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.



55BAR & Mise-en Festival this SATURDAY, JUNE 21st!


This month the 55BAR residency will be on SATURDAY, JUNE 21ST from 6-9PM instead of THURSDAY, JUNE 26 as previously scheduled.  Still with Herbie Nichols SUNG featuring Michael Attias on reeds and Ratzo Harris on double bass.  NO COVER, 2 drink minimum.

Earlier in the day, I’ll run an IMPROVISATION Workshop for the wonderful and new Mise-en Music Festival at the Cell in New York City. Click the link to learn more about this festival and how you can participate.

Herbie Nichols Workshops MISE

February 2013 news, thoughts and views

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.



Stepping Up to May 2012

Greetings from chilly, chilly New York City. We had no winter, we’re having no spring. Gives the feeling of being in a constant seasonal limbo.  Do we now stop counting the seasons at all? Live day to day depending on how the temperatures fluctuate, always keeping in touch with our smart phones, Ipads, sundials – making sure we’re prepared for the next change.  No more taking out or putting away of seasonal items. Everything at the ready always.

I live in a part of the world where that’s a strange idea.  I mean, where would you house all the necessities of four sorta-seasons in a typical NYC apartment?  Yet where music is concerned, I’m doing this all the time.  Putting on and taking off different temperatures or seasons of music day to day.  Within performance, teaching, or the various projects I’m lucky to be involved in, I’m living the life of a musical schizophrenic.  A normal day may entail me working on standards or Tori Amos with students, working on my own original music, then going off and playing a free improv gig that same night.  It appears dizzying, some days it is. Mostly it flows like water the more I’ve gotten used to it as a way to exist. To see ALL the music I’m involved in generally and my expression specifically as coming from one source.  That source tries to stay open to everything.

For the past couple years I’ve been fortunate to play and interact with groups/musicians that have challenged me no end.  A new experience for me.  Being primarily self taught and leading my own groups for most of my performing life, rarely having the opportunity to be a sideman. The astounding benefit from absorbing and soaking as much as I could knowledge from these musician of prominence and excellence is priceless. Learning more about composition, form, ideas, perspective, and perhaps most of all, how to be a better bandleader.

Now…most of these projects, although ongoing (there are plans to tour Europe in 2013 w/Other Dimensions in Music for example), they have faded to the background for now and I’ve been quietly developing new projects with a rejuvenated voice that feels stronger and more secure.  More open even…

This isn’t clearer for me than with my group, the Fay Victor Ensemble(FVE). Yes, its almost a year since we last played in town with our last gig in June of last year yet in the meantime we’ve met to work on music slated for out next release in 2013(look for it!).

Something else happened along the way while I was off going to school (for real) – what I wanted for my music changed so there’s a searching quality to the music as well.  In that search to seek the way forward, I realized that I needed to open up to the sound, allow for transparency and allow the lyrics to sing out above the din.  To that end the FVE has a few concerts coming up that are without our drummer, the great Michael TA Thompson…its a temporary situation for now yet the sound is special as well. I hope you’ll join us, so looking forward to hearing your thoughts.  The FVE will play on MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2012 (International Jazz Day!!) on the Evolving Series ending a great night of music with groups lead by drummer Charles Downs and trumpeter Roy Campbell preceding us. I do hope you’ll join us here and if you can’t make that date, we’re playing on WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2012 at Barbes (part of Oscar Noriega’s curated Palimpsestic Series) then at Cornelia Street Cafe on TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2012.  I’m also thrilled to announce the Fay Victor Ensemble is working on its first European tour with Danielle Oosterop Music Services slated for October 2013!  We’re thrilled with the association and much more news on that front soon. Finally check out some VERY recent FVE sounds, recorded March 2012.

Also in SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2012, The ExPosed Blues Duo re-emerges as well joining a double bill with bassist Shayna Dulberger’s Quartet at Sycamore and we’ll play on the last night of the season of the Evolving Series on MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2012 –  jumping on after Elliot Sharp’s set.

Thanks for reading and for supporting and loving music…



November 2011: On the Road Again…

Happy Autumn Y’all!

Here in the Northeastern US of A we’ve already had our first official snowstorm, with downed trees and all.  Boots on and collars up for the next little while. And for the next little while I’ll be on the road with Dutch reedist and composer Ab Baars as a featured guest in his new Invisible Blow Project. The Invisible Blow is a boxing term to indicate the unprotected moment that everyone has, no matter how weel trained you are.  Ab Baars is expanding the term as a metaphor for life, the inevitable confrontation of growing older and dealing head on with the Invisible Blow of life.  Ab has composed incredible music to texts taken from  Charles Bukowski, Muhammed Ali, William Carlos Williams, Joyce Carol Oates and more. The project is also cause for celebration of Ab Baars’ Trio being together for 20 years!

