It’s the beginning of December, Thanksgiving is just behind us and now we’ll go hurtling towards more holidays then the end of the year. It’s unbelievable how fast it goes since it feels like just a few months ago that we left 2014! Was 2015 good for you?
2015 felt (still feels) like a transformative year for me. I’ve come to some strong decisions which I’ll share more in the early months of 2016. What I will share now is I’ve stepped back and taken some distance to this idea of ‘career’ that’s liberating. Incredible too that it only enhances every musical experience I’ve gone into because the music is the main reason I’m there. I’ve always said that music is a great catalyst for honest expression. I discovered that focusing on having a career made me less honest than I want to be. I didn’t want that anymore. Yet even with putting that idea aside, I feel more on the move than ever. Excited for 2016. Wishing you all a healthy, fun, creative, exciting, prosperous and musical New Year…and let this be the year where all your dreams come true.
On SUNDAY, December 6th, there a presentation of the Advanced Jazz Vocal Workshop of the New York Jazz Workshop at Club Bonafide! I’m excited for all the work the vocalists have done this Fall – looking forward to hearing them strut their stuff.
And I have one final gig for the year on the last day of the month (NEW YEARS EVE!) at the 55BAR, closing out the year with a trio of classy strings…doing a bunch of things. This should be fun and I’d love to have you join us to ring out 2015, blessings, warts and all!
All Things with STRINGS
FV – voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – guitar
Marika Hughes – cello
Sean Conly – double bass
at the 55BAR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31st 7-9PM NO Cover 2 drink minimum
Seasons Greetings and Much Love to you ALL! We need it more than ever….Fay
Happy November to you all! I’m hoping lots of good stuff is coming up for you as colder temps start approaching and looking forward to seeing some of you out and about. Some nice things coming up this month and I can’t wait to share…
If you’ve got folks in Baltimore, invite them to come out to the Caton Castle this coming Saturday Night (NOVEMBER 7, 2015) where I’ll be playing with some of the finest musicians on the East Coast as part of the Composers Collective featuring TK Blue of reeds, Lafayette Gilchrist on piano, Herman Burney on double bass and Eric Kennedy on drums. We’ll perform a mostly all original set of music! Check out the website here for details.
Then on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15, I’m honored and proud to be part of honoring the great trombonist Roswell Rudd turn 80 years old at Le Poisson Rouge featuring a great cast of musicians including Steven Bernstein, Lafayette Harris, Beau Soleil avec Michael Doucet and more. This will be a glorious celebration of an extraordinary musician. You’ve got to come on out!
On WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, I’m at Weeksville Heritage Center with Sean Conly and Sam Newsome, performing for the opening of the Lost Jazz Shrines exhibit. As someone that started my career as a vocalist in Brooklyn, how awesome is that!
**No 55BAR month because of Thanksgiving but back on Christmas Eve and that lineup will be announced soon!
In other news…wonderful new Video is up of a happening a concert in October with Sam Newsome and Reggie Nicholson…check it out:
Great press links to bassist/composer Lisa Mezzacappa’s Song Cycle Glorious Ravage that I performed on the West Coast at end of September and the beginning of October…here.…here…here….!!
“Vocalist Fay Victor (from New York) rivaled the globe-girding tessitura of Yma Sumac…” – San Francisco Classical Voice
“The music rolled, roiled, staggered, even swung, with the phenomenal voice of Fay Victor delivering lyrics and sounds with an unusual combination of soul and abstraction”…metaljazz.com
“Fay Victor is a powerhouse with a clear, precise and cutting voice, and the dynamic and textural range of any master instrumentalist. Mezzacappa describes an instant chemistry with Victor, who can easily match Mezzacappa’s wide-ranging, groovy, and sometimes frenetic, turn-on-a-dime aesthetic.” – Roger Kim Music
Yes…like it or not, we’re in the waning days of summer with the Fall season upon us. Here in NYC one of the things that means is that live shows go back inside. Funnily enough I have not done one outdoor show all summer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve played outside. Maybe in 2013 at the Hammer Museum in LA..that sounds about right…and the Red Hook Jazz Festival in 2013 was outdoors too.
