Yup, just under the fresh heels of a winter snowstorm in New York City and since I’ve yet to step out in it, I love it to death. Its so wonderful to look at from the distance of dry warm feet and until I have to step out into it, that’s how I’ll feel. No winter is not my thing, but that’s no reason to move away from New York City (although it was a GREAT reason to move away from Syracuse, NY), so I’m looking forward to see it go. Later this month I’ll step out of town but no warmer climes for me but perhaps if I’m lucky more temperate. And then there’s the music that’s happening before I head out of town which I hope will heat things up. Before getting into what’s coming up, I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to all the folks that came out to the shows plus a small wrap up of the amazing music month that was January 2013!
The moment JANUARY 1st, 2013 landed and I woke up, I felt like a new person, like something strange had lifted and flew away. So cliche no? Yet it is the absolute truth and boy did I need that sort of energy going into the month as I had more gigs in NYC last month that I’ve ever had since I’ve loved here ( or ever) and ended the month recording the new Fay Victor Ensemble album ABSINTHE & VERMOUTH, due for release in September 2013. I’m so proud of what guitarist Anders Nilsson and double bassist Ken Filiano contributed to the music…boy oh BOY!
January started though with the music of Herbie Nichols as I opened the IBEAM residency I had on Saturdays in January with the launch of the quintet version of the project including Rudy Roylston on drums and the great Anthony Coleman on piano along with Michael Attias on reeds and Ratzo Harris on bass. The quintet also played a set at Cornelia Street Cafe as part of vocalist Sara Serpa’s Voice Box Festival on JANUARY 22nd. The rest of the residency was the Fay Victor Ensemble honing the original music we’ve been playing plus brand new pieces for the recording. It was a great time at IBEAM, a wonderful performance space in Brooklyn and as a band we grew over the three Saturdays we played there. We filmed the music too and here’s a teaser video of what’s to come on the new record: CRYSTAL – Fay Victor Ensemble The band also played at BAM Cafe LIve, one of the best venues to pay in the city with a great crowd and a fantastic atmosphere. Great performing there again, I saw it as a good omen that we play at BAM at this time since we also performed at the Bam Cafe Live right before recording our last CD, The FreeSong Suite in 2008. Looking forward to sharing this music with everyone and I’ll keep you posted on events and sounds as they unravel! January ended at the 55BAR for my monthly residency there with Herbie Nichols in trio with Razto Harris and Michael Attias. That was so much fun and a great way to end where we began the month with Herbie Nichols. I’ll be back at the 55BAR on March 28th with the Lisa Mezzacappa/Fay Victor TRIO!
A very important note: I was honored and humbled to be asked my William Parker to sing a piece he wrote for David S. Ware’s Memorial at St. Peter’s Church on JANUARY 7, 2013. The evening was a pristine example of space, love, class, dignity, compassion and music with performances by Matt Schipp, Guillermo Brown, William Parker, Cooper-Moore, Joe Morris, Steve Dalachinsky, Daniel Carter, Darius Jones, Muhammed Ali and more.
Coming up this month, this TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12th, I’ll appear with the ExPosed Blues DUO and special guest Darius Jones for a set sharing the bill with Turkish guitar phenom Timucin Sahin at DROM and then I’ll appear with William Parker’s Essential Orchestra at Roulette on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16th. Then I’m one the road, meeting family in France and heading to Berlin to work on and play Herbie Nichols with pianist Achim Kaufmann and tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius, culminating in 2 nights of concerts MARCH 1st and 2nd in Berlin. February began with the openingof the Evolving Series and a special duo with drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey. It was a powerful start and I trust there will be more, and soon.
Going back to January once more -it was an incredible month but a sad month as well. With the loss of Butch Morris suddenly and the recent passing of Jayne Cortez and now most recently Donald Byrd (amongst so many others), it hard not to feel that our heroes and mentors are leaving quickly, like butterflies. In the case of Butch Morris, I can say with great honor that I worked with him and learned a lot from him when I did. I attended his conduction workshops in NYC back in February 2005, the now famous Black February and attended many of those events. I later became part of his Chorus of Poets for about three years and I tapped into Butch’s ‘Conduction’ method at a time when I was figuring out how to improvise on my own terms and truly venture into the free. It was great to have a method of improvisation where you essentially respond to his baton and in turn that creates an orchestrated sound in its entirety, whether its with voices, strings, brass, percussion or any combination of these. It was an enlightening, sometimes frustrating experience to go through but I’m a much better improvisor because of it. Rest in peace, Mr Morris.
Thank you for reading and many thanks for your continued support. Let’s go out and support each other’s music. Let’s share and gather for reasons other than death or loss because in sadness and in good times – MUSIC IS THE BEST.