We’re doing 15 concerts in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Romania and Polnad.  Its the first time I’ll be part of a tour of this magnitude and I’m  honored that Ab wrote such beatiful music using voice that I get perform. Rounding out the group for the tour is french horn player  Vincent Chancey. Phew! The full itinerary is up in the Performance section of the FV site or you can learn more on the Stichting Wig website too. As a very special treat, I was asked to pick concert tips for the Bimhuis’ incredible month of programming! Just for fun, check that out here

Before heading off, I need to properaly say goodbye to October 2011.  I certainly felt like a musical schizophrenic last month but what an exhilirating time I had firstly with the TriCentric Foundation and Anthony Braxton for the Braxtonian Festival at Roulette. Performing in the Syntactical Ghost Trance Choir and Trillium J was certainly a career highlight for me.  Not to mention an honor to get the opportunity.  The turnout for the 4 day festival was not only impressive but downright inspiring!  To see so many faces of different hues and ages coming out to honor a living composer made me think that creative music has a great chance of flourishing in this city!  The TriCentric Foundation did an incredible job organinzing this amazing event.

a couple weeks after that, Austrian pianist came to town to perform two gigs (in TRIO with British bassist Dominic Lash and myself and one concert as a DUO) and have her pieces performed with Moon Young Ha’s Ensemble.  Elisabeth, Dom and I met as Music OMI Fellows in 2010 and we hit it off musically!  Having Dominic stateside for this past year was a great opportunity to try to play together again.  Really glad we did.  We have some things on the fire for 2012 and will get back with more on that later on.

Finally I performed my final gig on the books for 2011 in NYC on Halloween as part of the Blues Hues for Halloween themed evening held at the Evolving Series that also featured vocalist Lisa Sokolov and reedist Roy Nathanson.  Anders Nilsson and I bought our refreshed ExPosed Blues DUO business and made some scary sounds. Boo!

If we’re friends or you’re fans of FV on FB, I’ll post pictures from the tour and I’ll even attempted to shoot some video of cool places.  See you all around the bend.

In music,

October 2011: Living for the City

Greetings and welcome to cooler, shorter days and the start of year-end holiday pilfering.  Its one of my favorite seasons when we actually have one. This year feels promising.  Brisk and crisps days warm enough for a rigorous walk through this illustrious city…and by that I do mean Brooklyn.  Oh I know people still think of Manhattan as the city and it is to a certain extent.  Yet Brooklyn is where it’s happening these days.  I’d argue (no throwing tomatoes!!) that Brooklyn is one of the most vibrant boroughs in our New York City.  My perspective may be jaded yet just to give a small example, my gig list this month, with one exception, is all in Brooklyn.  Mostly within an hour’s walk from where I live.  I say walk because if I get my act together, that’s how I’ll get to my gigs this month, reducing my carbon footprint just a smidge.  I hope you’ll join me.  Here’s what’s coming up…

On FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th – I am honored to be  small part of Anthony Braxton’s 4-Day festival (Starting on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5th) called Energies, Ideas, Institutions: The Music of Anthony Braxton.  Its the most comprehensive representation of his music thus far in the USA!  Please go to Roulette for all the details and visit the Tri-Centric Foundation for more details on all things Anthony including the Release of Trillium E, the wonderful project recorded last year and I’m in the cast alongside amazing vocalists such as Kyoko Kitamura, Michael Douglas Jones, Jen Shyu, Nick Hallett and more.  The 4-CD Box set will be released on October 11th, some will be available for purchase at the Festival this upcoming weekend. What a thrill to be part of this incredible production where the musicians and vocalists all were at service to Anthony’s music.  It was one of the richest experience I’ve had as a vocalist and to now have it in my hands leaves me speechless.

This SATURDAY, on the final night of the Braxtonian Festival, we’ll premiere two Acts from a new opera Trillium J and FRIDAY, I’ll take part in the Syntactical Ghost Trance Music Choir.  Towards the end of October the wonderful Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik will come to Brooklyn and we’ll play two concerts, one premiering our ReDDeeR group with UK bassist Dominic Lash.  We all met last year as fellows at Music OMI and hit it off musically there.  Since then I’ve played with Dominic (who is in NY for just a short while more) and Elisabeth has played with him in London.  These upcoming concerts will be first time we’ll play as a trio since our Residency last year. We’re at Korzo as part of the Konceptions Series curated by James Carney on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 and then Elisabeth and I will play a duo set at I-Beam on FRIDAY, October 28th as a double Bill with Go-Zee-Lah (Kyoko Kitamura & Yayoi Ikawa). Get all the details on the PERFORMANCE section of the site.