Truthfully, I’ve been indoors a lot this summer. Made it to the beach for the first time just last week. Teaching and working on refocusing my energies and developing new projects. I write this at the end of a ‘staycation’, I took time to be home, stepping back from social media (except instagram), and people in general to regroup and reflect on what’s next and which way to go. And to get a few things DONE such as clean up the teaching page of my website. One thing I’m working on is expanding my teaching of jazz and improvisation around the world and a good clear page about that part of my life was long overdue. Take a look when you have a chance and please spread the word! (add weblink here) This month marks the return to running workshops at both the New York Jazz Workshop (just finished the annual 4-day Vocal Summit) and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music + resuming my private teaching practice full force. Then next month, I’m honored and thrilled to head to Macedonia to teach two days of master classes alongside saxophonist Marc Mommaas at the University of Skopje. Learn more about that and more teaching coming up on the road on the updated teaching page.
I’m also working on new music, mostly working on the beautiful song cycle Bay area bassist/composer Lisa Mezzacappa put together called Glorious Ravage! The song cycle alongside 4 independent films made in conduction with the music, will prier in Los Angeles on the Angel City Jazz Festival on SATURDAY, September 26, 2015 at RedCAT. the amazing 15 piece ensemble (including musicians such as Mark Dresser, Nicole Mitchell, Myra Melford, Vinny Golia and more…) heads to San Francisco to premiere Glorious Ravage on October 1st and 2nd. Lisa’s has a great website about it all – you can learn more at this link. I’m working on some of Ornette Coleman’s music, developing and working out a number of compositions to perform. Anders Nilsson and I started doing this a couple years ago, and now after a great and revelatory concert in August on the Harlem afternoon Jazz Series, playing Ornette’s music in quartet was inspiring to say the least. I want to keep this going.
Before I head back out West, I’ve got a couple shows here in NYC that I’m looking forward to! Coming up on the WhyNot Experiment Series at the WhyNot Jazz Club – I’m there doing a double bill with the marvelous Kyoko Kitamura! Kyoko’s pairing with the ever inventive dancer/choreographer Mark Lamb and later I get to pair up with guitarist Anders Nilsson (aka the ExPosed Blues DUO) for a foray into the experimental blues galaxy that exists waaaay out there. The ExPosed Blues DUO hasn’t played out in the city since the winter so we’re raring to go! What a fun night this will be…happening on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2015. Then on SEPTEMBER 18, 2015, I’m back at the Gin Fizz Lounge, one of my favorite places to play in the city. A fun loving crowd comes out that enjoy the music! We opened up the live music on Fridays at this venue and glad to be back with my Blues and Standards Group. This month at the 55BAR, guitarist Anders Nilsson will be filling in my residency slot on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2015. I’ll be back at the 55BAR on THURSDAY, October 29 with Herbie Nichols SUNG.
Finally, I’ve got to say THANK YOU to a wonderful house and time at the 55BAR on August 27th with Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone and Ken Filiano on bass. Took it to the quiet and intricate side – it was beautiful, playing mostly standards in the soundscape with so many possibilities of time, space and sound available made this music so special. Another project to keep moving forth with. Playing tunes in this way is a joy! Thanks for reading. Get all the deets all on gigs that’s coming up on the GIG calendar.
Wishing you all the best for a fruitful and positive Autumn full of music, peace and love,
What a month I had between Europe and Turkey. I first went over to do a tour with Herbie Nichols SUNG; after that I ran two masterclasses on my own at Bern University of the Arts in Bern, Switzerland, then moved on to Istanbul, Turkey to join the New York Jazz Workshop team for a week of master-classes at Bogazici University, truly the Harvard University of Turkey. Three different scenarios and each deeply fulfilling.
