Early Spring Happenings

Hey Friends,

This post is later than usual and I see that it gets harder and harder to keep up with regular postings but I will do the best I can and keep you posted with all the happenings as soon as I can get to it.

For starters, I’m thrilled to have just come back from Baltimore after playing this past weekend with an amazing group of musician as part of the Creative Differences Second Sunday Series, where they invite a special guest to perform their own compositions.  I was thrilled to perform early Fay Victor Ensemble pieces featured on Cartwheels Through the Cosmos and The FreeSong Suite with the likes of pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, bassist Michael Formanek, drummer Eric Kennedy, reedist John Dierker and trumpeter Dave Ballou. They really dug into the music and Baltimore came out too, a very nice showing of folks and of love for the music

Yep, life is getting busier which is wonderful but not without it’s stresses.  Thankfully the release of Absinthe & Vermouth (Greene Ave Music 2013) has exposed the music of the Fay Victor Ensemble to new ears!  So we’re working on our first European tour for April 2015 and before that We’ll play in Jazz Pioneer’s Series in Western Massachusetts (MAY 25, 2014), The Jazz Gallery in New York City ! (JUNE 5, 2014), we’ve been invited to take part in a special initiative for the New York Restoration Project in Summer 2014 and we’re working on a small tour of  the East Coast for the Fall with set dates in Washington DC at the Bohemian Caverns (OCTOBER 5, 2014) and more to come. The biggest honor of all comes just next month on SATURDAY, APRIL 12 when we’re honored to appear as part of the TriCentric Foundation Presenting Series sharing the night with Anthony Braxton’s Falling River Nonet.  The Fay Victor Ensemble will premiere the commissioned piece Neighborhood Dynamics with very special guests flutist Nicole Mitchell and Vincent Chancey on french horn.  Jochem van Dijk and I cannot express the delight and honor we feel to contribute to this amazing festival, looking forward to present this piece to the world. I hope you check out as many nights as possible of the Presenting Series and the Trillium J the following week as well.

Before all that and much closer to now some wonderful things coming up as well:

*This FRIDAY, MARCH 14 I’m performing a duo concert with Ratzo Harris on the Main Stage at MICHIKO Studios performing standards, originals with solid doses of improvising inside and outside of the forms. – starting at 8PM.

*SATURDAY, MARCH 22 I’m back at the Classon Social Club with FV’s Blues and Standards.w/ Anders Nilsson (g), Ratzo Harris (b) and Jason Nazary (dr).  2 sets at 8 and 10PM – NO Cover, 2 drink minimum.

*THURSDAY, MARCH 27 back at the 55BAR for the monthly residency with a new project “Old Songs, New Skin” with Darius Jones (as) and Marika Hughes (cello) performing older compositions featured on recordings such as Darker Than Blue and Lazy Old Sun.  Early Set – 7-9PM.  NO Cover, 2 drink minimum.

Finally, I’m very happy to announce that I began running the weekly Jazz Vocal Workshop at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on Monday nights! I have a wonderful group of singers and looking forward to being part of this venerable institution.  I’m still running the Advanced Vocal Workshop for the New York Jazz Workshop for the past two years as well.  As a teacher, I can say that I’ve never enjoyed teaching as much as I do now.  I feel so fortunate to have engaging, intelligent and creative vocal students that I learn so much and have lots of fun while doing it.  I do love my job at stealthyweightloss.com.

2014-03-06 12.34.02

Also make sure you read this amazing a buying guide on food dehydrators and much more.

February 2013 news, thoughts and views

Yup, just under the fresh heels of a winter snowstorm in New York City and since I’ve yet to step out in it, I love it to death.  Its so wonderful to look at from the distance of dry warm feet and until I have to step out into it, that’s how I’ll feel.  No winter is not my thing, but that’s no reason to move away from New York City (although it was a GREAT reason to move away from Syracuse, NY), so I’m looking forward to see it go.  Later this month I’ll step out of town but no warmer climes for me but perhaps if I’m lucky more temperate.  And then there’s the music that’s happening before I head out of town which I hope will heat things up. Before getting into what’s coming up, I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to all the folks that came out to the shows plus a small wrap up of the amazing music month that was January 2013!

