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,
Fay

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!
Fay

March 2012 – Pianists, Pianists, Pianists!

Spring is coming, about to swing the corner…

Greetings from rainy but warm Amsterdam, on this early day in March 2012 to tell you about the March happenings. I’m on the road, not playing in NYC until the end of April with the Fay Victor Ensemble after a sorta lengthy hiatus. I was off playing side woman for most of last year, a new role for me but one that I’ve been cherishing since I’ve learned oodles working with the likes of Anthony Braxton, William Parker and Dutch reedist Ab Baars.

Something special about this month too for, as it turns out, I’ll be collaborating primarily with pianists. All original and incredible musicians, in different configurations. A new development for me because I’ve been more attracted to guitar with so much music I do. For many years, I eschewed pianists, preferring the open-voiced sound of guitar and especially of the guitarists I’m drawn too. Yet, idiosyncratic pianists such as Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols are arguably my favorite jazz musicians.

So starting with Misha Mengelberg, that most economical of pianists, a person on the Monk/Nichols trajectory, it makes perfect sense that I’d be a fan of his. I’m a fan and perennial student and I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to not only play with Misha but that I have even gotten to know him.

I met Misha years ago when I still lived in the Netherlands, after we spoke on the phone when I was busy with looking for Nichol’s Music back in 2000, as I wanted to record “House Party Starting” (which I did with guitar no less…) and it was suggested that I call Misha about it. I was nervous when I phoned, we hadn’t met in person although I’d heard and been floored by the ICP (Instant Composers Pool), that conversation was the entree. I was so ‘professional’ when I called his home, all my questions laid out with the explanations at the ready. He dismantled that idea from the start of the conversation, me realizing that this conversation will go the way Misha wants it to go. So I better stay open and just listen, as hard as that was to do at the time. At the end of the conversation, I asked him if I could send him a copy of the record when it was done and when I did and followed up, Misha’s response to the record was “it reminded me of nothing”, which if you know Misha is about the best compliment you could get. I didn’t know then it was a compliment yet the more I grew to know Misha the more I would see it as such. Since then, we’ve done little projects/performances. I joined him the last night of his opening curation of the Stone in 2005 – where we performed the first time. Later that year, we played at the Bimhuis, him in a quintet I put together. And then for a series of concerts called the FreeSong Suite, in quartet with bassist Ernst Glerum and trombonist Wolter Weirbos, in which we began deconstructing pieces of Nichols, Monk, Ellington and my originals with free improvisation in the mix. These were wonderful, open concerts that lead up to Misha asking me to join his legendary ICP for a small European tour in 2010, I also joined them for an evening on their US tour in 2011, part of a the three day run at Ars Nova Workshop in Philadelphia where I was invited to join them for one night. So now, performing DUO with Misha is for me, a dream come true and we two are not sure where we’ll start or end in the free improv foray but that’s the beauty and the magic… We’ll play on a triple bill on March 7th at the Bimhuis that includes a solo set of Roscoe Mitchell right after ours, closing out the evening with Longrun Development of the Universe with Simon Nabatov.

Then I head to the Austrian Alps to play my first European festival with ReDDeer, a collective free improv trio of Austrian pianist Elizabeth Harnik and UK double bassist, Dominic Lash. We all met as Fellows in 2010 at the OMI International Musicians’ Residency and hit it off! Last October, the trio premiered at Korzo in NYC and many thanks to Elizabeth for her help with getting us on the wonderful festival of improvised music, ArtActs, held high in the Austrian Alps. What a line-up for the festival as well, check out all the serious people on the festival here.

Then I head to Berlin, Germany to develop a project with German pianist Achim Kaufmann of which I’ll say more of after we’ve worked it out. ))) We’ll play a house concert with Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm in Berlin before I head to Muenster to collaborate with drummer Ben Bonniger and Alexander Morsey playing tuba and bass at the Museum for the Lackkunst.

then back to Amsterdam and then home…

Please keep up with all the dates on the FV website and if you’re on FB or twitter, look for me and let’s connect. I love taking and sending pics from the road, and keeping everybody informed, I’d hate to leave you out if you want to know what’s happening.

In other news, I just completed a workshop for Creative Options for jazz inspired vocalists in Amsterdam. The venue I rented double booked us and just when I thought I may have to cancel, one of the participants offered the use of her Mom’s home if it were available and it was! The entire group went there and it was such a special workshop, so spiritual in what we could express with each other. I think the situation at the beginning immediately bonded us and when the course actually started we were already friends. A very special moment.

Makes me warm and fuzzy. Just in time for spring.

Thanks so much for reading…

Fay

What’s Happening in February 2012

Hello Friends,

Unbelievably warm greetings from New York City.

No desire to jinx the rest of the winter but we’ve been dipping in and out of a winter heatwave of sorts. I’m not too mad about it yet I actually start to miss seeing snow and can’t help but think about a warming planet that feels OK for the moment but what does this portend?

I’ll ease off thoughts of doom and gloom for now and move into sending thanks for the friends that came out to the shows last month and that stopped by the APAP/JazzTimes DIY Crash Course in early January held at the Hilton in Midtown Manhattan.  Wonderful to see so many folks in the audience the entire day taking part in the panel discussions, checking out the smaller presentations and asking lots of good questions about how to move forward in this music. Publicist Scott Menhinick of Improvised Communications and of the relatively fresh launch of the online trade journal JazzDIY was on hand as well to talk about the JazzDIY and the DIY aesthetic for the music in general.

