Herbie Nichols SUNG as part of FV’s curated week at the Stone at the top of 2019, celebrating 100th birthday of Herbie Nichols…photo: Carlos Alberto Murrat

Happy 2019 dear friends!!

All the best wishes for this and every year.

Thank you and much love to all the musicians, students and friends that were a major part of my music making life in 2018. It was a transforming year for me starting the year as a Yaddo Fellow for 6 weeks that changed my artistic mindset completely. Seriously.  Those 6 weeks exposed me to some of the most brilliant artists I ever encountered in any discipline. The constant talks about process and development forced me to take a good look at how I viewed my own work as musician. I’ve spent the rest of 2018 ingesting these new perspectives, a true mind shift for me.

I upped my teaching game in – I taught more courses on Creative Improvisation and Improvising Strategies for Songwriters (w hubby Jochem van Dijk) and was a guest lecturer at Banff for the first time, I also continued to run the Jazz Vocal Summit at the New York Workshop for the 8th year in a row.

The We Have Voice Collective truly blossomed in 2018 (We started at the end of 2017) with the release of our Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts that created a wonderful flurry of discussion and discourse around sexual harassment and bullying within our performing arts community. This is the most amazing group of powerful women and non-gender conforming artists that I’ve ever had the honor of being a part of.  I’m in awe of them as individuals and the dedication they have shown to this Collective and to the cause.

2018 was an amazing year for album releases! Grateful to have been a guest on guitarist Marc Ribot’s Songs of Resistance Project alongside powerhouses such as Tom Waits, Steve Earle and Meshell Ndegeocello, I’m also singing on the brilliant composer/flutist Nicole Mitchell’s Maroon Cloud with Tomeka Reid & Aruan Ortiz in the mix.

After 5 years of no project out under my own name, I released Wet Robots on ESP Disk with my ridiculously incredible group SoundNoiseFUNK. Grateful that Wet Robots made some waves (including 4.5 stars in DownBeat magazine, being in the DB HotBox for the first time, a feature in a Norwegian newspaper and great reviews & words and outlets such as Popmatters, JazzTimes, The New York Times….and #4 on the Jazz Critics Poll for 2018 (tied with Kurt Elling) Wow!! I was floored by the attention the album received, and grateful.

I went back into the studio in 2018 (well a barn-like studio as it were) Upstate NY in September to record Barnsongs, Old & New and working on releasing that in 2019. A combination of old and new compositions of mine and Jochem van Dijk’s reconfigured for voice, alto saxophone (Darius Jones) and cello (Marika Hughes).

Last and not least by far – health became a focal point for me in 2018.  Had a health scare that required a major operation and an 8 week recovery just before Summer began. I’m OK now, absolutely fine. Although it was was tough and difficult to go through. Yet, there was an abundance of beauty too. So much love and community came to the fore, a deep trust that all would be OK prevailed. People showed up and showed who they were.  I learned about love in a deeper way than I understood it before. I don’t want to go through something like this again but I learned from it and I’m here! And the ultimate lesson I learned about myself… to quote a title from Marc Ribot’s Songs of Resistance album ”I ain’t gonna let nothing turn me around” for long.

Much love, make this a special 2019.

Fay

Dear Friends!

Happy Halloween which with all that is happening around us, seems the most benign of holidays as the horrors around us are real.  Difficult to feel inspired and positive some days yet being creative continues to feed a sense of solidarity and community and a place to release what I’m feeling in a way an audience can hear it.  I’m back a few days from the West Coast – first at Earshot Jazz Festival & Cornish School for the Arts and then in residency at University of California at Irvine.  Throughout performance, talks and instruction I kept informing as much as I could about freedom from within, expansive thinking and taking social responsibility in these times.  Not everybody has a comment to make or cares to but if you have something to share, then do so – because we all need to hear it.  No matter how strong my words were, the feedback that came my way from the audience was they needed to hear these thoughts, they needed to know that their thoughts and feelings are not alone out here.  Be brave and do it!

As November approaches and the midterm elections are upon us do your civic duty and vote.  I’m voting early as I’m out of town on Election Day. We need to turn this around.  To that end – here is a Video I made called Sleep On It, mainly about Brett Kavanaugh but…well check it out here.  The Pacific Ocean was the inspiration for the video too.