Wrapping up the month, Anders Nillson and I as the ExPosed Blues Duo will round out the last Monday on the Evolving Series this month. YES, we’re back up as of October 10th.  Please go to the Vision Festival website for the schedule and other info. On Halloween, The Evolving Series has a themed evening called “Blues Hues for Halloween” with vocalist Ayana Lowe and Roy Nathanson bringing thier own takes on the idiom in their respective sets.  This is my only gig in the Manhattan this month.  As a matter of fact its my last scheduled gig in town for the time being.  Early November I head out of town to work with musician/composer Ab Baars on a wonderful project called The Invisible Blow.  We’ll tour the Netherlands and Europe culminating in a recording of the project on the last day of the tour.  I just saw Ab in Amsterdam and we got together with the music and what I heard and will get to sing is just glorious.

Speaking of Amsterdam, I must say this past Sepetmber was something special.  I went out to the West Coast for the first time to teach a workshop and perform at the Jazz School in Berkeley.  As I mentioned in my last post, a feature on me ran in the SF Chronicle, which bought out lots of people to the concert  (that was well received!) plus a good showing on the workshop too. Not to mention San Francisco itself.  What a beautiful place to be.  I enjoyed my very short stay and stay turned for future plans in the Bay Area.  One of the most beautiful things I experienced when I was out there was being at the Memorial for drummer Eddie Marshall, who passed away in early September.  A veritable who’s who of the Bay Area Jazz Scene came out to express love and admiration for him.  A beautiful thing to experience, see and feel.

Later in September I went to Germany to perform some concerts in and around Munsterland, passing in and back through Amsterdam. I’m always happy to go to Amsterdam but this trip was especially fulfilling and rich.  The connections, the amount I packed together in a few days. While I was away, I was once again reminded and took a moment to reflect on what a blessing it is to go through this life making music to share.




April 2011 News and Views

Dear Friends,

Happy Spring…or as happy as one can be this Spring.  Still brrrrr in NYC as I write and the world’s gone haywire (more on that later in this post) but I’m keeping the music going because it’s healing, soothing and stabilizing and with music, I’m having a good time. Before I get into what’s up for April, I want to extend many thanks for the friends – old and new – that came out to hear the ExPosed Blues Duo at Barbes and the Fay Victor Ensemble at University of the Streets in March. The FVE gig was especially thrilling because we unveiled all new music that’s studio bound and power house violinist Jason Hwang came by and shot a great video.  Take a look at that here and share your thoughts. Save the date for the next FVE gig on MONDAY, MAY 23rd as part of the 21st Century Schizoid Series at Cornelia Street Cafe…
VIDEO: Fay Victor Ensemble @ University of the Streets

And in April there is some amazing news to share.  This coming Saturday, April 2nd, I’ll go down to Philadelphia to perform with the incredible Dutch Tentet The Instant Composer’s Pool Orchestra(headed by pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink) at Ars Nova Workshop. I toured with them for the first time last May and it was a BLAST! so honored that they asked me again and for you NY’ers they are at Le Poisson Rouge this Thursday night.  Please go!  and next week SUNDAY, APRIL 10th the ExPosed Blues Duo has a hit on a new Series at FatBaby’s.  We’re on the 8PM Set and the next day please join myself and Arts for Art for our FIRST concert of the EVOLVING SERIES in our new location at Clemente Soto Velez!! After two wonderful years, it was time to move the Series from the Local 269…we had a great time there and it’s hard to start new and make a change, especially when the experience was fruitful and help set the stage for where we’ll go in the future. At the Clemente Soto Velez, we feel there’s more space to expand and I hope you’ll join us every Monday night at this NEW location as of MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011.

Celemente Soto Velez
107 Suffolk Street
Bet. Rivington & Delancey
F/J/M Train to Delancy/Essex Streets

and what a line-up we have planned!

