A June bug told me to be out on the town!

Happy June!

After the touch and go weather month that May was, I’m happy to see my city bathed in sunlight and mild temperatures…and I’m happy to be out making music in this fair city this month (with a little step out of town as well) and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Getting there shortly and before I do, I want to talk about a special event last month – I put on my first student presentation. This was major for me. I’ve been teaching voice privately and in groups for going on 15 years and outside of any school based presentations I’ve been involved in, I hadn’t put on one of my own. So on THURSDAY, MAY 30, I gave over my monthly 55BAR residency and asked a few esteemed vocalists from the New York scene to come in and “SIT IN”. Students & Sit-ins turned out to be a wonderful  evening. The students gave strong performances and the vocalists that gave of their time and spirit were a delight and an inspiration to hear. Folks stopping by to hang were treated with a evening full of vocalists performing to great accompaniment of pianist John Austria and bassist Andrea Veneziani. I’m very proud of the work the students have put into their own personal sound and grateful to Lezlie Harrison, Marianne Solivan, Katie Bull and Amy Cervini offering a wonderful glimpse into how it can be done! We dedicated the night to the astounding pianist Mulgrew Miller who passed away last week and still has the jazz world shattered. It felt appropriate dedicating these performances to him, a dedicated educator and mentor beloved by so many for his unique take on the jazz tradition in his playing. May he rest in peace. Thanks again to all that were involved including the fantastic and supportive audience that came out to show love and happiness to all the vocalists.

Lots coming up this month, so I’ll dive right in with the happenings and as always performance details on the PERFORMANCE section of the FV sight.

– Coming up this SUNDAY, JUNE 9, the Fay Victor Ensemble is thrilled to be part of the Red Hook Jazz Festival, the first festival we’ve appeared on since our 2010 appearance on the Vision Festival and we’re really looking forward! Our new record, ABSINTHE & VERMOUTH is rolling out later this Fall will be the playlist for our 2PM set.

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 I’ll hang with Alby Balgochian’s BassCentric at the reopening of the wonderful 5C Cafe in the Lower East Side.

SUNDAY, JUNE 16,  I’m MC’ing the night of Vision Festival 18 at Roulette in Brooklyn. This year the festival honors drummer Dr. Milford Graves with a night devoted to him on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12th

– The ExPosed Blues Duo (Guitarist Anders Nilsson and myself) perform on Sara Serpa’s curated Voice Box Series at Cornelia Street Cafe on TUESDAY, JUNE 18 for the early at at 8:30PM. We’ll be unleashing some new directions on this gig…and coming up at 10PM is the Camila Meza quartet.

– A performance I’m just honored to take part with these esteemed gentlemen: pianist Aruan Ortiz, saxophonist Sam Newsome and the legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille as part of Arun Ortiz’s Music and Architecture Series at DROM on THURSDAY, JUNE 20 from 9 – 11PM.

– Heading to Baltimore to hang and play at Caton Castle on SATURDAY, JUNE 22,  performing Blues and Standards with a killing Baltimore based quartet.

– This month’s 55BAR residency has the esteemed guitarist Marvin Sewell joining me and perhaps a special guest. Come hang with us  for the Early Set on THURSDAY, JUNE 27.

Thanks for reading and I’m sending wishes of love, kindness, openness and support. I’m blessed to be able to go out into the world on my terms as much as possible and its because so many beautiful souls have told me the truth about themselves, their lives and how what I do may filter through that. Its such a gift to get that insight into others hearts and souls. I recently wrote a piece about the process of dying while waiting on someone you love desperately to come home, based on a true story. I performed that piece in a concert a few months ago and afterwards a listener came up to me and told me that when her Mom was dying, her Mom wanted to wait on her Dad to be there to see her go.  How her Mom held on as long as she could and he made it in time. The listener told me that she never heard a piece of music convey that idea as strongly as this piece did for her. What an honor that the listener shared that with me, letting me into something so deeply private while letting me know that my intention came across loud and clear to her.

May 2013 News

Spring has finally sprung in my part of the world and not a moment too soon, arriving just as May cruised in.  Trees became more lush, cherry blossoms began to bloom and fly through Spring air and birds sang more in earnest. Am I happy to see Spring our what? I am.  It took awhile and I welcome it with open arms…and perhaps feeling just a bit hopeful, grateful and full of faith.

Now despite the April chill, I had some wonderful musical times, highlighted by the New Commissioned Works at Roulette on April 21st where I took part in an incredible piece written by flutist Nicole Mitchell. What a great night that was! I also bought back Blues and Standards back to the 55BAR for my monthly residency there on THURSDAY, APRIL 25th – a slightly more laid-back affair than the first outing but still sweaty and swinging like I like it!  Great playing tunes with guitarist Anders Nilsson, bassist Ratzo Harris and drummer Jason Nazary.  They killed it and I’m looking forward to more with them in the near future.

