Hoping this posting finds you well. These are hard and trying times. It’s difficult to feel good about so much in the world right now and I’m not sure the ability to share music is the answer for the urgent, acute matters of life or death right now. Because that’s where we are. We are watching massive death unfold all around the world and I feel powerless to stop it.

So, I try to hold on to the joy, any joy I experience right now, especially if I can experience that joy with others. One of my utmost joys at the moment is the response to ‘Life Is Funny That Way’ Herbie Nichols SUNG, my current release (see last post), out on Tao Forms.

The response has been extraordinary (check below), the emphasis on joy in Nichols music was what I wanted to expose more than anything. Not just how great his compositions are as compositions, but that they harness something more that make them part of the essence of what jazz is, what it means to me. My ideas around this and how I arranged the songs to reflect this very fact has been resonating with press and seems to review new avenues to explore Herbie Nichols’ music.

Press for Life Is Funny That Way

Fay Victor is the rare singer who can demonstrate and interact with the deep vocal tradition while also delving into the daring freedoms that have long been the province of instrumentalists to explore. She does all of this while telling stories with her lyrics as well. To top it off, her vocal tone and control have never sounded better.This is Fay Victor’s best recording to date, not because it encounters “the tradition” but because it looks at a great composer from the past and reimagines the tradition as part of the music’s daring vanguard.—Will Layman, (9/10)

An avant-garde Nina Simone with the performance punch of Betty Carter, Victor’s unabashed acrobatics mesmerize… 4 STARSAndy Cowan, MOJO Magazine

“In 2013, Victor formed Herbie Nichols SUNG, the first Nichols repertory project led by a black or female musician. It’s very much her vision – and the arrangements are as inventive as they are tight. In an inspired move,  Victor has set lyrics to Nichol’s compositions, adding new layers of meaning”–Steve Smith, The Wire

He (Herbie Nichols) was not well known in his lifetime, but today he’s considered one of the great unsung jazz composers. Victor started writing lyrics for his tunes, performing them with the Herbie Nichols Sung band she put together in New York City in 2013. She’s now recorded 11 of these compositions and they’re outstanding.
4 STARS –J. Poet, DownBeat Magazine

There are several fine Herbie Nichols tributes around, but this one has a unique soul and earthiness created by Fay Victor’s otherworldly singing and the adventurous spirit of her band. This is a superb album, one of the most delightful releases of the year so far.”–Jerome Wilson, All About Jazz

“Victor with her unique vocal approach somewhere between straight and quite free …and the band, this is a real collective excursion, has shed a great light on a treasure that has almost been forgotten – or that was almost never remembered. Fay Victor – and Herbie Nichols – certainly deserve another round of attention.”–Thor Hammerø, Nettavisen

“Life Is Funny That Way” offers a rich portrait of Nichols, and it highlights the contemporary aspects of his music. Ms. Victor’s versatile band includes saxophonist Michaël Attias, pianist Anthony Coleman, bassist Ratzo Harris and drummer Tom Rainey. Their range is a good fit, and her vocals embrace straightforward singing, scat, vocalese and poetic recitation; it’s a style that enables her to explore deeper meanings in songs and broaden their cultural connections. Her influences include both classic jazz singers like Betty Carter and late 20th-century innovators like Jeanne Lee.— Martin Johnson, The Wall Street Journal

Blackity Black Black Is Beautiful is the very first solo record by Fay Victor, whose 30-year-long music career has covered everything from House, New Music, Jazz (Blues) and Free Improvisation. Her deep history with dance music, her genreless output, and her lived experience as a Black woman in the world shaped the brand new process she used to create this prismatic album which touches on all the decades of her life like diary snapshots. It’s a mesmerizing collection of composed work that could only be made by an extraordinary improviser. 

From hearing the raw, almost gospel vocal style over a heavy beat of Donna Summer and Sylvester, to obsessing over shows like Soul Train, Solid Gold, and Dance Fever on TV, to experiencing the sweat and groove, the freedom of bodies moving at NYC clubs like Danceteria, The Loft, and the Paradise Garage – her life changed forever. As she was developing as a jazz singer in Amsterdam in the 90s, she danced to trance music in clubs like Mazzo and The Soul Kitchen. She landed on the Billboard charts with a club hit “You Make Me Happy” in ’91. Stoned on the sacred dance floor, Fay found ecstasy in the moving body, the groove, the beat.

As she entered deeper into the world of jazz, she was attracted to the rhythmic qualities of Thelonious Monk, Eddie Harris, Eric Dolphy, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Betty Carter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nicole Mitchell, Milford Graves, Julius Hemphill, Charles Mingus, Herbie Nichols. Their confrontational rhythm sends her soul leaping, connecting her back to her clubheadheart.

With Mavin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” as a template, Fay started thinking about how her solo album might unfold. She sang, played keyboards, added textures and further dimensions with no other humans, without electronics. That was her process. Thoroughly creative, composed with music and words straight from her spirit.”

Blackity Black Black is Beautiful is ALBUM OF THE DAY on Bandcamp!

CD/Digital OUT NOW via Bandcamp

This impressive album is a thoughtful, obviously personal journey of a unique and wise artist that trusts the power of music and knows that music can motivate people and bring positive change, even with one song.
Eyal Hareuveni
Fay Victor tells a first-person story about accidentally getting lost in Breezy Point, a private enclave in Queens that is a bastion of Trump supporters in liberal New York City, on “Breezy Point Ain’t Breezy,” the new single from her upcoming album, Blackity Black Black Is Beautiful.”
“Governorship/Senate (for Stacey Abrams)”
From Blackity Black Black Is Beautiful makes the UK’s The Wire Playlist for August 2023
One Man’s Jazz Playlist: Fay Victor, Tyshawn Sorey, Matthew Shipp & Jaimie Branch.
“Vocalist Fay Victor‘s new solo album, Blackity Black Black Is Beautiful, is one of the featured new recordings in this episode of One Man’s Jazz.”

