Making Tracks this Fall 2011

Labor day weekend already.  Really? As slow as I took this summer, I’m still surprised its gone so soon.  That means life is about to pick up in my little music world.

And I’m so excited, feeling better in tune with the effect of music on us humans. I don’t know if I understand better per se, just observing more and filing the results.  turns out subways stations are a great lab to listen and see. A few months ago I wrote a piece based on hearing a cellist in the subway. Then a few days ago, I missed an L train, already late to where I was off to.  Seeing I had to wait 10 minutes for the next train annoyed me but there was this music. A big tall guy with a baby face strumming a guitar singing tunes from Soundgarden, Nirvana, etc. The now quiet platform gave me a seat on the bench not too far from the guitarist.  He went into ‘Creep’ from Radiohead. He just strummed the chords but he slowed the tempo down considerably and sang the words plaintively.  Those words soared and expressed what we all feel we are at times.  I’m glad I had on shades because I choked up. Gradually people moved on to the platform and were just as mesmerized, opening their wallets.  In silence.  Me too.  I’m still carrying around his version of ‘Creep’.  Anyone who thinks music doesn’t matter could observe these happenings.  The molecular structure of the structure you’re in changes shape when music is played within it.

Having some time this summer made it easy to appreciate this more.  Its so important to step back and observe when I can, living in NYC makes that hard. I relished this time since I know it’s going to get busy in what seems to be an exciting period full of new stories and of course I’ll share them here!  For now, I’d like to let you in on some news and what’s in store for the rest of the year.

Next week, I’m headed to Berkeley, CA to teach at the JazzSchool.  It will be my FIRST time to the West Coast to perform and teach a workshop – you can check out all the info here.  The West Coast has offered up a warm welcoming mat, rolled out with a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle by esteemed journalist Lee Hildebrand.  It’s online now and you can read that here! I’ll be playing with bassist Lisa Mezzacappa & guitarist John Finkbeiner – playing some originals and free improv, for sure. The following day, on September 11th, I’ll run a MasterClass talking about the “Creative Option” for vocalists.  There are some spots available. Check here for more info.

Shortly after I head to Germany for a mini “Breezing Blues through Germany” tour with pianist Christian Bleiming, we play a couple clubs and make an appearance on the Coesfeld Jazz & Blues Festival as well.  I’ll meet  musician/composers Ab Baars and Ig Henneman in Amsterdam to start working out the music of the Invisible Blow, the tour I’m so honored to be a part of in November 2011. The Invisible Blow is a celebration of 20 years of the Ab Baars Trio( with bassist Wilbert DeJoode and drummer Martin van Duynhoven), presenting new compositions by Ab Baars inspired by: William Carlos Williams, Charles Bukowski, Hans Faverey, Anneke Brassinga, Aischylos, Joyce Carol Oates, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, Weldon Kees, Robert Creeley, Seamus Heaney. We’ll tour Europe making stops in Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Romania and the Netherlands.  We record the project at the end do for release at a later date. Ab Baars has one of the most gut-wrenching tenor tones, full of brass and knuckles.  And as a composer, his music is some of the most inspired I’ve heard for keeping the urgency of the ‘free’ while writing melodies that outline the structure beautifully.  It’s going to be a thrilling musical ride in which I’m sure I’ll learn a lot, be challenged and inspired.  Learn more about what the Invisible Blow is about, the tour and where we’ll be here.

In between the European forays, I’ll play in the Anthony Braxton Festival, a 4-day extravaganza from October 5-8, 2011.  I’m in The Ghost Trance Choir on October 7th and the World Premiere of Trillium J on October 8th!  All happening at Roulette.  The programming is incredible, so many sides of Anthony Braxton will be on display.  How cool is that?  In addition, Trillium E, the first recorded opera of Anthony Braxton’s will be released in October 2011.  Learn more about that and all things Anthony at the Tricentric Foundation.

The Evolving Music Series will be back up and running in October as well, still at Clemente Soto Velez but temporarily housed in the 2nd floor theatre until mid-November when we resume the Series in the Gallery space. Also check out InGardens, starting up in September through October for the third year in a row. Bring creative experimental music to some of the city’s community gardens.  Keep up with both events here. Later in October, Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnink comes to town and we’ll continue to develop the trio started at MusicOMI in 2010 when we were fellows (along with UK bassist Dominic Lash).  We’re calling it ReDDeer.  We’ll explain in person why! Please check the PERFORMANCE page on the FV website for firm DEETS.

KAISO STORIES had a great review in Cadence by Jerome Wilson, where he says “Victor is proving to be one of the most extraordinary vocalists on the scene today and here she comes off as actress, sorceress, and temptress, working an area of rough, declamatory improvisations in the tradition of Jeanne Lee and Abbey Lincoln but with her own burning passion and galvanic force.”

Thanks for reading.  Here’s hoping that the tracks you’re making are yours as much as possible.  Love and 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!


