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!


Thank you for reading,

Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year Friends,

My best wishes to you and all who are dear to you to have the best year yet and I’m looking forward to get this year off and running.  2012 was an awkward year for me, I mean some amazing things went down such as playing duo with the great Misha Mengelberg, performing with the great Hamid Drake and Dave Burrell and in Montreal for the first time, my teaching practice grew, thanks to my students I became a better teacher and I solidified the next two projects I’m going to release (more on one of those releases later in this post).  But it was also a tough year, climaxed by Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut just as the holiday season was in full swing. So many have and are suffering so it feels good to start fresh with hope and a positive destiny.  I’m doing my best to start the year off with a bang.  Lots going on this January including a month long I-BEAM Residency, an appearance on Sara Serpa’s curated vocal festival at Cornelia Street Cafe, the FVE appears at BAMCafe and we also record our third release and follow up to 2009’s The FreeSong Suite at the close of January 2013, set for an autumn 2013 release.  Incredibly excited about that!

Here are the dates and groups for I-BEAM (also check the gig calendar):

Herbie Nichols Sung
8:30 + 9:30 PM
FV -voice, words
Michael Attias – alto + baritone sax
Anthony Coleman – piano
Ratzo Harris – bass
Rudy Roylston – drums
The Fay Victor Ensemble/Ken Filiano’s Quantum Entanglements
Ken Filiano’s Quantum Entanglements
Ken Filiano – bass, compositions
Michael Attias – alto & baritone saxophone
Michael TA Thompson – drums
Tom Hamilton – Electronic Soundscapes
9:30 PM
The Fay Victor Ensemble
FV -voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – electric guitar, effects
Ken Filiano – double bass, effects
The Fay Victor Ensemble / Hot & Cold
The Fay Victor Ensemble
FV -voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – electric guitar, effects
Ken Filiano – double bass, effects
9:30 PM
Hot & Cold
Anders Nilsson – guitars
Aaron Duggan – guitar
The Fay Victor Ensemble
8:30PM + 9:30PM
FV -voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – electric guitar, effects
Ken Filiano – double bass, effects


Alongside this amazing opportunity is an appearance with Herbie Nichols SUNG on Sara Serpa’s curated Vocal Festival at Cornelia Street Cafe on TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2013 plus the Fay Victor Ensemble performs at BAMCafe LIVE in FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2013!! A wonderful place to perform and a great omen for us as it was the last gig the FVE did before going into the studio to record The FreeSong Suite back in 2008.  It feels good to have that same venue once again right before we record our next release. I end the month with Herbie Nichols SUNG once again, paired back down to a trio at the 55BAR on the last day of the first month of this new year.

Always at this time of the year, I try to reflect on all of the wonderful and gracious people I have as friends and those I come across in my travels that have been supportive of what I do and this year is no different, yet it took me a moment to feel grateful.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, seeing 2012 go felt great to me and I woke up today feeling clear and fresh in a fashion I haven’t felt in some time.  I don’t know why this feeling fills this specific day but it may have something to do with my final performance of 2012 – last week Thursday at the 55BAR. I played blues and standards with a crackpot group to a packed audience that was having a ball.  I realized later that I hadn’t felt that sort of connection with an audience in quite some time either and I want to do more about that.  Make the music I make with the focused agenda of connection no matter how abstract the music may be.  Its been a wonderful journey learning about what I do and say thanks to you all that listen.  I listen.  I feel when the music isn’t working, I trust you to tell the truth, especially in this city.  A big thank you to those who’ve been supportive, loving, caring and honest.

May 2013 be the year you go for the truth in your own lives and may you also love bigger and better than ever before.


September 2012 News

Hey there friends,

Summer wrapping up and I don’t know about you but I’m buckling down for an active Fall, coming out of an active summer! I spoke about July in last month’s post and August was also special, having gigs with the ExPosed Blues DUO and the Fay Victor Ensemble and getting to be an ensemble member in other folks’ happenings such as pianist Thollem McDonas‘ Everywhere Quintet and multi-media artist Jesse Hlebo‘s haunting tome on the US Prison system “Habit Toward Obedience” (thanks for coming out to all the shows EVERYONE!).  Finally, I taught the New York Jazz Workshop‘s Jazz Vocal Summit for the 3rd year in a row and this time we were not only sold out, it was also a transcendent experience for myself and the participants. I’ll run it next year as well and possibly expand the Summit to FIVE days.

Coming up in September, I start off the month doing a free jazz foray with one of my favorite people Ras Moshe at the Brecht Forum this SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th, part of a full night of music starting at 7PM.  A few days after that, I’m off to Rostov-on-Don, Russia to perform at the Rostov International Jazz Festival with the East/West Big Band (a rare treat for me) plus teach a Master Class for jazz instructors there. Rounding out the month at the 55BAR for the monthly Residency (on the LAST Thursday of every month). THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th, I’ll be there with bassist Ratzo Harris and reedist Michael Attias for Herbie Nichols SUNG, our own way through the music of Herbie Nichols. Get all the DEETS for the concerts and more on the Performance section of the FV website.

In other news:

*I’m excited to share that New Braxton House Records just released Anthony Braxton’s Syntactical Ghost Trance Choir with a slew of great vocalists on the first ever all vocal performance of Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music, recorded in 2011 at Roulette!  Learn more and download here. If you’re in town on September 13th, please visit Roulette for Anthony Braxton’s sole performance in New York City for the year.  Please go!

*I’m honored to share that I’ll be part of the legendary trombonist Roswell Rudd’s upcoming release Trombone for Lovers, featured on a track that will include John Medeski!  More news on that soon.

*With September and school in the air, its worth mentioning that I’m available for private lessons and more.  Please get in touch for more info and take a look at the recently updated teaching page on the FV website.

That’s all for now but I’ll be back in touch in early October with more news, gigs and more.

In music!

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…