First off the Herbie Nichols tour…a small dream that revealed so much about where Nichols’ music can go and how open people were towards it. We’re taking an elastic approach to the forms, full of detours and improvisations that crop out of nowhere. So wonderful to hear how the music unfolds over four back to back concerts, every concert different from the other and always exploratory. I couldn’t have asked for better partners in pianist Achim Kaufmann and reedist Tobias Delius on this journey. These musicians know Nichols’ music inside and out, having played his pieces from years, a fact that left the possibilities endless. It was a revelation. I learned so much and see Nichols music in a different way now. Not just tunes that are a master-class in themselves of form, harmony and thematic development, but now as fluid materials so strong that those melodies are indestructible beacons of light carrying feelings, sounds and intuitive joy. The feedback and reaction to the tour were amazing and I was floored by the reaction to our unorthodox approach. The concert in Amsterdam, where the tour started had quite a few members of the Instant Composers Pool coming out to hear our way, musicians that know the Nichols’ book just as well, arguably much better than I do. The great reedist and shakuhachi player Ab Baars said “Good you came over to give us a great view on Mr Nichols’ music.” !!!
After the HBS tour ended in Berlin, Germany, I spent a few days there getting to know that great city during springtime. Always a lover of history, I learned more about the history of the city as East Berlin, with enough evidence around to back up the conversations. The night before heading out of town, I got to check out the Bad Plus in Berlin doing Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction with a front line to die for: Ron Miles, Tim Berne and Sam Newsome. Very honored to be Sam’s guest at the A Train and sit front row taking in all the beauty. Just in awe.
Then it was on to Bern, Switzerland where the master classes went so well at Bern University of the Arts, I almost cried. It was a small group of 5 amazing students in total, diving into a deep place looking at vocal confidence and audience connection. Every time I’ve given this workshop, there’s been a deep emotional response from at least one of the participants. This occasion was no different. The second class was on improvised group vocal improvisations with a rhythm section joining us exploring improvisation by ear over the blues, Stella by Starlight as well as free improvisation. Great discussions with these students, many of them at the Masters degree level in music and composition and it looks like I can go back! I was thrilled. The stay in Bern was brief, just a night before the master classes there, taking the night train back to Amsterdam that same evening. Amsterdam now just as a mini vacation, seeing friends and family. A cool spring, hell everywhere was cool – yet sunny and beautiful too. I left there wishing I could stay just a few days longer. It felt so good and connected this time.
Istanbul, Turkey. I was the vocal instructor of the New York Jazz Workshop team and after a successful run last year, we were invited back Bogazici University to teach over 40 students during their Spring Break. The vocalists were so excited after last year’s proceedings that we doubled the amount of vocalists this year! The students aren’t music majors but they’re brilliant students in their own fields. From freshmen chemistry majors to biomedical engineers working on their Ph.D’s…all for a love of this music. The week was dynamic and the team was immense: Drummer Tony Moreno, pianist Nikolaj Hess, bassist Jay Anderson, guitarist Kenny Wessel…alongside our ring leaders and co-directors of the New York Jazz Workshop – tenor saxophonist Marc Mommaas and Marco Chelo. Last year, I had the group of vocalists entirely and this year, I had all of the vocalists in the morning, and floated around in the afternoon to the ensembles that they were a part of. Such a new way of interacting for me, which was uncomfortable at first but I got into it and learned so much about myself and the power of those vocalists integrating themselves into the different ensemble lead by the instrumentalists on the team. Last night when we put on the final concert…we were floored by the range, depth and power of the performances and the audience of a few hundred people responded in kind. How lucky I feel to have had anything to do with this amazing outcome and what a place in the world to have this opportunity. Istanbul is incredible.
I started to fall in love with Istanbul…the people, sounds (the call to prayer blows my mind), the food, the love of music, the chaos and the love people show. Passionate beautiful people…warm and appreciative was my experience. It’s such a beautiful city too, almost like a shining jewel. The house we stayed in on campus was decadently comfortable, with views from on high of the Bosphorus at every turn. The five minute walk from my room to where I taught each morning was like walking past a postcard with differing views depending on the light. The amazing barges colored orange and red..stood in gorgeous stark contrast to that Bosphorus’ blue hue, sounds of the water moving through the trees just outside my window took my breath away too many times to mention. We also played a great concert at Nardis, the famed Istanbul jazz club. Marc Mommaas lead the band and featuring his compositions, and I joined the band with a couple choice standards and two originals of my own. A packed house and a gleefully vocal audience!! An intense period of deep connection to great people in a dream like location with jazz as the catalyst.