Some good news: SoundNoiseFUNK’s Wet Robots is up for grammy consideration in the Best Jazz Vocal Album Category! If you’re a NARAS member, please consider voting and/or spreading the word.  Special thanks to the spectacular cellist Tomeka Reid for spearheading the push to get more creative music on the Grammys.  This wouldn’t have happened without her nudge and work. Here’s a link to the album via band camp – thank you!

https://fayvictorssoundnoisefunk.bandcamp.com/album/wet-robots

Some very special news: I’m honored to curate a four day celebration for the life of pianist/composer Herbie Nichols Centennial at the Stone in January 2019.  Herbie Nichols would have been 100 years old on January 3 2019 and I can’t wait for this special presentation of his music which includes the Jazz Composers Collective, my Herbie Nichols SUNG project, an evening of Solo Recitations and Roswell Rudd’s Trombone Tribe playing mainly Herbie Nichols compositions I want this to be a great festival and also document each night for future jazz fans in general and Nichols’ fans in particular to have access to.  To that end, I’m asking for a little help and started a GoFundMe Page. Please take a look and give what you can.  I thank you in advance for your support.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-herbie-nichols-celebration&rcid=r01-154091913395-aac83f914e5f4aea&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

On the Road in November 2018

NOV 6 – Romaeuropa Festival w Daniele del Monaco & Marc Ribot (Rome, Italy) + Recording

NOV 20 – Krakow Jazz Autumn w ReddeeR – (Krakow, Poland)

NOV 29 – 55BAR w Herbie Nichols SUNG, NY NY

Coming UP in December 2018

DEC 19 – Arete – DUO with Val-Inc!! Double Bill w Gabriel Zucker CD Release  (Brooklyn, NY)

DEC 21 – Greater Calvary Baptist Church w SoundNoiseFUNK (NY, NY)

DEC 27 – 55BAR w Old Songs, New Skin (NY, NY)

Full details on the performance page of the FV website.
Thanks for reading,

Fay

Happy summer dear friends!

Greetings and best wishes. As some of you know, I had to have an emergency medical procedure in mid-June that kept me out of the loop for a few weeks. I’m thrilled to share that I’m doing much better now and almost back to my old self! I’m looking forward to seeing many of you soon on the scene.

There is an opportunity coming up to hang out very soon, as luck would have it. My annual 55BAR Birthday BASH happening and on my official birthday to boot – THURSDAY, JULY 26th!  It will be my first performance after being tucked away for a minute. I am really looking forward to singing for you all, not to mention the amazing array of musicians that will join the hang. Would love to see you all there + + + as always, there will be cake.  Flyer below!

Flyer created by FV for upcoming annual birthday hang in NYC!

In other news – I am super thrilled to share my latest release, Wet Robots with my group SoundNoiseFUNK has been released on ESP-Disk! SoundNoiseFUNK is Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone, Joe Morris on guitar and Reggie Nicholson on drums.  It has been and continues to be a joy making music with these gentlemen! There are no upcoming performance for the 4-tet but the SoundNoise TRIO will make an appearance on the EarShot Jazz Festival (Seattle, WA) in October 2018!

…while Morris astounded with his staccato runs, sounding at times like a cross between Johnny Smith and James “Blood” Ulmer, and Newsome showcased his expansive vocabulary, alternately making his straight horn sound like a digeridoo, a duck call, a fuzz guitar, it was Victor’s finesse, ferocity and freestyle abandon that led the way. Watch for the upcoming debut recording on the ESP-Disk label by this extraordinary musical collective.”-Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine

“If jazz is the sound of surprise, this album startles – a sonic funhouse of left turns.  The band floats in its own space, untethered by a bass. Morris’ guitar moves like a snake. Newhouse keens, taps, sighs on the straight horn. Nicholson makes his percussion set-ip a skittering, rattling thing. Then there is Fay her voice…as attuned to unfettered expression as Albert Ayler’s tenor.-Bradley Bambarger – from the liner notes of Wet Robots