The moment JANUARY 1st, 2013  landed and I woke up, I felt like a new person, like something strange had lifted and flew away. So cliche no?  Yet it is the absolute truth and boy did I need that sort of energy going into the month as I had more gigs in NYC last month that I’ve ever had since I’ve loved here ( or ever) and ended the month recording the new Fay Victor Ensemble album ABSINTHE & VERMOUTH, due for release in September 2013. I’m so proud of what guitarist Anders Nilsson and double bassist Ken Filiano contributed to the music…boy oh BOY!

January started though with the music of Herbie Nichols as I opened the IBEAM residency I had on Saturdays in January with the launch of the quintet version of the project including Rudy Roylston on drums and the great Anthony Coleman on piano along with Michael Attias on reeds and Ratzo Harris on bass.  The quintet also played a set at Cornelia Street Cafe as part of vocalist Sara Serpa’s Voice Box Festival on JANUARY 22nd.  The rest of the residency was the Fay Victor Ensemble honing the original music we’ve been playing plus brand new pieces for the recording.  It was a great time at IBEAM, a wonderful performance space in Brooklyn and as a band we grew over the three Saturdays we played there.  We filmed the music too and here’s a teaser video of what’s to come on the new record: CRYSTAL – Fay Victor Ensemble The band also played at BAM Cafe LIve, one of the best venues to pay in the city with a great crowd and a fantastic atmosphere.  Great performing there again, I saw it as a good omen that we play at BAM at this time since we also performed at the Bam Cafe Live right before recording our last CD, The FreeSong Suite in 2008.  Looking forward to sharing this music with everyone and I’ll keep you posted on events and sounds as they unravel!  January ended at the 55BAR for my monthly residency there with Herbie Nichols in trio with Razto Harris and Michael Attias.  That was so much fun and a great way to end where we began the month with Herbie Nichols.  I’ll be back at the 55BAR on March 28th with the Lisa Mezzacappa/Fay Victor TRIO!

A very important note: I was honored and humbled to be asked my William Parker to sing a piece he wrote for David S. Ware’s Memorial at St. Peter’s Church on JANUARY 7, 2013.  The evening was a pristine example of space, love, class, dignity, compassion and music with performances by Matt Schipp, Guillermo Brown, William Parker, Cooper-Moore, Joe Morris, Steve Dalachinsky, Daniel Carter, Darius Jones, Muhammed Ali and more.

Coming up this month, this TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12th, I’ll appear with the ExPosed Blues DUO and special guest Darius Jones for a set sharing the bill with Turkish guitar phenom Timucin Sahin at DROM and then I’ll appear with William Parker’s Essential Orchestra at Roulette on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16th.  Then I’m one the road, meeting family in France and heading to Berlin to work on and play Herbie Nichols with pianist Achim Kaufmann and tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius, culminating in 2 nights of concerts MARCH 1st and 2nd in Berlin.  February began with the openingof the Evolving Series and a special duo with drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey.  It was a powerful start and I trust there will be more, and soon.

Going back to January once more -it was an incredible month but a sad month as well. With the loss of Butch Morris suddenly and the recent passing of Jayne Cortez and now most recently Donald Byrd (amongst so many others), it hard not to feel that our heroes and mentors are leaving quickly, like butterflies. In the case of Butch Morris, I can say with great honor that I worked with him and learned a lot from him when I did.  I attended his conduction workshops in NYC back in February 2005, the now famous Black February and attended many of those events.  I later became part of his Chorus of Poets for about three years and I tapped into Butch’s ‘Conduction’ method at a time when I was figuring out how to improvise on my own terms and truly venture into the free. It was great to have a method of improvisation where you essentially respond to his baton and in turn that creates an orchestrated sound in its entirety, whether its with voices, strings, brass, percussion or any combination of these. It was an enlightening, sometimes frustrating experience to go through but I’m a much better improvisor because of it.  Rest in peace, Mr Morris.

Thank you for reading and many thanks for your continued support.  Let’s go out and support each other’s music. Let’s share and gather for reasons other than death or loss because in sadness and in good times – MUSIC IS THE BEST.



Happy NEW 2010, Friends!

Happy New Year and Decade to You all!

First off, thanks to your support, THE FREESONG SUITE did very well after its release back in September 2009!! (See KUDO’s post for the details).