This has been a dream month for me. I can’t begin to express the deep gratitude I have for my life and music in this moment. The force of it. The BEAUTY of it!!!! What it does to people. A few months ago…I questioned the importance of music and my place within it. I couldn’t see the value as I saw it before when I decided to become a musician in the first place. I went through a period of reflection and trying to find meaning, lasting months. I live in a country that doesn’t really care about these things unless someone is successful or making a wave. New York is too hard a city to get carried away by beauty alone. How would you eat and take care of yourself? How do you show the importance of beauty in a throwaway society such as ours. I had to come away and throw myself in the deep end in places that understand what that means. To make it real, we were here because someone decided they wanted the students to have this experience, simple as that. I write this post on the flight home from Istanbul where the experience hasn’t been processed enough but I can say that I had the time of my life, connecting to friends, students, musicians and people just happy to be where we met. I come home a renewed being, having gone through some sort of metamorphosis that I can’t quite put my finger on yet…but you’ll hear it soon.
Great love and thanks to Achim Kaufmann, Tobias Delius, Tom Baeten, Nico Chientaroli, Danielle Oosterop, Renate De Rin, Wolfgang Glode, Lukas Frei, Ali Yekta Ulgen, Marc Mommaas, and Marco Chelo for contributing so much to make this month happen and unfold the way it did.
So what’s next? More music of course! Back at the 55bar on THURSDAY, APRIL 30th with cellist Marika Hughes and pianist Aruan Ortiz…playing a wide range of things. 7-9pm. No cover. . Then I’m a special guest with the ICP Orkest at Roulette on WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 alongside trombonist Ray Anderson. I love that band and it’s an honor to play with them once again! Later on in May, I head to the West Coast for a concert and workshop at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA on SATURDAY, MAY 23 and SUNDAY, MAY 24th respectively. The concert will feature fantastic Bay area musicians Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and John Finkbeiner on guitar – with special guest Steve Adams from the Rova Saxophone Quartet. The Workshop on the SUNDAY, MAY 24th is called “Improvising without Scatting” and I’m excited to share with participants all the interesting ways we can use our voices outside of the scat realm. Learn more about all of that here. Then it back to NYC, ending May 2015 at the 55BAR featuring guitarist Kenny Wessel and bassist Ratzo Harris doing a totally jazzy Early Set on THURSDAY, MAY 28th.
Ahh music…you weave a thread so deep that carries across my life. In deep gratitude for what I do and for what others allow me to bring into their lives as a musician and teacher. At this moment, I’m full and have what I need to keep going on. We’ll meet along the way.
In NYC the turn of the weather has come to us and Spring is now in the air. Just as I leave town to play some dates in Europe and later on in Turkey. I’m excited to get out on the road with Herbie Nichols SUNG – playing four dates in Holland, Belgium and Germany. Playing his music with pianist Achim Kaufmann and reedist Tobias Delius is a delight since both musicians know Nichols’ music inside and out and we’ve played once before as a group in 2013 for a buoyant crowd in Berlin, Germany. It was a great night I still think about so getting a chance to dig in even deeper feels like a great gift I’m looking forward to cashing in on! More importantly, the opportunity to perform Nichols music and expose more audiences to his amazing compositions makes me so very happy. Come catch us! Here’s where we’ll be…specifics in the GIG section of the site.
