to shrink in some ways after November 8th, fearful of what may befall me and my friends, colleagues and family.  As a person of color, it’s hard not to be painfully aware that we’re in a time space of inspired separation and no matter what side of the divide you stand – less of us feels safe.

But this  h e a v y  feelings has lifted, I see random acts of kindness all around me.  I see many trying to cling firmly to their goodness, doing what they can to be a positive force.  So I wish you all the very best wishes for the season and for the future.  We can only look up and we’ll find the good way to make it through.

If you’re in New York City around the holidays and want a nice and sultry thing to do, join me for my last gig of the  year at the 55BAR!

SoloTogether HER
Mazz Swift – violin, voice, compositions
Marika Hughes – cello, voice, compositions
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
the 55BAR, 7-9PM
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29 2016
No Cover, Two Drink minimum
donations accepted

I’m always excited to play at the 5’s and this is a special occasion indeed. Best wishes to you for a safe, fun and happy holiday season if we don’t meet until 2017.  I’ll be back around the New Year to say hi!

Till then,
Fay

Taken  at the Red Poppy House in San Francisco, CA
Taken at the Red Poppy House in San Francisco, CA

Creative Improvisation Workshop – Feb/Mar 2017

Greetings Friends,

A special message to share with you.
I’ve been improvising with my voice for over 15 years, and there is much to say and share about the process of using a vocal instrument within the realm of myriad improvisational situations and how to develop the language and technique to do so.
The idea for a workshop at the California Jazz Conservatory(CJC) in 2015 focused on Creative Improvisation was suggested by voalist and Vocal Chair at CJC Laurie Antonioli suggested the idea of sharing with vocalists what I do. I took this opportunity to develop a curriculum to do just that.  The sold-out workshop laid the ground work for the upcoming course. Since then I’ve done Creative Improvisation workshops at the CJC once more, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Bern, Switzerland and Montreal, Canada, tweaking the ideas along the way.  I am thrilled and excited to present the Improvising Beyond Scat: Creative Improvisation Workshop, in New York City for the first time. Please take a moment to read the flyer below.  Get in touch and spread the word!

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Thank you for reading,
Fay

November NEWS 2016 or let’s not fall off that cliff…

A weeping willow has the mood of myself and so many going into this Election Day. Melancholic beauty.
A weeping willow has the mood of myself and so many going into this Election Day. Melancholic beauty.

Making this post on Election Day 2016.

This may be the last post I make in a world that I know. I hope it isn’t so.

Greetings from Troy, NY where I’m appearing in a movie conceived and filmed by an amazing artist named Martine Syms. An incredible young artist you NEED to check out. The distraction is intoxicating and welcoming. Irregardless of how it goes I hope we all find a way to heal the wounds that this election has kicked up. Whatever side of the aisle you’re on, you can’t think that hatred is healing or positive. I’m wishing us all good luck for an outcome we can live with. Love, art, and music will still be here and we will need it more than ever!

Here’s what’s up this month…

MON-FRI November 7-11 2016
EMPAC
w. Martine Syms
AN EVENING WITH QUEEN WHITE
feature length film
Presenting in London, England and MOMA, NYC in 2017

SATURDAY, ​November 12 2016
IN PRAISE OF ORNETTE
Sound it Out Series at the Greenwich House
presenting an all Ornette ​Coleman ​
program with passion.
Darius Jones – alto saxophone
Kenny Wessel – electric guitar
Sean Conly – double bass
8pm
$12

​SUNDAY,​ November 13 2016
SPLINTERS AND SHARDS
Part of Marty Ehrlich’s week at the Stone
Marty Ehrlich – reeds, compositions
Angelica Sanchez​ ​- piano
Kate Gentile​ – drums
8pm​
$20
www.thestonenyc.com

SATURDAY​,​ November 19 2016
ROSWELL RUDD 81st BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Roswell Rudd – trombone
​Lafayette Harris Jr – piano
Ken Filiano – double bass
Live at the Falcon
7PM

Thanks for reading friends and see you on the other side.  Onward!

Fay

A sneak peek of the character I'm portraying this week.  Exciting project!
A sneak peek of the character I’m portraying this week. Exciting project!