For May’s residency I’m doing something extra-special at the 55BAR on THURSDAY, MAY 30th for the Early Set. I’ll present some of my private and workshop students in solo performances alongside some serious NYC vocal talent ‘Sitting- in’ for a tune including Marianne Solivan, Amy Cervini, Lezlie Harrison and Katie Bull.  I’m calling Students and Sit-In – it should be a fun night of song and sharing.  I hope you’ll join us.  Details up in the PERFORMANCE section.

Speaking of Katie Bull, on SATURDAY, MAY 11th, the wonderful vocalist is hosting a CALLING ALL FORCES, the first annual Earth Friendly Jazz Party – a party to celebrate the Earth with a great line-up of groups for a great evening of music, dance, poetry and art for a great cause! The ExPosed Blues DUO will perform at 8PM and the festivities jump off at 6PM.

In other news, I’m almost finished mixing the new Fay Victor Ensemble record Absinthe & Vermouth and I’m looking forward to presenting it to the world!!  We’ll play on the Red Hook Jazz Festival on June 9th and at the ShapeShifter Lab on July 2nd.  More news soon on release dates, etc…

Finally, here are some recent sounds and video:

Check out a video of Crystal, one of the selections from Absinthe & Vermouth

Check out my International Jazz Day Contribution

Check out a special take on Monk’s Brilliant Corners recorded in Berlin, Germany.

Thank you for reading –  I’m embracing this feeling of Spring, fleeting warm air passing by
and briefly stopping before it gets hot and after it was cold.

In music,

The Evolving Voice Series

The Evolving Music/Voice Series is a weekly series run by RUCMA/Arts for Art. Inc. on Monday Nights at THE LOCAL 269, a venue in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The Evolving Music Series started back in April of last year with the Vocal Series starting up in August 2009.  I curate the Vocal Series and I’ll talk mostly about that…so you have some information on what the series is about and why it is turning into such a wonderful thing!

When the owners of THE LOCAL 269 approached Patricia Nicholson Parker, Executive Director of the Arts for Art. Inc & The Vision Festival, to curate a Vocal Series, they had something else in mind.  They wanted breezy vocals to coax in passers-by on weekend afternoons during the summer. THE LOCAL 269 IS on a fantastic corner – so not a bad idea at all. But Patricia and I had something else in mind that we wanted to try…she being a staunch supporter of innovation and avant-garde art, music and dance (she did start and curates The Vision Festival after all) and myself an improvising vocalist with a definite affinity to vocalists that think out of the box with their voices and concepts.  We thought lets make the series more experimental, not exclusionary by genre or style and focus on vocalist/poets/spoken word artists that have a strong way of saying their own thing. THE LOCAL 269 liked the  programming direction we wanted and so we started, booking Tuesdays at first with two vocal sets on that night.

I am most grateful to the vocalists that signed on at the beginning, who were enthusiastic and felt the need in the community for a space like this to perform, especially since we didn’t know how it would work out. That vocal legends like Ellen Christie and Jay Clayton expressed joy at the idea and support for it from the start was just magnificent. What ‘evolved’ was a true cavalcade of deliciously interested and interesting vocalists who presented themselves with their voice.  Many things I heard, I hadn’t before or knew that it could even be done that way! So inspiring to hear strong voices proclaiming their thing and fortunately we have the space to make it happen. A true gift.  In addition to these riches are the musicians the vocalists carry in tow, usually just as unruly and rebellious as they are. Many musicians come and hang at the series as well. Now that the Vocal Series has merged with the Experimental Music Series, expect more melding too…more contact, more community and hopefully more inspiration. Please tell all your friends or anyone that loves good music and vocalists.  Things are good now but for that to continue, we need your support and your faces in the place!

Here’s a small list of the vocalists that have appeared on the Series so far: Jay Clayton, Ellen Christie, Leena Conquest, Jean Carla Rodea, Lola Danza, Lorin Benedict, Pyeng Threadgill, Lisa Sokolov, Yoon Sun Choi,  Juju Seahorse, Mossa Bildner, Jen Shyu, Sarah James, Golda Solomon, INTUIT,  Kyoko Kitamura, Chris DiMeglio,  Gina Leishman, Andrea Wolper, Becca Stevens, Mary DeProphetis, Ingrid Sertso, Nora McCarthy, Rosi Hertlein, Dean Bowman, Adam Matta, Steve Dalichinsky, Alison Wedding.

I thank ALL the vocalists and wordsmiths that have taken the stage and some of the upcoming vocalists on the series will BE:  Sara Serpa, Theo Bleckmann, Katie Bull, Mary DeProphetis, Yoon Sun Choi, John Zorn’s Vocal Masada Quartet and much, much more…Keep in touch with the Evolving Music/Voice Series schedule here and here.

We hope to see you and thanks for reading. More practical info below.

Corner of Suffolk Street & E. Houston
F/V Train to 2nd Avenue
First Set of Music: 7:00PM
Doors open: 6:00PM

GET in TOUCH at evolvingvoice@gmail.com
KEEP in TOUCH with Evolving Music/Voice Series:

Set Times will vary for the Vocal sets, please check schedule for exact times.

Vocalists in photos from top to bottom: Dean Bowman, Leena Conquest, Yoon Sun Choi & Sissel Vera Pedersen