The great reaction is just astounding and I am grateful that the all-original program on THE FREESONG SUITE has resonated so strongly for some listeners.  I’m humbled and feel empowered at the same time because this record was made with so little compromise.  This IS the music we wanted to make, which in turn, makes it all the more incredulous.   I’m thankful to the fantastic group of musicians that make up the Fay Victor Ensemble: Ken Filiano, Anders Nilsson and Michael TA Thompson – a group of musicians into sparring in a democratic way.  I couldn’t ask for more than that.  For 2010…the FVE will start working on material for the next record and future dates for the group in New York City are forthcoming, yet for the most part the first half of 2010, I will be tied up with other things musical and I might add…thrilling! Starting things off with a bang later this month…

Anders Nilsson and I will release ‘BARE‘ our debut release of the ExPosed Blues Duo.  It’ll be available first as a digital download with the physical CD to come later…stay tuned for those details. There is a small licensing glitch with one of the pieces – hence the delay of the release but it’ll be worked out in time….Anders and I will celebrate  the release later in the month at The Brecht Forum (Saturday, January 30th, 2010) with the great Tomas Ulrich on cello –  (actually it will be a double bill with the amazing Kyoko Kitamura and dancer Mark Lamb) and in March as part of the Evolving Voice Vocal Series.

Before that on Thursday, January 14th, I’m at The Stone with the Jazz Vault Project for the 8:00PM Set.  With Michael Attias (alto + baritone saxophone), Jose Davila (tuba)  Anders Nilsson (acoustic guitar), we’ve  been playing out more recently and getting the music together…plus we’ve added new Herbie Nichols pieces to the repertoire. And how great of Matana Roberst to include us when she was booking the Stone. Also, I’m happy to be included in a fantastic project of alto saxophonist Darius Jones (who just took 2nd place as Best Debut in the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll!) at Roulette on Wednesday, January 27th.

I’ll start rehearsal for a film appearance taking place in February 2010 before heading off to Russia to tour with Tenor Saxophonist Oleg Kireyev in Moscow and beyond. In March 2010, I’ll be gearing up for a major opera project with Anthony Braxton of which I am honored to be a part of!  In April,  Anders Nilsson and I head to Chicago to play the Velvet Lounge and more. May 2010 finds me participating in an absolute dream come true for me – I will be touring in the Netherlands and Germany with the Instant Composers Pool (ICP), one of the most important and influential bands for my whole musical aesthetic. To make the occasion that much sweeter, one of the performances with ICP will take place as part of the MusikTriennale in Koln as a double bill with Henry Threadgill’s ZOOID.

And more…the RUCMA/Arts for Art, Inc. Evolving Voice Vocal Series will continue, now on MONDAYS (as of January 4, 2010) with the Evolving Music Series.  Very excited about the change and the Series itself.  The experience of having all these amazing vocalists take part in the Series is just incredible. I am being shown on a weekly basis how diversely beautiful vocalists can be plus hearing how expressive and unique the voice is. YES! (See the EVOLVING VOICE post for more information)

Plus there are some new sounds up on the Jazz Vault and ExPosed Blues Project respective MySpace pages.  Have a listen here on the Jazz Vault page featuring our uber-special way with “Mood Indigo” and a version of Nichol’s “The Spinning Song”  done as a duo with Michael Attias (alto sax) and myself  – live @ 55BAR in December 2009. And here, on the ExPosed Blues Project page, check out a KILLIN’ version of “Mother Earth” recorded live @ the Stone in July 2009 with Tomas Ulrich on cello.

Thank you for reading and I wish you a happy, healthy, enriching and prosperous New Year.
The Upcoming Gigs section on the home page for all the Gig details and I hope to see you at one of shows.
and finally as a not-so-great leader once said -”Seize the Moment!”

In love and music,

Purchase The FreeSong Suite

FVE_Cover A small update on some info on how The FreeSong Suite is doing and how to purchase your own copy!  Thanks for reading.

Purchase The FreeSong Suite:

itunes     amazon.com    downtownmusicgallery    cdbaby.com

or send a message through the website



**Currently #11 on the CMJ Jazz Charts
**Recommended New Release in September issue of All About Jazz – New York

What the press are saying:
“A jazz singer who makes her notes slow, wide and meaningful—she often sounds like an evening-out of Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln—Fay Victor uses a great and simple concept on The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)…a studio recording organized like a live set. This means the band flows from one song into another, without knowing where it’s going next…these songs have distinct melodic character: fascinating ballads with Anders Nilsson’s country-bluesy guitar soloing, drum chants, some careful free improvising.”
Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“From free improv to the blues to alt-rock and back again, The FreeSong Suite is easily one of my top 10 records of 2009.”
Jason Crane, The Jazz Session