October 2016 News and Views

Greetings friends,

Deep into a busy Fall season with wonderful things happening.  Here’s hoping all is wonderful in your world. And perhaps I’ll see you at one of the happenings coming up.Just a recap about September before going forward…it was chock full of exciting performances and important lessons!  Recorded a beautiful project with the legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd and with trumpeter composer Wadada Leo Smith on his Oratorio for Rosa Parks, which we also performed on the FONT Festival. I also spent an incredible weekend in Montreal performing a few concerts and running a Creative Improvisation Workshop. Great audiences, a full workshop and many magical moments and many thanks to my great host Geraldine Eguiluz who made the trip North possible.

A recap of September 2016
A recap of September 2016

September ended as most months in my musical world do – at the 55 BAR in the West Village of NYC performing with saxophonist Darius Jones and cellist Marika Hughes with Old Songs, New Skin – pre-FVE compositions of mine and hubby Jochem van Dijk.  New Skins indeed.  We worked out some interesting approaches that we performed on Thursday and WOW.  Song transformation!

October details of wonderfulness coming up below:

**FRIDAY, October 7 2016
Standard Explorations

FV – voice
Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone
Aruan Ortiz – piano
Ken Filiano – double bass
2 sets. 7 and 8PM
$15 suggested donation
Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church

59 West 137th Street, NY NY

**SUNDAY, October 9 2016
 Arts for Art: InGarden Series
FV – voice
Sam Newsome – soprano sax
William Parker – double bass
See entire schedule HERE
4:45PM – ONE Set Only
at
First Street Green
An Un-Columbus Celebration
33 E. First Street, near 2nd Ave

**SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
EVIDENCE: the baldwin suite
by William Hooker
St Peter’s Church
8:00 pm.
The Saint Peter’s Church
Lexington Av and 53rd St, New York, NY –
Admission : $20.00
seniors and students $12.00

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**SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23
w/Jd Walter at SMALL’s
The Cutting Sessions
www.smallslive.com
183 West 10th Street
New York City, New York
10014 USA

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27
the 55 BAR RESIDENCY:
w Lisa Mezzacappa (double bass) & Michael Attias ( reeds)
7-9PM
www.55bar.com
No Cover, 2 drink Minimum

This Autumn in New York is almost perfect weather wise.  The bombing in the middle of September rattled but didn’t shake us New Yorkers.  Barely anyone has mentioned it since.  Once of the things I love about living here.  We live with too many different beautiful people to know that you can’t generalize about anyone.  You’ve got to take people as they come.  So we’re OK. But my antennae is up. We’re one month shy of electing a new President to this nation.  I want to ask you all to vote.  This election more than ever, this maybe one of the most important elections ever. Make your voices heard.  Thank you for reading.

Fay

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September 2016 and more. Happy Autumn!

Greetings to you all,

Summer is just about over as the Autumn season beckons, in fact it’s already begun. Folks headed back to school are already there and the warm weather in NYC can’t change the angle of the new light, how it sets on the horizon. How the hues are changing as the earth’s axis starts to pivot away from the sun on our hemisphere. I see it in the news cycle. A presidential election is also on horizon…long a-coming. Feels this world may be transformed by the result. As I write this the night before the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in my city, I cant help but think how that fateful day and loss of dear life planted the seeds for where we are now. Now feels like another fateful moment, period, era. I’m slightly anxious yet hopeful that we’ll wake up on the first Wednesday in November breathing a sigh of relief. A collective sigh..

roswell-recording

So as this season unfolds, I want to share with you the amazing projects and shows I’m honored to be a part of. In fact I’ve already dove into the season working 3 days right at the beginning of this month on a new project with the great trombonist Roswell Rudd. We spent 2 days in the studio with a day off in between up near the beginnings of the Catskill Mountains. It was a beautiful and powerful few days connecting with Roswell, bassist Ken Filiano and pianist Lafayette Harris, Jr. The air, good country walks and long meals and conversations added that extra magic to the music we laid down. This is also my first album performing standards in about 15 years. So I’m very excited for everyone to hear it when it’s released in 2017 on Rare Noise records. Now back in NYC, I start off my performing schedule doing a jazz brunch this SUNDAY, September 11, 2016. I do these so rare and only at the North Square. Maybe see you there or any of the other options this season.  Looking forward and thanks for reading.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2016
North Square
103 Waverly Pl. @ Macdougal
www.northsquareny.com
FV – voice
Kenny Wessel – guitar
Ratzo Harris – double bass
Sets:  12:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Ask to be seated in the music room
No cover or minimum

FRIDAY – SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16-18 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada!
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16