Mid month, I had a couple shows in town, one with Other Dimensions in Music  on the Evolving Series (January 16th) and the Jazz Vault Project at the 55BAR (January 25th). I’ve also started teaching a bi-weekly Jazz Vocal workshop for the New York Jazz Workshop! A fantastic group of students to start and we’ve added a new student each new session.  The aim is turn it into a regular weekly workshop through out the Fall and Spring season so get in touch HERE if you’d like to sign up or know anyone that would.  Please reach out to me with any questions as well and while we’re at it, I’m currently taking on new private students too.  Best way to email about these matters is to lessons@fayvictor.com.  Check out the recently updated teaching page for additional information.

Coming this month…I’m playing a very special concert this coming Friday night at the Firehouse Space in Brooklyn, with composer’s Moon Young Ha’s Mis-en Ensemble performing an incredible beautiful piece composed by Luciano Berio called O King, written in honor of and dedicated to the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This is the first time I’ll be performing contemporary repertoire and I’m nervous and very excited at the same time.  Please check out the link HERE or on Performance section of the FV site for details about the entire program for the evening.  This concert is FREE.  Later this month, I’ll appear with Ras Moshe’s Ensemble on the Evolving Series as well right before heading out to Europe to perform and collaborate with musicians there.

Much more about this in post for March but I can’t wait to share with you all the thrilling news of doing a DUO concert with the European Jazz master Misha Mengelberg at the Bimhuis on March 7th.  Please check out a clip of Misha and myself playing Thelonious Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ in 2008 in Amsterdam HERE:

March will keep me busy including an appearance on the ArtActs Festival in St. Johann(Tirol), Austria featuring the collective ReDDeer trio with Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik and UK bassist Dominic Lash, sessions with pianist Achim Kaufmann in Berlin, a vocal workshop based in Amsterdam and more.

Finally, I’m honored to once again by chosen as the El Intruso Female Vocalist of the Year and to see so many peers and friends on the list including Anthony Braxton himself as one of the Musicians of the Year and for Mr. Braxton’s opera Trillium E! Check out all the winners HERE and many thanks to all that voted.

Here’s hoping all is well with you and since I’m writing this from not just a warm but a winning NYC,  I’m wishing you read this in winning spirits!

In music,
Fay

 

 

Teaching a 4-Day Jazz Vocal Workshop this August!

Dear friends and students,

This coming August 2011, I’m happy to once again to lead the Jazz Vocal Workshop of the New York Jazz Workshop running from THURSDAY, AUGUST 11 through SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2011.

The workshop will focus on subjects such as: Vocal Styling, Phrasing, Repertoire, Ear Training, Improvisation, Fundamentals of Vocal Technique/Vocal Health, Diction, History, Charting your own Course and much more!  Please check here for more info and prices and spread the word if you can as well. Feel free to get in touch directly at lessons@fayvictor.com if you have any questions.

 

Life/Work Lesson: Filter

Life Lesson: Anton Goudsmit.

Anton Goudsmit is a Dutch guitarist who played in my Amsterdam based group for over 3 years. We met through my husband and since he was a fixture on the Amsterdam music scene,  I had heard Anton play live a couple of times.  I loved his playing, his energy.  He exploded on stage.  When I decided to put together  a group s few years later, I booked Anton for a couple small gigs, playing mainly standards with little rehearsal. I didn’t know it then yet my whole idea of music and what was possible started to change.  My husband and I had started writing and I yearned to express  my own words and voice more. I was busy figuring out my own sound, beginning to tire of the jazz mannerisms that I had latched on to and I didn’t know how to shake  off.

I can best describe Anton as the perennially good side of a 10 year-old with all the greatest of intentions. He is a warm, carefree, fun-loving, open, brutally honest and creative person who was and is always in the moment. Sometimes I’ve tried to have a conversation with him and he veers off looking at some clouds while he contorts is face in a weird way. Then he’s back, dead serious, looking at me dead in the eye. Always present. This made the experience of performing with him a gift because I never knew what would happen. He showed me the pure joy that lay in just expressing oneself in the moment and how an audience can react to that. Audiences LOVE him. Anton had no filter.

Anton and I connected immediately on those early gigs and started working together shortly thereafter.  As it turns out he is, to date one of the best musicians I have ever worked with. He is a serious musician and an original thinker. His skills as a guitarist are world-class and he has his own “sound”.  He is pretty influential on my sound because we played many unisono passages with voice and guitar on original pieces or arranged standards.  He had to figure out how to sustain a tone and I needed to blend my voice with is sound.  I asked him to be on Darker Than Blue, my second outing for the Dutch label Timeless Records that I’d record in New York.  I knew we were off  to a good start when House Party Starting, the Herbie Nichols tune  I couldn’t find the music to, turned out to be Anton’s favorite tune when he was studying.  He knew it inside and out. Everything fell into place on the recording. I asked him to be part of a new band I was going to form. He said yes immediately and stayed in the band until I left the Netherlands for good in 2003.

We performed a lot with that group so I saw how much he was a part of the music he created and how it all came out like water. How the ideas flowed in anout through his fingers. All the time.   Anton and I talked about it, me trying to understand something that was so purely him that he never gave the thing a thought. It’s just how Anton was.  Same off stage.  Same onstage. This was the way to BE. Was it possible for me to be that way too?  No buttoned up sentiments or canned nuances with walls in between me and the audience. The real thing – true connection. I too sought to be more honest in my expression. I wanted to express ME. Whatever that is. Anton showed me the door and walked me through it sometimes and it was a treacherous yet exhilarating feeling to try. Try to express ugly, sad, happy, angry, sensual, loud, strong, vulnerable, sassy, sexy, political, analytical, beautiful, spiritual, small, big, historical, bad, righteous, bawdy and a whole lot more.

I owe Anton big for that.

Check out a video and here him play on the link below..
Han Bennick & Anton Goudsmit

Originally posted on my teaching blog The Visible VoiceJuly 2008