2019 started with a BANG! January was an intense month that at moments I wondered if I’d get through!
January started off with my first curation of The Stone dedicated to the 100th birthday celebration of the incredible pianist/composer Herbie Nichols which to my mind was a resounding success. Wonderful houses all four nights, an amazing preview (with FV photo to boot!) in the New York Times, so much love throughout from the community including the generosity of the musicians that gave their time and the amazing folks that came out, some from as far away as DC and continued to come every night. I am so grateful to everyone’s show of support over the work of Nichols’ genius and I for one was thrilled to sit through the deep immersion into his musical world.
After this celebration, I went to Chicago for a day of events at the Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts including amazing duo set with drummer/impresario Mike Reed + a workshop on Vocal confidence. This was all attributed to the amazing exhibit of Martine Syms, who’s work I’m happy to be a part of. Martine had a FIVE month exhibition at the Graham and these events were on of the culminating events of her run.
Then on to WinterJazzFest with Mutations for Justice + a wonderful set with Maria Grand!! I’m so excited about this project and much more to come on this front in the near future. What I can share is I’ve been honored to receive a Headlands Residency to finish this project. Our performance at the WinterJazzFest made it in to Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top 10 moments of the Winter JazzFest 2019. Wow.
Some other amazing happening in January: joining Matana Roberts and Jaimie Breezy Branch open up the season at the Issue Project Room, being part of two panels with We Have Voice (WHV): The Jazz & Gender Panel on the Winter Jazz Fest and the one half of the Keynote Speakers at the Chamber Music America Conference. Acclaimed author & scholar Ta-nehisi Coates was the other.
Last but far from least – I officially joined the faculty of the New School in New York City, currently teaching Vocal Performance 5 in the Vocal Performance department. I’m still getting settled but already enjoying the students and the work! Check this lovely piece on Medium talking about the new faculty and I’m honored to be included…check it out here!
Check out the GIGS link to check out all the gig news for FEB and beyond! Been updating upcoming performances as they come in.
Please note there’s no 55BAR this month but back at on THURS, MAR 28 2019.
Thanks for reading friends!
Wishing you love, music, safety and peace!
Greetings and Happy Holidays to you all! Wishing everyone a wondrous holiday season and a prosperous and positive 2019.2018 has been some year on the world stage with a swift wind change right in politics around the world.Watching the news makes everything seem grim or how it all is coming to a dismal end.Climate change notwithstanding, there is still lots of positivity around the world.People trying to enjoy and simplify their lives as best they can.I spent most of the autumn in amazing cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Long Beach, Rome, Venice, Krakow, Poland and Mexico City. Everywhere the similar thread was so many homeless among the opulence. Affluent folk peering in at the lives of people either catering to their whims or somehow superficially related to outside perceptions. Yet I also met people happy with their lives as is. Content. At peace. No longer searching if they ever were. Except for music, maybe, in time of need. I was amazed to discover in Mexico that anyone can sing with Mariachi musicians and people DO when they are sad or full of heartbreak over jilted lover. This is how normal folk come out to relieve themselves of the pain of loss and more, in community. One example of how it is still a big beautiful world out there and if you can, go out and taste it.
After all this moving around, I’m firmly planted back in NYC for sometime and so much good stuff is coming up.January is chock full of goodies including the Herbie Nichols Centennial Celebration at The Stone that I’m honored to curate + my Mutations for Justice project is on the Winter JazzFest January 12th 2019 at SOB’s. Before we hit 2019, please join me at the 55BAR for the last performance of the year: at the 55BAR with Old Songs, New Skin. Come and join us for a toast to kissing 2018 goodbye!
DEC 27Old Songs, New Skin
FV – voice, compositions
Marika Hughes – cello
Darius Jones – alto saxophone
55 Christopher Street
No Cover, 2 drink minimum
Seriously though, sending the best wishes for a safe, fun and rewarding holiday season + a spanking new and prosperous 2019. I am so grateful for everyone’s support this year of the music and projects I’m involved in and coming out to shows. I could not do what I do without working with and in front of great people. Incredible to be on record with Marc Ribot, Nicole Mitchell and my own SoundNoiseFUNK in 2018, amazed that all of these projects were well received by music lovers as well as the critics.