Fay Victor with the Montréal Quintet
Resonance Café
featuring
Craig Pedersen/trumpet
Lori Freedman/clarinets
Guillaume Dostaler/piano
Nicolas Caloïa/contrebasse
http://www.resonancecafe.com/
5175a av. du parc
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
Creative Improvising Workshop-rehearsal + Concert
Cafe Obscura
1801 Rue Latreille, Montreal
http://casaobscura.org/
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Fay Victor with Nigredo’do
la passe
1214 de la Montagne, Montreal, Canada
http://lapasse.org/
Nigredo’ ro
Geraldine Eguiluz: voix, guitare, trompette, perc
Jean René: violon alto
Rainer Wiens: kalimbas, guitare préparée
Saeed Kamjoo:kamancheh, gheychak
Stéphane Diamantakiou: contrebasse

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
I join a 12 piece ensemble of the great Wadada Leo Smith to perform on the FONT Festival
at the New School in New York City.
Premiere of Wadada Leo Smith’s Rosa Parks – Oratorio, 6 Songs with Video
performed by a 12-piece ensemble
FONT Festival of New Trumpet Music 2016
The New School – The Auditorium Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
66 West 12th Street New York, NY 10011
7:00 pm

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Old Songs, New Skin
FV – voice, compositions
Darius Jones – alto saxophone
Marika Hughes – cello
55BAR
55 Christopher Street
www.55bar.com
No Cover, 2 drink minimum

scuplture

The Rest of FALL 2016 (as of this writing)

FRI October 7>>>>>Harlem Jazz Series with Sam Newsome, Aruan Ortiz and Ken Filiano

SUN October 9>>>>>InGardens w Sam Newsome and William Parker

SAT October 15>>>>>EVIDENCE:a Baldwin Suite, a piece by William Hooker at St. Peter’s Church

SUN October 23>>>>>Duets with JD Walter at Small’s

THURS October 27>>>>>55 Bar with Lisa Mezzacappa (from the Bay Area!) and more

SAT November 12>>>>>IN PRAISE OF ORNETTE at the Greenwich House

SUN November 13>>>>>w Marty Ehrlich’s trio at the Stone

SAT November 19>>>>>The Falcon in Marlboro, NY with the Roswell Rudd Quartet

THURS December 29>>>>>with Marika Hughes and Mazz Swift at the 55Bar

Mid Summer News…

Metarie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA
Metarie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA

Friends!

Here’s to hoping you are all on a beach somewhere soaking up the sunshine as you read this post…summer is still roaring on.  I am not on a beach as I write this but no complaining for me.  Summer has been a blast so far…

This past July I spent 10 days in the great city of New Orleans absorbing the heat and the music. The heat was OK to deal with there, felt good even.  Back in NYC with a heatwave that didn’t keep the good vibes down for my Annual Birthday Hang at the 55BAR on Thursday, July 28th.  Wow! The music, the musicians, the cake, the audience – everything – was incredible and soul nourishing.  Thanks to those that were there for making it so much more special! check out a sound clip below of some of the celebration.

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Snapshots of FV’s Birthday Hang at the 55BAR on July 28th. A great evening of great sounds and people.

This month I start things off with the Annual Advanced Vocal Summit for the New York Jazz Workshop.  This will be my 7th time running the SOLD OUT 4-day workshop +++ we’ll have a concert featuring all the vocalists on SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 from 5-8PM at the Lexington Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. A great opportunity to catch an  international group of vocalists on their way up and with a kickass team of Janice Friedman on piano and Kevin Hailey on double bass to accompany us all.

The rest of the month shapes up nicely as well!

>>Wednesday, AUGUST 17 2016 with Joe Morris, William Parker, Hamid Drake and Gerald Cleaver at the Stone. 10PM. !!!! Part of Joe Morris’ week long residency

>>Thursday, AUGUST 18 2016 with Tomas Fujiwara and Ben Gerstein at Manhattan Inn.  SPYing Series curated by Jamie Breezy Branch and Brandon Lopez. 11 PM

>>Thursday, AUGUST 25 2016 with Marvin Sewell and Sean Conly at the 55BAR. FV Monthly Residency. 7-9PM.  No Cover

>>Wednesday AUGUST 31 and Friday, SEPTEMBER 2 – recording with Roswell Rudd, Lafayette Harris and Ken Filiano.  Kerhonksen, NY. Rescheduled from August 3 and 6, 2016.