“Victor scats, vocalizes, chips, mumbles and sings bluesy chromatics or angular displays of dexterity, delivering the unexpected with beauty, depth and innovation.”
Wilbur MacKenzie, All About Jazz-New York

The FreeSong Suite, peers into the NYC-based vocalist’s challenging and rewarding world of captivating vocal work and stirring spontaneity.”
Andrew Zender, PopMatters.com



“Victor has the chops, the phrasing, the band and the courage to make contemporary music that references contemporary culture and materials that range from Carter to Berberian to Sun Ra to Hendrix. This is sheer, unadulterated brilliance. Buy it!”
Nilan Perera, Exclaim.ca, Canada’s Music Authority

The New York Times has reviewed the FreeSong Suite!

Ben Ratliff inclIn the Stoneuded The FreeSong Suite in Sunday’s Playlist in the New York Times!  I am thrilled and grateful…

“A jazz singer who makes her notes slow, wide and meaningful — she often sounds like an evening-out of Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln — Fay Victor uses a great and simple concept on “The FreeSong Suite” (Greene Avenue Music).”
Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/arts/music/11play.html?_r=1

The FreeSong Suite Released Today


So excited about the release of the FreeSong Suite and to presenting to the world the evolution of the Fay Victor Ensemble and our approach to creative vocal music that we think is as accessible as it is challenging.  Legendary and eminent guitarist Gary Lucas wrote the liner notes and mentions that the record is “…hypnotic in its flow, every song in the three sections of the suite a masterpiece of compressed story-telling…”

We will celebrate the release on the first day of October at Roulette in New York and on Sunday, October 4th at the Rotunda in Philadelphia.

The Fay Victor Ensemble is:
FV-voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson-guitar, effects
Ken Filiano-bass, effects
Michael ‘TA’ Thompson-drums

Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”

Roulette 20 Greene Street
(between Canal and Grand Streets)
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15 Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30 & Seniors: $10
Roulette members / Location One members: FREE.

Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”

5:00PM – One Set Only
The Rotunda 4012 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: (215) 573-3234

The FreeSong Suite is a recommended New Release in AAJ-NY
-Laurence Donahue-Greene, Managing Editor
September 2009 AAJ-NY

Purchase a copy or download a tune at
Downtown Music Gallery

Upcoming Performances

A couple performances coming up…one historical and one nice and local but with an added foreign flavor.  I’ve also added a few early reviews of The FreeSong Suite which comes out next week Tuesday!   And our CD release is on October 1st at Roulette…(www.roulette.org)



A site specific work at the DIA:BEACON
“Stuyvesant Reluctant”
Pocket Oratorio for 3 voices and cello
Kyoko Kitamura
Yoon Sun Choi
Fay Victor
Tomas Ulrich


55 Bar

7:00-9:00PM/Early Set
No cover, 1 drink minimum
Twisted Standards and Free Explorations

Hilliard Greene – double bass
Dom Minasi – guitar
with special guest Oleg Kireyev – tenor & soprano sax

Save the date and please join us on…


Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”
Roulette 20 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15 Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30 & Seniors: $10
Roulette members / Location One members: FREE. www.roulette.org

Looking back and forward

Dear Friends,

Happy September to you.  This time of year tends to be filled with summer  shutting down and life revving up for the cold and all the activities swirling around it.  Kids go back to school, life resumes a  cold-world order and I do hope a relaxing summer sets a precedent for you to ride out the rest of the year.  Have I had a relaxing summer?  Absolutely not! Yet I feel so invigorated and grateful for the enriching summer that I had.   I’m using the remaining days to take in a dose to get me through this next period which  is chock full of  activities and its inherent stresses.  But more on that later in this note!  First I’d like to share just a bit about my summer and the riches procured because.


I had the honor  to perform at The Stone in NYC three times this summer as a bandleader.  First in July, Brandon Ross curated and asked the Fay Victor Ensemble to take part.  It wasn’t our best gig but the thrill of playing in here and directing the sound in my own way for the first time was exhilarating and the set the course for the two concerts to follow in August under Tyshawn Sorey’s curator-ship of the space.  First in August, the ExPosed Blues Duo (with guitarist Anders Nilsson) with Tomas Ulrich on cello. We did about 5 tunes in the space of an hour, stretching, chanting, wailing, screeching, straight-beseeching the blues and her cousins in this space…where you could hear a pin drop throughout.  So intense was this thing.  I’d been thinking about cello and the blues for a while and this union was a match made in purgatory, alongside Anders’ dirty guitar. We’ll work it again in October, close to Halloween when these sounds will resonate even more with the times. Perhaps you can join us and I’ll post something on the myspace page from the Stone gig at www.myspace.com/exposedbluesproject very, very soon.