7PM: Fay Victor/Dominic Lash DUO
Dominic Lash-bass

8PM: Theo Bleckmann/Jay Clayton DUO
Theo Bleckmann-voice
Jay Clayton-voice

9PM: Charles Gayle’s Forgiveness
Charles Gayle-tenor sax
Francois Grillot-bass
Michael Wimberly -drums

10PM: Arts for Artestra, conducted by Charles Gayle
Charles Gayle (tenor sax, conduction)
Matt Lavelle (trumpet, bass clarinet), Chris DiMeglio (trumpet), Ras Moshe (tenor sax)
Yoni Kretzmer (tenor sax), Dave Sewelson (baritone sax), Sarah Bernstein (violin)
James Keepnews (guitar), Brad Farberman (guitar), James Ilgenfritz (bass)
Francois Grillot (bass), Michael Wimberly (drums), Mike Pride (drums)

$10 per set – $20 buys the whole night – not a bad deal.
more info here.

And on TUESDAY, APRIL 19th, please join me for the Early Set at the 55BAR, performing with the Jazz Vault project and dipping into the repertoire of seminal pianists Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols.  Bringing the month full circle gig-wise as concert with ICP will include much of this repertoire. In other news, Kaiso Stories is starting to get reviews and the initial words on the project have been incredible.  On April 11th, I’ll be on Jason Crane’s the Jazz Session talking about Kaiso Stories and a lot more.  This will be my second time on the podcast and talking with Jason is a relaxed and lovely affair.  Please tune in to this podcast and there so much more, take a look and listen here.

I hope to see you out at the shows just to share some new and old music that comes from an honest place. These are difficult, trying times around us.  The earthquake in Japan and its aftermath, civil unrest all over the Middle East and the horror in Libya not to mention the dwindling prospects and the clearer adgenda of the powers that be in the USA has many feeling a heavy sense of hopelessness.  A sense that all the good things to work for are going away. Sort of everything is upside down and twisted and right or wrong have lost all meaning.  Maybe I’m old fashioned or just getting old but the world feels like a particularly alien place at the moment and I guess I’m wondering what I feel and what can I do.  In that wondering, I remembered a song of Mose Allison called “Ever Since The World Ended”(also an album of the same name on BlueNote Records-1987).  As I started thinking about the words and singing the song to myself, I started to cry because the words mean so much right now and moreover it shows once again how necessary artistic creation is – in my inability to explain my feelings, a song lyric does the trick:

VIDEO: Mose Allison-Ever Since the World Ended

Ever Since The World Ended

Ever since the world ended,

I don’t go out as much.

People that I once befriended

Just don’t bother to stay in touch.

Things that used to seem so splendid

Don’t really matter today.

It’s just as well the world ended–

It wasn’t working anyway.


Every since the world ended,

There’s no more bible belt.

Remember how we all pretended?

Going ’round, lying ’bout the way we felt.

Every rule has been amended,

There’s no one keeping score.

It’s just as well the world ended

We couldn’t have taken much more.


Ever since the world ended,

There’s no more black or white.

Ever since we all got blended,

there’s no more reason to fuss and fight.

Dogmas that we once defended

no longer seem worthwhile.

Ever since the world ended,

I face the future–

With a smile.


Hoping you are all coping and pushing forward.

In music,

Moving toward the Spring…

Dear Friends,

Life has been a little nutty!  And cold.  Winter’s been rough but there are some warming things coming up on the horizon.

First up though, thanks to the friends that came out to the 55BAR to see the FVE and University of the Streets to see Other Dimensions in Music last month.  At both events, there were wonderful listening crowds. And when the FVE unveiled new music at the 55BAR the reaction was positive and strong.  Starting out January, I was featured at the fabulous Mark Lamb Dance Salon ( a monthly event held every 2nd Saturday of the month…learn all about it here) alongside himself, his wonderful dancers, reedist Michael Attias and bassist Garth Stevenson playing with music, words and dance. Thanks for coming out the that event as well…

Besides an appearance on Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, they have been no gigs in town this month but please save the DATES for some happenings in March as we all move closer to Spring and longer days. YEAH!  On WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2nd, Anders Nilsson and I will do our ExPosed Blues Duo thing at Barbes’s Series (On The Palimpsestic Series – curated by Oscar Noriega).  We’re pulling out new tunes destined for a later follow-up recording and we’ll do some pieces from BARE!  Come by and hear how we move things around. We move things around again later in the month as part of Gary Lucas’ Jeff Buckley Tribute at the Knitting Factory Williamsburg on FRIDAY, MARCH 18 then on SATURDAY, MARCH 19th join the Fay Victor Ensemble at University of the Streets for the 8PM Set. The FVE will be all about new music too, working it out for our next recording. Check all the DEETS on the PERFORMANCE section of the website and as always – I look forward to seeing you.