Thanks for reading…more goodness coming for Fall 2016.  Will make a fresh post at the end of the month. Enjoy the rest of summer!
Fay

Joe Morris and FV at the Fridman Gallery in NYC after thier DUO performance on Matana Roberts' I CALL AMERICA Exhibit on July 7, 2016
Joe Morris and FV at the Fridman Gallery in NYC after their DUO performance on Matana Roberts’ I CALL AMERICA Exhibit on July 7, 2016

 

what’s up in July 2016

fridman galleryFriends,

Hope your summer is off to a healthy and fun start!

Keeping  it brief and here’s what’s coming up if you’re around town this July and want to check out some music.  I’m doing a few wonderful things including my annual birthday hang at the 55 BAR on July 28th 2016!

Matana Roberts & Guests: “I Call America” Art Exhibit & Concert Series
Concert series, part 2, July 2016, doors at 7:30 p.m., music from 8 p.m.
Tickets www.fridmangallery.com/#!bookstore/c1xm4, or $10 at the door.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2016>>>>>>8PM
Fay Victor – voice, texts
Joe Morris – guitar

Fridman Gallery is pleased to present the first solo gallery exhibition by the renowned cross-disciplinary artist and experimental composer Matana Roberts, who spent most of 2015 in residency at the Whitney Museum of American Art, creating both visual work and musical compositions, responding to the Whitney’s new building and its inaugural exhibition, “America is Hard to See.” The residency culminated in a one-night installation and orchestral performance on December 31st, aptly titled “red, white and blues,” which questioned, in Roberts’s words, “the perplexities of what it means to be American in the twenty-first century.” It’s an honor to be included in the musical line-up which also included, Mary Halvorsen, Henry Grimes and Liberty Ellman. It’s is an incredible honor to perform duo for the first time with the formidable and incredible Joe Morris.

BARBES Residency with Jeremiah Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood is a wonderful guitarist and singer and bandleader that has relocated to the West Coast.  I was part of a soundtrack project he put together a few years ago and that was intense and fun.  We’ve also worked together on an Anthony Braxton Opera, Trillium J. Last year, he reached out for us to play as a duo on his yearly Barbes Residency last July and that was a hoot.  truly.  So glad he asked again and that’s happening next Saturday, July 9th at Barbes. Featuring Americana, the Blues and Gospel.

SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2016>>>>>>6PM
Fay Victor – voice
Jeremiah Lockwood – guitar
Barbes
376 Ninth Street
Brooklyn, NY  11217

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2016>>>>>>7PM
55BAR
55 Christoper StreetResidency & Birthday Celebration!!
Line up to be confirmed soon….

Here’s a small sample of last years proceedings…see you out there and thanks for reading!!

My featured piece of jewelry this week : –gold slugs by Custom Gold Grillz (see more info by following the link to their website)-

What more is there to say?
What more is there to say?

 

 

March 2016 News!!

Herbie Nichols SUNG at the LOFT, Cologne, Germany
Herbie Nichols SUNG at the LOFT, Cologne, Germany

Greetings!

Just back from a small tour in Europe, playing at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the Loft in Cologne, Germany, performing and recording the glorious music of pianist/composer Herbie Nichols.  Myself alongside stellar band mates Achim Kaufmann on piano and Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone and clarinet opened up Nichols’ compositions in thrilling ways  I’m just started listening back to the roughs – I am very excited with what we have and sharing it with you all will be part of my work this year.  More on all that soon!

Besides the live concert recordings, I also ran a full masterclass in Antwerp, Belgium at the Royal Conservatory as well plus an improvisation workshop in Amsterdam!   Look out for 2017 when I’ll be back in Europe teaching once more. You all know I love teaching…the more I get to do it, the happier I am.

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That keeps going in March. I’m off to spend two days at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (MARCH 22nd + 23rd) with the great musician and professor himself, Marty Ehrlich. I’ll hang with the students in his class focusing on Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk compositions. The following day I’ll host a talk on my music, artistic perspective and validation of artistic ideas. Before that I’m super honored and looking forward to SATURDAY, MARCH 12th, I’ve been asked to join a panel with two esteemed African American female scholars, Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffith and Dr. Courtney Bryant.  We’ll share and speak with inquiring youth in HighBridge Voices in the Bronx on Women of Color in this music through the invitation of Paul Harding.

And for the gig this month! I’ll be joining the Washington Women in Jazz Festival once again as a special guest performing at the Hill Center in Washington, DC on WEDNESDAY, March 16th. FRIDAY March 18th I’m back at the Gin Fizz Lounge with…wait for it….Marvin Sewell, Sean Conly and Reggie Nicholson bringing the soulful moves and grooves to that happening lounge. On THURSDAY March 31st, back at the 55 Bar with ‘In Praise of Ornette’ featuring Darius Jones, Kenny Wessel and Sean Conly focused on Ornette Coleman compositions and closing out March 2016 just before heading West…Thanks for reading and supporting live and recorded music!