Cover for the new Espdisk Release WET ROBOTS, design by Diane Kirschief

Purchase via ESP-Disk here: http://www.espdisk.com/5025.html
Read complete review here: http://downbeat.com/news/detail/winterfest2
Hear Creative Folks!, a track off of WET ROBOTS here:

Thanks for reading and hope to see you out there soon…

Peace,
Fay

 

Dear Friends,

In December 2017, I opened up the Evolving Series Festival (by Arts for Art) with a new project called Mutations for Justice (Mantras for Change). I wanted to write small pieces (composed and text-based) about the political reality we’re all in right now. As an information drenched society – I wanted the texts to be repetitive, like a meme. easily subliminal perhaps leading to change.  This is ambitious of course but the fear of other words taking over makes me dream even bigger and feel even stronger that these words must be said. Simply.

That concert in December with bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Michael Vatcher was a great start – so many things went well. Our next outing is on the Vision Festival 23 adding to the trio trumpeter Jaimie Breezy Branch with a bunch of new music I’ve written for the occasion as well.

Mutation:  the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.

What is the Mutations for Justice Project?

Mutations for Justice are a series of small composition mantras or ‘memes’ out of the need to articulate political ideas in a minimalist repetitive framework further developed through improvisation. Chanting and utilizing protest music as a mutable entity to change how we see. Words and music written by Fay Victor, these pieces will mingle with a fantastic group of improvisors adding their personal spin on the Mutations. This performance is the beginning of a developing project for Victor, who plans to write Mutations for Justice pieces throughout the Trump Administration as a document to memory of living in this time. The culmination of Mutations For Justice will be a recording project of 40 pieces in 2020.

Mutations for Justice – Vision Festival 23
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Jaimie ‘Breezy’ Branch – trumpet
Luke Stewart – double bass
Michael Vatcher – drums
7:00PM
SAT May 26 2018
http://roulette.org/

Tix: www.artsforart.org
Full 🎥 here: https://youtu.be/z-PP0UrYIes

Cover for the new Espdisk Release WET ROBOTS, design by Diane Kirschief

The idea of developing an avant-garde ‘dance’ group has been on my mind for sometime. I love dance music, was a club head myself (even a member of the legendary Paradise Garage).  As an improvisor I’ve wanted to develop a project that you can move to while still enabling deep improvising spaces to play in. In thinking about this for a few years – the idea of what that group looked very different.  Then there was the beginning of the SoundNoise Trio that inadvertently lead to an avant project….from the kernel comes out a new corn.

I started SoundNoise with drummer/percussionist Reggie Nicholson and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome in 2015 as an open exploration that hit hard our first time out. As SoundNoise performed, I thought about how to pursue improvisation at the core of the group while keeping a pulse in the music that was organic and alive.  Arriving at SoundNoiseFUNK (the addition of guitarist Joe Morris), a funk-driven free improvisational unit with a penchant for exploring this and more sonic terrain while keeps the groove going. SoundNoiseFUNK has performed on the Vision Festival, Capital Bop (Wash. DC), New Revolution Arts, the Arts for Art InGarden Series and most recently at the WinterJazzFest 2018 where Downbeat magazine had this to say about the group’s performance:

…while Morris astounded with his staccato runs, sounding at times like a cross between Johnny Smith and James “Blood” Ulmer, and Newsome showcased his expansive vocabulary, alternately making his straight horn sound like a digeridoo, a duck call, a fuzz guitar, it was Victor’s finesse, ferocity and freestyle abandon that led the way. Watch for the upcoming debut recording on the ESP-Disk label by this extraordinary musical collective.”-Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine

I am very excited about the group and project…look forward to sharing the music with you all. And keep your eyes on the FV gig pages as the SoundNoise TRIO will hit the road in Fall 2018!

Personnel:
Fay Victor – voice, text, conceptualist
Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone
Joe Morris – electric guitar
Reggie Nicholson – drums
Recorded August 4, 2017 at Park West Studios
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 29 2018

“If jazz is the sound of surprise, this album startles – a sonic funhouse of left turns.  The band floats in its own space, untethered by a bass. Morris’ guitar moves like a snake. Newhouse keens, taps, sighs on the straight horn. Nicholson makes his percussion set-ip a skittering, rattling thing. Then there is Fay her voice…as attuned to unfettered expression as Albert Ayler’s tenor.”

