Fay Victor Ensemble


The Fay Victor Ensemble

Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – electric guitar, effects
Ken Filiano – double bass, efffects

Photo by Richard Koek
Photo by Richard Koek

The Fay Victor Ensemble(FVE) started as voice-guitar-bass-drum unit in 2005 performing original material written for the group by bandleader/vocalist Fay Victor and bass guitarist/composer Jochem van Dijk. A sly combination of jazz, rock, free improvisation and modern classical music, the Ensemble’s first recording entitled Cartwheels through the Cosmos was an ambitious and adventurous project that overstepped and redefined the boundaries of what jazz singing was when released in 2007. Cadence wrote that the FVE was “Taking jazz singing forward with a unique form of expression” , John Kelman at AllAboutJazz observed that ” Cartwheels through the Cosmos is that rarity amongst contemporary vocal jazz releases: an album that doesn’t rely on a tired repertoire and looks, instead, for innovation in every corner and JazzTimes’ Christopher Loudon called Cartwheels ‘brilliant.”

2009 saw the sophomore release of the FVE, The FreeSong Suite, a suite in 3 rooms, representing the deep past, near past and future and showed off the evolution of the compositions and use of form and improvisation. The album went on to receive incredible critical acclaim including Best-of-Year Kudos from The Jazz Session, NPR, All About Jazz-NY and a 4th place slot in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critic’s Poll for Best Jazz Vocal Record of 2009, the only all original vocal project to do so and caused NPR to say about  The FreeSong Suite that “the whole thing is as if Joni Mitchell wrote lyrics for a lost Betty Carter prog-rock album — and it totally works.”

The FVE (now a trio sans drums) released their third album of all original music, Absinthe & Vermouth on November 5, 2013 to critical acclaim including comparisons to Satie, Toulouse-Latrec, Oscar Wilde, Eric Dolphy and a 4 STAR Downbeat review. The FVE has just joined the ranks of the commissioned premiering a piece on the Tri-Centric Music Festival put on by The legendary composer/musician Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation on gentrification entitled Neighborhood Dynamics. A major development for the trio with the addition of esteemed guests Nicole Mitchell on flute and Vincent Chancey on french horn.

The FVE has performed at such venues as Roulette, Firehouse 12, BAM Cafe Live, The Vision Festival XV, Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival, The Stone, Cornelia Street Cafe, The Bop Shop(Rochester, NY), Sanctuary For Independent Media, Sweet Rhythm, Shapeshifter Lab, An Die Musik (Baltimore),The Rotunda (Philadelphia), Jazz Pioneer Valley Shares, The Evolving Music Series,The 21st Century Schizoid Series and the 55BAR – the band’s home and honing ground since 2005. The music of the FVE and the compositional and lyrical writing of Fay Victor and Jochem van Dijk has been praised in The Village Voice, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, JazzTimes, Popmatters.com, JazzWise UK, Time Out New York, Time Out Chicago, The New York Jazz Record, Cadence Magazine, The Wire, Signal to Noise, Popmatters.com,The Jazz Session amongst others.


Listen to the latest record here

Purchase Absinthe & Vermouth

Downtown Music Gallery

Press samples in for Absinthe & Vermouth!
(See more in the discography section)

“On her new album, “Absinthe & Vermouth,” the vocalist Fay Victor imagines a literate but growlingly original new course for her working band”

-Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“Whether combing the detritus of her oversized purse (BIG BAG), examining the GUNK that must be cleared out to enable health and clarity, honking through the traffic jam of urban monotony (ROBOT CLOWN), commenting on modern technology’s mechanized drone (TALK TALK) or opening the door to heaven (SEASHORE), Victor and company remain bracingly, craftily brilliant.”
– Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes December 2013
“Like Dali’s melting clock, Victor’s lyrics cascade in a melding of the mundane, the natural and the fantastical. Words morph into pointillistically expressive wails and punctuating tones. It’s like the Mad Hatter invited Kurt Weill and Arnold Schoenberg to tea and the caterpillar scored it.”

-Katie Bull, The New York Jazz Record (Vox Column)
Photo by Richard Koek
Photo by Richard Koek

Latest FVE Video

“listening to the Fay Victor Ensemble is like smoking a joint, without actually smoking a joint” – adoring fan
“Your performance was an extended moment of transcendence” – first time listener
“The Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue, 2009) is a tour de force of writing, improvisation and performance. Victor and her band paint one fluid word picture after another, linking these composed sections with free playing that is smart, muscular and emotional. 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
“The whole thing is as if Joni Mitchell wrote lyrics for a lost Betty Carter prog-rock album — and it totally works.”
-Patrick Jarenwattananon, 10 Greatest Moments from Jazz Recordings in 2009 – NPR Jazz

Learn more about Fay Victor…BIODISCOGRAPHYTEACHING

2 Replies to “Fay Victor Ensemble”

  1. Hi I wanted to reach out from WJZP portland maine you did a show September 16 2006 we are still playing your music in portland:) was wondering if you would send more of your music? And if you would ever like to sing in maine again? Dennis

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