May blessings and music abound in joy like Spring,

Fay

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an amazing day and a fun #selfie at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium!

C O M I N G  U P!
April 1st 2016: SOLO Her w Marika Hughes, Mazz Swift and FV
Red Poppy House, San Francisco, CA
April 2nd, 2016: New Blues Views (celebrating jazz appreciation month)
w/ Marika Hughes, Darren Johnston, Lisa Mezzacappa and FV
California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, CA
April 3rd, 2016: Vocal improvisation without scatting Workshop
California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley, CA
May 14, 2016: Tyshawn Sorey and FV DUO
Constellation, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2016: FV SoundNoise Quartet w/Sam Newsome, Melvin Gibbs and Reggie Nicholson
Vision Festival XXI

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Leaving Cologne at the end of the Herbie Nichols SUNG tour

February 2016…The Happenings!

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Friends!

Greetings from Brooklyn where the sun shone bright today under mild skies. For the moment, its quiet just long enough to get some work done including sending this update and greeting to you all. The year started with a bang – a daily occurrence of public loss…loss of great souls and personalities. That gave music a whole new meaning ,entering this year feeling like a warrior. It’s important more than ever to say something when you can. All we have are our voices, let whatever art we create be reflective of who we really are. It has to be this way for me and I’m blessed to do music I love, music that matters. Thanks to all that came out to the January performances… lots of good stuff is coming up so please read on.

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First up, I am more than honored to be asked to perform with the late vocalist Jimmy Scott Jazz Expressions in a tribute to his great legacy on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13th at Sista’s Place, in the heart of Bed Stuy here in Brooklyn.

Then later in the month I head to Europe and so excited to share the news of FINALLY recording Herbie Nichols SUNG with Achim Kaufmann on piano and Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone and clarinet.  WooHoo!  We’ll record over two live concerts – at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and De Loft in Koln, Germany. I’ll also teach a couple workshops – one at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp (Belgium) and another in Amsterdam at Zaal 100. Will post flyers for the workshop and the concerts and please spread the word and share!

MASTERCLASS
Royal Conservatory Antwerp
MONDAY, February 22, 2016

HERBIE NICHOLS SUNG
BIMHUIS
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2016

DE LOFT
COLOGNE, GERMANY
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

WORKSHOP – to Scat and Beyond
ZAAL 100
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2016

in other news:

Here’s a video of the New York Jazz Workshop Jazz Vocal Advanced Class performing my arrangement of Work Song by cornetist Nat Adderley with lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr. Shot during the bi-annual school presentation in December 2015, this was the final tune of this groups presentation. I’m so proud of these ladies that also knocked out there individual performances.

In January 2016, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Jazz Vocal Workshop gave their end of semester presentation to a packed house. It was one of my most expansive presentations to date where the vocalists sang individual selections, duets and a group song – also Work Song – but with a completely different arrangement. I wanted to do Work Song with both vocal groups because it’s powerful political sentiment is an important statement today on mass incarceration that I wanted to make and I wanted the students to get away from singing ‘pretty’ for a moment and sing something evocative of the sentiment in the blues that Nat Adderley wrote.

Here’s a pic of the group!

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Jazz Vocal Workshop Presentation - Winter 2016!
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Jazz Vocal Workshop Presentation – Winter 2016!

This just IN: I was the vocalist last year for Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage on the West Coast and here is a little video excerpt of the show…via this link: http://gloriousravage.com/watch/

What’s coming up in March? A lot.

Heading to DC (March 16) as a special guest with the Amy Bormet Quartet for the Washington Women in Jazz Festival. Heading up to Hampshire College as a guest of the great reedist Marty Ehrlich to perform with his students plus give a masterclass (March 22-23). Will be on a Women in Music Panel with two esteemed panelists in Dr. Courtney Bryan and Farrah Jasmine Griffith in the Bronx (March 12) and back in the 55 BAR with in Praise of Ornette to close out the Month.