What’s also up in March(March 1st for the US; February 28th for Europe) is the release of Silkheart Records KAISO STORIES with Other Dimensions in Music and myself.  Its a record combining free jazz and improvised lyrics of classic calypsos.  This is a project near and dear to my heart and I was thrilled to have this opportunity from Silkheart Records and to play with the incredible musicians in Other Dimension in Music (Roy Campbell(trumpet), Daniel Carter (reeds), William Parker(bass), Charles Downs(drums).  I believe we put down a very strong session and I’m looking forward to hearing feedback on this unique project.  You can take a look at the liner notes and here a clip on the Silkheart Records website here.

I’m also happy to share with you that I came in first place for Female Vocalists in El Intruso’s International Critic and Musician’s Poll! I feel honored and grateful…take a look here to see all the results.

Thanks for reading!


October 2010 NEWS…a little late, a little bruised.

Dear Friends,

I’m writing from partly sunny Amsterdam, recuperating from a fall I had last week.  Yep.  I biked in the rain my second day here, tried to avoid someone, slipped and fell.  Banged up my knee and have been on crutches for a week and just a couple days ago got the go ahead to work back towards normal walking life.  It goes OK.

I don’t know why this happened but those close to me seem to think it may have something to do with the heavy schedule I’ve been keeping up. And me literally not taking a break for weeks on end.  Perhaps this was a rather mellow warning to slow down.  Take it easy and reflect.  Seriously.

So what all happened in September?  It was an amazing, musically schizophrenic month where I recorded and mixed one record and released another and where the Evolving Voice Series celebrated a one year anniversary.

September started off with a gig and a recording for Silkheart Records. Silkheart’s owner Lars Gustavsson and I met about four years ago when he stumbled onto a gig of mine at Enzo’s Jazz Club in Midtown Manhattan.  He liked what he heard and he wanted me to record for his label but didn’t have an idea for a project.  Over the years we threw a few ideas back and forth.  Nothing really gelled until he came to the Vision Festival in 2009.  We met there and there he came upon the idea of doing a project with the legendary Other Dimensions in Music (or ODIM – trumpetist Roy Campbell, reedist Daniel Carter, bassist William Parker and drummer Charles Downs). He even spoke with Roy and William at the Festival about the idea and they were both into it – which was an honor for me.  So cool that they were willing to do a project but WHAT would the project be??

Lars suggested I take the time necessary to figure that out and in the end decided to do something with my roots in the Caribbean and the legacy of Calypso as a people’s music, important to tell the REAL news of the day. After some research and discussion – I arrived at the idea of focusing on the lyrics of calypsos alongside free improvisation.  I thought this might be an organic way to spotlight the importance of the message in a given calypso with an improvised musical backdrop sometimes recognizing the source – ofttimes not.  It turned out to be a good idea and on Labor day (MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2010) ODIM and I performed on the Evolving Voice & Music Series at the Local 269 to a packed house and unleashed the crux of the project. The response was so strong that it garnered two live reviews, one here at AAJ.com and the other review here, in AAJ-NY’s October issue.  We went into the studio two days later to record and it looks like the record will be ready for release by early 2011.  I’ll keep you posted.

In the midst of this project came the CD release for BARE, the project of the ExPosed Blues Duo, released on AUGUST 31 on Greene Avenue Music(you can purchase directly from the Website now!).  What a night that was!!  The back room at Barbes on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 was standing room only and what a beautiful audience it was. Guitarist Anders Nillson and I were thrilled to be recommended by both the New York Times AND Time Out New York for the concert.  TONY even went on to put our CD release on the small list of Must See Shows that night in town with such luminaries as The Bad Plus and Marc Ribot!

Then just five days later we celebrated the One Year Anniversary of the Evolving Voice Series on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2010.  We celebrated by having an all vocal night featuring poetry with Steve Dalachinsky and Patricia SpearJones and music by the wonderful Lisa Sokolov and co-curator Patricia Nicholson Parker did a powerful set with William Parker on bass.  The music opened up with the Fay Victor Ensemble presenting new music that Jochem and I have been writing, gearing up to record early next year.  It wasn’t our best gig but it was great to try the music and look forward to more gigs in the coming months as we delve deeper into the new ideas.

What a month!