Labor day weekend…for many a death knell to the end of summer. Life gets back to its normal rigor. Well, I’m asking what IS normal anymore, if there ever was such a thing. Seasons start to matter less as global warming creates a muddy connection. And American politics has flowered into a cruelty and blatancy not seen in my lifetime anyway. I’m not surprised at the reasons we’re here just surprised that we actually let it happen. So going ‘back’ to normal seems nostalgic or maybe the want of a memory that didn’t exist anyway. And how normal can any world feel with Aretha Franklin and now Randy Weston gone?
Strange times to be and feel positive yet I have to try. Keep moving on into worlds and spaces that feel enriching and open possibilities for what might be possible. This idea is at work this month with a new recording project of old material that Jochem van Dijk and I wrote when we began our writing life together at the end of the 90’s. Before the compositions for the Fay Victor Ensemble and back when our song forms resembled many others. Revisiting these songs with Darius Jones (alto saxophone) and Marika Hughes (cello) at the 55BAR the last few years has been a revelation in how much I still love these tunes and how now and within this sound world, they seem brand new. I look forward to sharing this when it comes out in 2019. Here is a video taken by Gerald van Wilgen that captures the special 55BAR vibe…and some surprises:
Deeper into September I’ll delve into another sound world for a first time performance with pianist extraordinaire Myra Melford, performing both of our music as well as improvising with Marika Hughes joining us on SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 at the Greenwich House. Back at the 55BAR on September 27th with SONGS We LOVE (w Sean Conly & Michael Vatcher), closing out the month on the InGardens in DUO with bassist Brandon Lopez – a first!
CREATIVE IMPROV WORKSHOP IV is coming up soon too, starting September 18 2018 for over 4 consecutive TUESDAYS at I-BEAM in Brooklyn, NY. Click the link HERE to learn more about the course and spread the word. Or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
*In other SEPT news, A new Marc Ribot record is coming out this month and I am delighted to perform three songs on Songs of Resistance, an album of old and new protest songs with guest artists such as Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tom Waits and more. This will be epic.
The word is getting out about my latest release with SoundNoiseFUNK – WET ROBOTS (ESP-Disk) with some great feedback on the press front. Fantastic that so far people not only dig the music but really get what we do as a group. after the quotes, checkout the links to purchase/listen and share this music. Will add a clip from WinterJazzFest 2018 at the end.
4 ½ STARS – Downbeat Magazine “Wet Robots is a program of thoughtful particulars, but it’s Victor’s acrobatics that mesmerize. Unabashed when it comes to sound creation, one can hear the passion in every syllable she utters, whether manic or modest. With echoes of Lauren Newton and Meredith Monk, the singer builds a web of personalized pieces that boast exuberance, with each warble, shriek and roar crafting a ferocious identity. Informed by blues and politics, their cagey deployment is downright entrancing, especially when bolstered by this kind of collective clout.” –Jim Macnie, Downbeat Magazine (+HotBox), October 2018
“Singer Fay Victor is the solution to so many “What is the role of the singer in jazz today?” puzzles. The role, Victor proves throughout Wet Robots, is anything at all, anything the imagination allows. …On a third or fourth pass through this remarkable document—and what can only be called a narrowly focused part of Fay Victor’s art, as she has fronted many bands with many different instrumentations and approaches—I felt I needed to rethink what “jazz” singing really could or ought to be so many years after talents like Betty Carter, Nina Simone, and Cassandra Wilson had dared to begin redefining it. Victor is at another level of freedom and daring and creativity. Sure, this kind of music is at the arty margin, but Victor proves that this kind of abstract singing is also flesh and blood and heart and earth.