Finally, I want to share with you all something very important to me that I started along with blogger, professor and curator Cisco Bradley called the TalkRACE Forum that got started in December 2014. The whole point of the forum is to create a space to have uncomfortable conversations about race across gender, ethnicity and class. Since that time the almost monthly meetings have revealed so much about the work there is to be done and how important these conversations seem to shed light on how we feel. I’m finally making it public as we’re beginning to give public TalkRACE Forums. We gave one at Pratt Institute in November 2015 and on February 2016 we’ll moderate another TalkRACE Forum at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a good time to let you all know that this is happening and anyone interested in know about these events, please feel free to reach out. Here is our budding FB page: https://www.facebook.com/talkraceforum/

Thanks for reading,

Fay

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Happy New Year!

NewYear Posting Pic

Happy 2016! I wish you and all your loved ones the best wishes for this New Year!! May this year be your most enriching and fulfilling yet….

I start this year in a warrior spirit. Like I’m gearing up for battle on many fronts including my own creative quest for who I am and what I need to say. It’s been a couple years since I felt sure of my musical vision. I’m a restless creative spirit that has to pursue a variety of things but always with a main project that anchors everything else. A project I call home. For over 10 years that was the Fay Victor Ensemble, the vehicle for my writing, band-leading and improvisational playground (co-written with my husband and bass guitarist Jochem van Dijk). We’re still going strong – be on the lookout for FVE 2016 dates soon – yet I feel a pulling to perform music that isn’t written by me at all. For a couple years now I’m performing tunes from the Great American Songbook again finding new possibilities that I couldn’t even think of when I was starting out as a traditional jazz singer and my ears were more closed. An amazing rediscovery for me!

Jazz standards will show up on my 55BAR residency this month (THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 2016) with Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone and Ken Filiano on double bass that I call the Quiet Side. My first gig of 2016 mines the jazz universe in a different way; the compositions of Ornette Coleman. Guitarist Anders Nilsson suggested we check out some Ornette Coleman tunes for our ExPosed Blues Duo project. I love Ornette’s music, already a fan and even learned a few themes by ear yet never considered singing them until Anders suggested it. We’ve done Ornette’s music as a duo a number of times over the past few years, last Spring we bought it to the 55BAR and invited bassist Sean Conly to join us. As luck would have it alto saxophone titan Darius Jones stopped by to hang for the gig and sat in. No doubt after hearing these rough forays that there wasn’t something there. A few months later the quartet, with Darius and Sean played on Craig Harris’ Series in Harlem after Ornette had left us in June 2015. Guitarist Kenny Wessel (and ex-Ornette Coleman sideman) replaced Anders, who was out of town, and what emerged that afternoon made my heart sing. That group, In Praise of Ornette… will appear on the Evolving Music Festival on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2016 at Clemente Soto Velez.

There are beautiful Free Improv forays too this month in settings I’m proud to be a part of: on FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, I’ll join saxophonist/composer Matana Roberts residency at the Stone in the Lower East Side of NYC at 10pm, performing with her and more wonderful folk, then on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, join me for another Green Avenue Music Presents at IBEAM with Tomas Fujiwara on drums, Ben Gerstein on trombone and a special guest Elisabeth Harnik on piano! SATURDAY, JANUARY 23 and SUNDAY, JANUARY 24, 2016 I’m playing in Chi-town!! on the 23rd at Constellation with the incredible multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey as we dig deeper into our duo dialogue and the following night I join drummer Mike Reed, bass clarinetist Jason Stein and Nick Butcher on electronics and guitar at the Hungry Brain for another fresh musical meeting. What a way to start the New Year. I hope to see you out at the shows and as always you can get all the performances details on the GIG section of the site…

Other super important things happening this month…SUNDAY, JANUARY 10, I’ll emcee an important event – a benefit to support the family of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy gunned down by police in Cleveland over a year ago. We want to assist Ms. Samaria Rice in getting the help she needs to fight the lack of indictment in this case. It will be a great event with musical performances and more…if you can’t be there, do what you can to donate to the cause and/or please spread the word.

On MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2016, the Jazz Vocal Workshop will put on their end of semester performance! I’m very excited for this performance as these students have worked hard and risen to the occasion throughout the semester. This will be the most diverse presentation I’ve put on yet and I’m damn proud of this group. Sadly, it will be my last presentation as I am leaving the position at the end of semester. I had such a great two years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music but the other news for 2016 is going back to school! So I’ll be focusing on that this year as well.

Ahhhh….a good feeling to start the year with a fighting spirit in a positive way. Life is painfully short. If no other year made that painfully clear, 2015 should be strong contender. No need to dilly-dally over the small stuff that gets in the way and distorts focus. We’ve got to fight the powers that be within and without.

Blessings!!

FV