SEPTEMBER 2010: A Legend has gone, BARE Drops, Silkheart beckons…

Dear Friends,

How was your summer??

Fun, fruitful, restful and more?  For me it was a working and restful summer.  An amazing residency at MUSIC OMI that I was fortunate to be a part of (JULY 22 – AUGUST 9) was just what the foot doctor Mississauga ordered it seemed.  I returned back home refreshed and renewed.  I’m glad I did because the break was wonderful but meant that lots didn’t get done while I was away and this Fall is active to say the least…so without further ado, let me hip everyone to what’s happening and I hope to catch you out sometime in September.

BUT before August skidaddles away, BARE, the debut album of my duo with FVE guitarist Anders Nilsson drops from the sky as a brand new baby.  Save the date for the CD RELEASE for BARE at Barbes on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 at 8PM and Nate Chinen wrote a wonderful piece in Saturday’s New York Times about Abbey Lincoln’s legacy after her passing on August 14, 2010 and talked about the release of BARE and more in an article you can read here. Wow…Abbey Lincoln.  How does it feel to be included in a piece on one of the most seminal jazz vocalists of the last half century? Just amazing to even be considered for it and what a loss to the music world at large, not just jazz. Hell, what a loss to the spirit world of this realm.  To me, she was such a strong articulator of her ideas and the fact that she wrote many of the words she sang just made her presentation all the more intense.  They were great words coming from a woman who obviously LIVED a full life, observing the ebb and flow and negating none of it.  At least this is what her music said to me. She was one of the last links to the tradition of jazz vocals, coming out of Billie Holiday and I felt a void so big for days after her passing, because history died that day too. I had a gig two days after and I have no songs of hers in my repertoire yet I wanted to honor her in my own way.  During one of the improvs  and I started this pattern on “I said/you said” ending with “you said now that Abbey’s gone, maybe jazz is dead.” The day I found out that she died, I happen to take some photos of clouds (I’m a bit of a cloud fanatic) that were in a configuration that I can NEVER recall seeing.  The wonderful spoken word/song artist Paul Harding thought they were carpets laid for her journey…

It was a sad day indeed but her legacy and lessons lives on.

Before the BARE CD Release though, stop by Evolving Voice and Music on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 at 8PM for a very special performance of yours truly with the renowned avant-garde group Other Dimensions in Music (trumpeter Roy Campbell, reedist Daniel Carter, bassist William Parker and drummer Charles Downs – WHA??!!) on the series down at the Local and I’m thrilled about this.  Doing a special project called Kaiso Stories based on the texts of Calypsos from Trinidad & Tobago, where my roots are from.  We go into the studio with this project on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010 for the Swedish based Silkheart Records!  I’ll keep you posted on the release as  I know more and performance details are in the performance section.  But I can tell you that I am thrilled AND honored to do this project with these gentlemen.

I’ve been wanting to do a music project based on Calypso for a long time yet didn’t have a clear idea of how best to represent the music.  I didn’t want it to sound cliched or that I was informing the world what a ‘calypso’ should sound like.  Calypsos have some of the best lyrics and stories I’ve ever experienced or read and I want to focus on that.  See, calypsos started out as a newspaper for the people of Trinidad and citizens trusted what the calypsonian (calypso singer) had to say than any politician or government official. Because of this, many calypsos have been censored by the Trinidadian government. Yet the best calypsonians find ways of masking their message to officials through the use of double-entendre, using patois and other clever devices to get the news through.   Humourous, politcal, social, sexual – you name it, the subject matter varied widely and the calypsonian needed to keep his audience enraptured by how the story was told because Trinidadians are some of the toughest audiences anywhere you can find. What a gig and I haven’t even begun to talk about how this all relates to Carnival, of which Trinidad & Tobago has the 2nd largest Carnival celebration in the world after Rio de Janiero.  So we’re recording a project that focuses on the lyrics told in these songs..and that’s all I’ll say about it for now.  Stay tuned!

Then join Arts for Art/RUCMA/The Local 269 for a special celebration of Evolving Voice Series turning ONE on MONDAY SEPTEMBER 20! We’re celebrating by having an ALL VOCAL program for the evening with Patricia Nicholson Parker and William Parker, The Fay Victor Ensemble, poets Patricia Spear-Jones and Steve Dalichinsky and  vocalist extraordinaire, Lisa Sokolov!  Sure to be a special night in celebration of a series that has blossomed in this last year and I’m so proud that it’s still going strong.  I will post an piece about this event later in the month but please SAVE THE DATE.

That closes out September for me will also be my last gig in town for a minute. I’m off to Holland at the end of September to perform with reedist Michael Moore’s group and then some, teach some workshops and tour Germany with a blues project towards the end of October into November.  I’m back in NYC in mid-November and hope to meet you then unless some of you are hanging overseas…

Thanks for reading and for your support of the music!


PS: Purchase BARE at AMAZON.COM and CDBABY…Print copies available on AUGUST 31st!