Now I’m in the Netherlands.  Got here at the end of September to rehearse and perform with reedist Michael Moore’s Fragile Quartet, and I’ll play on a great experimental series tomorrow(SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10th) in Utrecht at the Centraal Museum with flutist Mark Alban Lotz and guitarist Jasper Stadhouders. Next week Sunday (OCTOBER 17, 2010) I’ll conduct a workshop called “Opening and Evolving the Voice” just a few days before heading off to Germany for three weeks on a Blues tour with a wonderful German pianist by the name of Christian Bleiming.  If you know someone in the area who may be interested pass on the word.  I have a few open spots left.

In between, seeing friends and family, making as much music as possible and getting my leg back up to fighting strength.

Be well and thanks for reading,


Happy NEW 2010, Friends!

Happy New Year and Decade to You all!

First off, thanks to your support, THE FREESONG SUITE did very well after its release back in September 2009!! (See KUDO’s post for the details).

The great reaction is just astounding and I am grateful that the all-original program on THE FREESONG SUITE has resonated so strongly for some listeners.  I’m humbled and feel empowered at the same time because this record was made with so little compromise.  This IS the music we wanted to make, which in turn, makes it all the more incredulous.   I’m thankful to the fantastic group of musicians that make up the Fay Victor Ensemble: Ken Filiano, Anders Nilsson and Michael TA Thompson – a group of musicians into sparring in a democratic way.  I couldn’t ask for more than that.  For 2010…the FVE will start working on material for the next record and future dates for the group in New York City are forthcoming, yet for the most part the first half of 2010, I will be tied up with other things musical and I might add…thrilling! Starting things off with a bang later this month…

Anders Nilsson and I will release ‘BARE‘ our debut release of the ExPosed Blues Duo.  It’ll be available first as a digital download with the physical CD to come later…stay tuned for those details. There is a small licensing glitch with one of the pieces – hence the delay of the release but it’ll be worked out in time….Anders and I will celebrate  the release later in the month at The Brecht Forum (Saturday, January 30th, 2010) with the great Tomas Ulrich on cello –  (actually it will be a double bill with the amazing Kyoko Kitamura and dancer Mark Lamb) and in March as part of the Evolving Voice Vocal Series.

Before that on Thursday, January 14th, I’m at The Stone with the Jazz Vault Project for the 8:00PM Set.  With Michael Attias (alto + baritone saxophone), Jose Davila (tuba)  Anders Nilsson (acoustic guitar), we’ve  been playing out more recently and getting the music together…plus we’ve added new Herbie Nichols pieces to the repertoire. And how great of Matana Roberst to include us when she was booking the Stone. Also, I’m happy to be included in a fantastic project of alto saxophonist Darius Jones (who just took 2nd place as Best Debut in the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll!) at Roulette on Wednesday, January 27th.

I’ll start rehearsal for a film appearance taking place in February 2010 before heading off to Russia to tour with Tenor Saxophonist Oleg Kireyev in Moscow and beyond. In March 2010, I’ll be gearing up for a major opera project with Anthony Braxton of which I am honored to be a part of!  In April,  Anders Nilsson and I head to Chicago to play the Velvet Lounge and more. May 2010 finds me participating in an absolute dream come true for me – I will be touring in the Netherlands and Germany with the Instant Composers Pool (ICP), one of the most important and influential bands for my whole musical aesthetic. To make the occasion that much sweeter, one of the performances with ICP will take place as part of the MusikTriennale in Koln as a double bill with Henry Threadgill’s ZOOID.

And more…the RUCMA/Arts for Art, Inc. Evolving Voice Vocal Series will continue, now on MONDAYS (as of January 4, 2010) with the Evolving Music Series.  Very excited about the change and the Series itself.  The experience of having all these amazing vocalists take part in the Series is just incredible. I am being shown on a weekly basis how diversely beautiful vocalists can be plus hearing how expressive and unique the voice is. YES! (See the EVOLVING VOICE post for more information)

Plus there are some new sounds up on the Jazz Vault and ExPosed Blues Project respective MySpace pages.  Have a listen here on the Jazz Vault page featuring our uber-special way with “Mood Indigo” and a version of Nichol’s “The Spinning Song”  done as a duo with Michael Attias (alto sax) and myself  – live @ 55BAR in December 2009. And here, on the ExPosed Blues Project page, check out a KILLIN’ version of “Mother Earth” recorded live @ the Stone in July 2009 with Tomas Ulrich on cello.

Thank you for reading and I wish you a happy, healthy, enriching and prosperous New Year.
The Upcoming Gigs section on the home page for all the Gig details and I hope to see you at one of shows.
and finally as a not-so-great leader once said -”Seize the Moment!”

In love and music,