‘I sing to save my life / I sing to look human’, Fay Victor makes clear.” –Will Layman, Popmatters (8/10)
“This record stands out from the usual free jazz gestures and credit belongs to Victor. It’s not just that this is her band, but her unique singing concept leads the way. She has a familiar toolbox of vocal sounds, but it’s the way she uses her notes that matter—she has exceptional intonation and it sounds like it comes effortlessly, so she improvises with pitches and melodically logical and coherent tonal phrases. On top of that, she manages the challenging high-wire act of improvising text while always keeping it interesting and fresh. It’s a measure of a first-rate intelligence— take that F. Scott Fitzgerald.”…As abstract as most of this is, the earth of the blues comes through almost every track, often with power…” —George Grella, NYCJR, September 2018
August is here and that signals the downward slide of summer. For me, it’s my only summer space since the first half was spent tucked away and now this month I truly get to play. Before I get to all that, many thanks to those of you that wished me a Happy Birthday in and out of Social Media Land. It felt so grand to get your good wishes and the hang at the 55AR was sublime – fun, serious, intense, great house of great people with old and new friends! Back at the 55 BAR with Old Songs, New Skin (which we will record just a week later for release in 2019), more on that below. Before that – I’m honored to appear with Nicole Mitchell Dusty Wings project at the NewPort Jazz Festival (a first!) on August 5th and at the Stone as part of her Xenogenesis Suite: Tribute to Octavia Butler on August 11th. Then teaching in NY and Canada this month for the New York Jazz Workshop and Banff Center for Creative Music respectively. Details below…thanks for reading
SUNDAY, August 5 2018 – NOON Nicole Mitchell’s Dusty Wings NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL Newport, RI Nicole Mitchell – flutes, compositions
Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet
Rashaan Carter – double bass
Shinazatte Tinnen – drums
FV – voice
THURSDAY, August 9 – SUNDAY, August 12 2018 Jazz Vocal Summit – Intermediate/Advanced FV, Course Instruction 8th year in a row! The New York Jazz Workshop – www.newyorkjazzworkshop.com
SATURDAY, August 11 2018 Nicole Mitchell’s Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler The STONE 55 West 13th Street, NYC Nicole Mitchell-flutes, compositions Darius Jones-alto sax
Marika Hughes-cello Pheeroan Aklaff-drums FV-voice
MONDAY, August 20 – SATURDAY, August 25, 2018 Guest lecturer – Banff International Workshop on Jazz & Creative Music Banff, Alberta, Canada Vijay Iyer & Dr. Tyshawn Sorey – Artistic Directors
THURSDAY, August 30, 2018 55 BAR Monthly Residency – Old Songs, New Skin Marika Hughes – cello
Darius Jones – alto sax
FV – voice, compositions The 55 BAR
7-9PM 55 Christopher Street New York, NY
I’d like to share some news: SoundNoiseFUNK, the group I presented at the WinterJazzFest AND who has a smokin’ record about to drop on ESP-Disk, got a great review in Downbeat from the Bill Milkowski that I want to share with you all!
“With Morris’ Derek Bailey-like splatters of pointillistic single notes, Newsome’s remarkable overtones, percussive effects and displays of circular breathing setting the tone, along with Nicholson’s sensitive and at times kinetic commentary on the proceedings, Victor was freed up to soar with impunity as she morphed from character to character like a jazz vocal version of Robin Williams during their scintillating set. Throughout the course of this continuous stream of music, colored by dramatic shifts in events, Victor demonstrated touches of Aretha Franklin, Yoko Ono, Connie Boswell, Betty Carter and Diamond Galas while also channeling opera singers, voodoo priestesses and an Islamic sheik singing the call to prayer along the way.”
Check out a video here of the piece The Threat, featured in the review:
The next CREATIVE IMPROV Class will begin March 13, 2018!! Very excited to teach this course once again! Get in touch for detailed info on the course and to sign up! This 5-week, 12 hour course will set anyone the course of opening up many possibilities as an improvisor.
Thanks for reading friends! About to leave town for awhile to attend an artist residency Upstate New York. Back at the end of the month and sending everyone out there good and beautiful vibrations.