-Bradley Bambarger
From the liner notes of Wet Robots
Read complete review here: http://downbeat.com/news/detail/winterfest2
Learn more at www.espdisk.com

SoundNoiseFUNK w Reggie Nicholson, FV, Joe Morris & Sam Newsome after Wet Robots CD release show on April 28 2018

Dear Friends,

I am so proud to be part of a 14 member Collective called We Have Voice.  We got together via email, group meetings and Google hangouts to first draft an Open Letter that stressed zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any form. Then we drafted a Code of Conduct : To Promote Safe(r) Workspaces in the Performing Arts that officially launched on May 1, 2018 (International Workers Day). The launch was buoyed by great coverage in the New York Times, NPR, and JazzRightNow.com. There is less information on where to go as performing arts workspaces are fluid, sometimes blurry.  Most artists have no HR department to go to.  We felt strongly that this document helps to bring awareness and clarity. The title of ‘SAFER(R)’ speaks to our intersectional lens as a group, the understanding that ‘safe’ doesn’t register the same for all of us.  We see this as inspiring and inclusive document.  We understand that abuse can happen to anyone. We Have Voice is a multi-ethnic collective from diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, and career trajectories.  This has been inspiring work with an incredible group.

Other than myself, the Collective is: Ganavya Doraiswamy, Imani Uzuri, Jen Shyu, Kavita Shah, Linda May Han Oh, María Grand, Nicole Mitchell, Okkyung Lee, Rajna Swaminathan, Sara Serpa, Tamar Sella, Terri Lyne Carrington and Tia Fuller.

Code of Conduct : To Promote Safe(r) Workspaces in the Performing Arts

 

 

Stone House at Yaddo…an artist’s residency in the foothills of the Adirondacks

Greetings from Sarasota Springs! I’m here on a a music composition residency that lasts about 6 weeks and I just passed the two week mark.  Yaddo is an amazing place (as you can see from the photos) deeply conducive to creativity.  My fellow fellows are incredible and accomplished making it inspiring to be here and talk about creativity and process with so many self possessed and well formed artists of different disciplines.

As beautiful as all of this is and it is – I’m here to write about one of the most painful and life changing events of my entire life – the death of my mother.  Hers was sudden and unexpected and I was just 19 and my sister, 17 at the time.  The anniversary of her passing was just a few days ago – 33 years before and I am astounded at how embedded some pain is and yet I’m grateful and humbled at the opportunity to spend needed time in this space and create a work which I hope will honor her memory and all the great lessons I’ve taken with me from her. And so much more. I do find it hard to mix admin things (such as sending mailings etc…) while working on the piece. It takes longer to come back to earth 🙂

I will keep you all posted for sure on the completion of the piece and when it will be performed.  I’m aiming for Spring 2019 in New York City.

In other news – I’m headed back to the city around March 5th and shortly after that, I’ll start up my CREATIVE IMPROVISATION Course III starting on March 13 2018 and running for 5 weeks until April 10, 2018 in Brooklyn. Always a pure blast to teach vocalists and musicians alike how to use and enjoy their voices in creative and freeing ways. Let me know if you or someone you know is interested.

And yes…still tweaking the website and will update the GIG, and Discography sections shortly! There’s lots of news to share with you for the Spring into the summer and I will get that up to date….

In closing, I’m attaching a video of a solo vocal piece.  I started working out the contours for a Solo Vocal Project aside from the piece I’m writing for my mother.  Have a listen at the link.

Thanks for reading and listening and if you or anyone else you know might be interested in the Creative Improv Course – do let me know.

Sending Snowy love from Saratoga Springs,

Fay

One view right outside my live/work cabin here at Yaddo.

FV’s SoundNoiseFUNK on WJF 2018 w (l-r) Joe Morris, FV, Reggie Nicholson, Sam Newsome. Photo by Jochem van dijk

Dear Friends,

Hoping this greeting finds you well!

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.” 

Read full review here: http://downbeat.com/news/detail/winterfest2

Check out a video here of the piece The Threat, featured in the review:

&

AND

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.

Thanks for reading,
Fay