Herbie Nichols SUNG Fay Victor – voice, lyrics Achim Kaufmann – piano Tobias Delius – tenor saxophone, clarinet
The Maarten Luther Kerk
Amsterdam the Netherlands
April 10 De Singer
April 12th Novilla
After a few days off in Berlin, I’ll head to Bern, Switzerland to teach a day of masterclasses at the Bern University of the Arts! Looking forward to teaching a wonderful group of students on confidence building with their voices and more. Then its off to Istanbul, Turkey for a week of masterclasses with the New York Workshop team with Marco Chelo and Marc Mommaas at the helm. We’ll also play at the famed club Nardis in Istanbul on THURSDAY, APRIL 23rd! The New York Jazz Workshop was there last June and it was a joy – not only to teach these incredibly talented and brilliant students – but to also taken all that is beautiful about Istanbul. We should have a blast and feel even more at home than we did last year…
I’m back in NYC near the end of the month, just in time to make my 55BAR residency and this month, I’ve asked Aruan Ortiz on piano and Marika Hughes on cello to join me on THURSDAY, APRIL 30th for the Early Set at the 5’s playing some older originals and music from other sources. I’ve been interacting with both of these formidable musicians in the last couple years so this will also feel like home and not just a homecoming.
Excited to take Herbie Nichols SUNG on the road next month with the great Achim Kaufmann on piano and Tobias Delius on reeds. I’ve been performing and developing Herbie Nichols material now for over 10 years and put together a number of configurations to communicate the ideas I had for Nichols’ knotty compositions. The latest approach and bringing back piano into the fold started with meeting Achim Kaufmann in Berlin in 2012, spending a week hashing out ideas and approaches to Nichols tunes. I came back to New York and formed a group here to further develop the ideas in performance hoping to record the project and bring it out! That hasn’t happened yet and perhaps this tour will open up a few doors. Whatever happens, I’m always thrilled and honored to play Herbie Nichols’ glorious compositions and with great company. Spread the word!
Happy March Friends! The promise of Spring looms in an air of abstraction here in the NorthEastern US yet being able to say we’re in the month of March assures warm weather fairly soon. YES!
With all that said I’m wearing my warm jazz hat quite a lot this month in wonderful musical settings starting tomorrow as part of the Washington Women in Jazz Festival where I’m invited as a special guest with DC based group Ephemera and we’ll perform a double bill with RAW of Sweden on SUNDAY, MARCH 8th at the House of Sweden in DC. on SATURDAY, MARCH 7 – I’m giving a Masterclass at the Levine School of Music in DC as well. Very excited to perform in DC for the first time with this great group of musicians. Later in March, I’ll run a Masterclass much closer to home at Long Island University through the wonderful invitation of master musician himself, Sam Newsome. On the local gig front, I’m putting on another Greene Avenue Music Presents (the event in February with Tyshawn Sorey and Brandon Seabrook was a musical sensation !!!) presenting Herbie Nichols with a European aficionado of his music, Akhim Coughman and Ratzo Harris at I-BEAM in preparation for an upcoming Herbie Nichols SUNG Europe tour in April (more on that shortly), plus the 55Bar Residency this month features FV’s Blues and Standards (THURSDAY, MARCH 26th) for the Early Set with Anders Nilsson (guitar), Ratzo Harris (double bass) and Jason Nazary (drums).
If the weather itself doesn’t warm up come and wrap yourself up in some good music wherever you can find it. The last gig with the Fay Victor Ensemble at the 55 BAR found me entering an empty bar on a cold cold night to set up for the gig to having it filling up with smiling and welcoming faces bringing a warmth that went straight to the heart. Music warms from the inside out.
Sending Love and wishes to you all for a wonderful New Year! Lots of things coming up for FV in 2015 that will unfold as the year…well..unfolds! For now, want to tell you what’s going on in the short term and again I wish you all the best!! Thanks for reading.