The last concert at the Stone was with trombonist Roswell Rudd and Tyshawn Sorey, performing pieces of mine, Herbie Nichols and a snippet of a bigger project around haikus. Mind altering, life changing and challenging as hell, this was a meeting of the minds and a collaboration with space shifters and openers. I could breathe tons of air with the molecules left bare.  Space is the place.  Sun Ra said it and now I get it and I want more of THAT.

Moreover, I began curating a left-of-center vocal series at the Local 269 with Arts for Art, inc./RUCMA in August as well, that has already had some memorable performances.  This is a dream of mine to present vocalists doing original, experimental and distinct work in a venue that is open to this presentation.  The Evolving Voice Vocal Series is all about casting a spotlight on vocalists with idiosyncratic styles and on the more experimental side of the music.  Patricia Nicholson Parker and I are curating the series and we’re delighted to be involved in highlighting what we consider to be an under-served side of the scene. Keep up with the schedule at www.myspace.com/rucmanyc and rucma.org.  Questions, suggestions, booking for the series? Please get in touch at evolvingvoice@gmail.com. Coming this month on the Series:  Lisa Sokolov, Leena Conquest, Gina Leishman, Ellen Christi, Yoon Sun Choi and Dean Bowman!!

The FreeSong Suite

As I have been sneezing, and hinting at for the past couple months  – The  Fay Victor Ensemble is about to release our new record, The FreeSong Suite on September 22, 2009.  So excited about this record and presenting to the world the evolution of the FVE and our approach to creative vocal music that we think is as accessible as it is challenging. So interested in how folks will take the music and looking forward to lots of feedback and discussion about it too. Legendary and eminent guitarist Gary Lucas wrote the liner notes and mentions that the record is “…hypnotic in its flow, every song in the three sections of the suite a masterpiece of compressed story-telling…”. We’re celebrating on the first day of October at Roulette.

Fay Victor Ensemble CD Release “The FreeSong Suite”

FV-voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson-guitar, effects
Ken Filiano-bass, effects
Michael ‘TA’ Thompson-drums

Roulette 20 Greene Street
(between Canal and Grand Streets)
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15 Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30 & Seniors: $10
Roulette members / Location One members: FREE.

The FreeSong Suite is a recommended New Release in AAJ-NY
-Laurence Donahue-Greene, Managing Editor
September 2009 AAJ-NY

The FreeSong Suite Contest!

Now for some fun.  I’m giving away 3 copies of the FreeSong Suite!  How cool is that?
Here’s the deal:

The FreeSong Suite is divided into three parts or ‘rooms’.
Each room has a number; which are related to real things.
Take a stab at what they mean and if you come close, you’ll win a free copy of the FreeSong Suite!

Here are the room numbers:




All entries for consideration should send their guesses to ecru_sitges@yahoo.com By September 21st, 2009.

Moving Forward

I am happy to announce that my husband Jochem van Dijk has composed  a site specific piece in commemoration of Henry Hudson’s ride up the Hudson River. His pocket oratorio (with libretto by Gerhardus van Wilgen) will be performed by three decidedly non-Dutch but definitely immigrant vocalists: Kyoko Kitamura, Yoon Sun Choi and myself alongside Tomas Ulrich on cello.  This is an exciting development for the a cappela vocal quartet  (sans Jen Shyu, on tour in the Far East) to perform  in one of the most glorious spaces in the DIA Museum in Beacon, NY – the Chamberlain room of sculptures made of salvaged automobiles.

And on September 28th,  my great friend and saxophonist Oleg Kireyev is visiting New York City and he’ll join me at the 55Bar for the Early Set alongside Hill Greene and Dom Minasi.  I’m pulling out my standards for this one but we’ll veer off into strange places as well.

Lots more coming in October with the FreeSong Suite CD Release here in NYC and on October 4th in Philadelphia, PA  at the Rotunda. Tell your Philly friends to come down and say hello.
Stay tuned for news on that + upcoming tour news for 2010 to boot.

Happy September indeed!