Here’s WHAT’S UP in January 2015
>>>>>SUNDAY, JANUARY 4th join me, Ratzo Harris and Kenny Wessel for a sumptuous Jazz Brunch at the North Square Hotel. This trio played there for the first time last July and it was a blast! Looking forward to swing the afternoon away. Sets at 12:30 and 2PM, Reservations highly recommended. >>>>>SATURDAY, JANUARY 17th, I’m part of an ensemble of William Parker’s Tone Motion Theatre piece featuring some heavy hitters such as Cooper Moore, Hamid Drake and Joe McPhee in the mix. At Roulette, 8PM. $25. >>>>>THURSDAY, JANUARY 29th, I’m back at the 55BAR with Herbie Nichols SUNG featuring Herbie Nichols wonderful compositions stretched wide open alongside Anthony Coleman (piano) and Ratzo Harris (bass). 7-9PM, NO Cover, 2 drink minimum. >>>>>FRIDAY, JANUARY 30th, Evolving Series Special Event through Arts for Arts for #BlackLivesMatter. FV Free Improv ensemble featuring Daniel Carter (reeds) and Reggie Nicholson (drums, percussion). Set time, TBA.
May 2015 be the year you’ve been waiting for in your wildest dreams and may all those dreams come true! Thanks for reading.
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.
What this month this June will be will be will be! A fun and action packed month so let me get right to it.
Starting the month off with performing at private party/fundraiser for ARTOMI featuring former formidable fellows of Music OMI with flautist Jamie Baum, pianist Ursel Schlicht and guitarist Anders Nilsson on WEDNESDAY JUNE 4 then THURSDAY, JUNE 5 the Fay Victor Ensemble (FVE) performs at The Jazz Gallery in New York City for the first time! I, WE are so excited to play here and introduce our music to the Jazz Gallery audience. If you’re in town, please join us for a special evening where we’ll venture through the full book nine years running. The FVE just returned from an amazing appearance on the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares Series in Western Massachusetts, playing a 2-hour long set and receiving a standing ovation after! We can’t wait to bring some of that energy this coming Thursday to the esteemed Jazz Gallery stage.
A few days later I head to Istanbul, Turkey as part of the New York Jazz Workshop faculty where we’ll head up a week of workshops and masterclasses at Bognazi University in celebration of the institution turning 150 years old. Honored to say the least plus excited to go to this seriously important world city for the first time. Just as I get back, I’ll appear on Vision Festival 19 in duo with multi-instrumentalist/composer Tyshawn Sorey for the 6:00 Set on SUNDAY JUNE 15, Our first two outings as a duo was an transformational experience. I expect nothing less on this occasion. Vision Festival 19 begins at Roulette, starting on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11 specially honoring artist Jeff Schlanger and the great, great Charles Gayle. Check out full schedule for the Vision Festival here.
On TUESDAY JUNE 17 back at the Lexington Hotel with Anders Nilsson with jazz hats firmly in place. SATURDAY, JUNE 21st happy as pie to run an improvisation workshop on the Mise-en Music Festival (Check festival details and events here…this is a very special festival dedicated to new and contemporary music composers) and WEDNESDAY JUNE 25th I’m at the Austrian Cultural Forum with Reddeer, my collective trio with Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik and British bassist Dominic Lash. THURSDAY JUNE 26th back at the 55BAR with Herbie Nichols SUNG in TRIO – still coming down after a wonderful experience on the Brooklyn launch of the Sound it Out Series at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on May 15th.
As the month winds down, I’m playing in a number of configurations on Andrew Drury’s SOUP and SOUND Series including a set with Elisabeth Harnik on SATURDAY JUNE 28th. I’m closing out the month finally back on the Evolving Music Series on MONDAY JUNE 30 with a special group I put together that may never come together again called VoiceBassHorns with the great Will Connell on reeds, Vincent Chancey on french horn, Ken Filiano on bass. Should be a blast and will be the first time I’ll play with Will Connell.
In other news, I’m finishing up my first semester at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music running the Jazz Vocal Workshop and we’ll have our final performance on TUESDAY JUNE 24th on the main stage of the school. A great group of vocalists and I’m excited for them and this performance. Wow. How lucky and blessed I feel to have the opportunity to share so many sides of myself with so many of you. This year has been a wild and crazy ride; the possibilities seem endless. May all the dreams, visions and opportunities you seek find you and take you where you need to go. Walk in the dream of your own making.