As some of you know, composing on my own is a recent phenomenon for me. I began in earnest around 2014 and thanks to Amy Bormet inviting me as a special guest in 2015 on her wonderful Washington Women in Jazz Festival, commissioning me to write a piece for her group. the piece I composed, “In The Flow” received incredible feedback and that response kept me writing on my own although I had few opportunities to present the music that was beginning to emerge. This music was new and different from the music I was performing at the time. My writing varied instrumentations, approaches and structure – just based on what I thought might sound great together. I was excited for this new direction, deciding to just write, learn and study. Yet there was a moment when I wanted to know what this music would sound like in the hands of other humans. How would these explorations ever be heard? In 2018, I was invited to be a Yaddo resident as a Herb Albert Fellow in Composition and wrote a large work devoted to my mother, called ‘Faith, The Gift”. I was thrilled about this opportunity, how that six-week stay allowed me the space to write about my mother, and mourn her death properly for the first time. I’ve YET to present that large scale work. Like I said so few opportunities to present the music I was writing. But these last few years things have opened up, portions of my Mutations for Justice project has been performed as well as the pieces I’ve written for SoundNoiseFUNK. This year though the opportunities have started to come even more!

I closed out March 2022 performing a pared down Mutations for Justice set at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (with bassist Luke Stewart and violist Melanie Dyer), just before a talk with Larry Blumenfeld of Trauma and Healing – What Does Healing Sound Like? Which also included musician and music therapist Noa Fort. At the Stone in early April, I presented different groups each night, where I could share my writing with audiences for the first time, especially the trio with bass guitarists Melvin Gibbs and Tim Dahl and the Black Poems performance, where I composed in a new way for me – sharing composed motives inside a tapestry score of poems, cues and other information for the amazing crew of Angelica Sanchez (piano), William Parker (bass) and Lesley Mok (drums). Fantastic to get to delve deeper into the works I composed for voice/bassoon with Rebekah Heller! Then recording a collective project based on James Baldwin’s novel, Another Country where we all contributed a composition to the mix with Dave Douglas (trumpet), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Patricia Brennan (vibes), Darius Jones (alto sax) and yours truly. April ended at Bang on a Can’s Long Play Festival, getting to share the compositions I’ve written for FLUTTER, with Nicole Mitchell for flute, electronics & voice. It feels like my writing is finally finding the spaces to be heard and I am just so grateful and looking forward to more ways to get my composing voice out there into the world.

Next week Thursday – May 26, 2022 – is a really a BIG deal for me. In September 2021, I joined the esteemed new music ensemble, the International Contemporary Ensemble. What an amazing connection of my practice with all of the absolutely amazing and groundbreaking work that they do. I couldn’t be happier with the work and with my colleagues! As an ensemble member, we all get the possibility to perform works curated by the Ensemble (for example, this past weekend the Ensemble took part in a three-day residency at Brown University including a final performance of works by student composers and a work by George Lewis).

Ensemble members can also present works of our own to be performed. On May 26th, my piece Sirens and Silences premieres at Roulette alongside works of Kate Gentile and Peter Evans. This is the first time I will present a composed work of mine that I am not performing on at all but I will conduct. Sirens and Silences is a ‘memory document’ composition, created to reflect a specific, space, place and time: New York City from April-May 2020 when New York was the epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic, the global ground zero for the burgeoning pandemic.

It would mean everything it you could be there! Thank you to the International Contemporary Ensemble for representing these works, to the Jazz Coalition for Commissioning Sirens & Silences and the amazing players that will perform Sirens & Silences: Mazz Swift (violin); Marika Hughes (cello); Kalia Vandever (trombone); Patrick Holmes (clarinet).

Purchase tickets here and learn more here:…/international-contemporary…/

Thank you for reading this long-ass post of gratitude. I’m trying to spread Black Joy y’all, as long as I’m alive I will do what I can to spread Black JOY! Much love and light to you all. 💃🏽✊🏾🙏🏾❤️

Photo by Deneka Peniston! #steppingout


Didn’t know if I or you would make it here, especially those of us here in these United States. So I am grateful to be here still and in full acknowledgment of how many are not here now. I am grateful that you are here too and let’s continue to do all we can to see the other side of this damn pandemic. Being able to tell the stories of how it was to LIVE through. This is my New Year’s wish for us all.

One thing that’s drastically changed too is I’m not posting as much here, I’ve gotten downright insular. I’ve moved my more interactive online life to Patreon – where I’m giving talks and sharing all sorts of stuff not seen anywhere else. Even on the FV website, for now – which will remain a storehouse for keeping up on gigs and general announcements, but the nitty gritty is happening at Patreon – perhaps you’ll join me there!  

See, here is the thing. As monetary options are drying up for us artists, a place like Patreon helps us get and feel supported.  Many of us just give everything away online. No company is looking out for us as streaming music options proliferate more – thank goddess for BandCamp!  Please feel free to join me there.

First Gig of 2021

Arts for Art Online_Salon
THURS, JANUARY 7th at 8PM performance/ONE SET + Q&A
Fay Victor’s Chamber Trio
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Darius Jones – alto sax
Marika Hughes – cello

Year End News for ‘We’ve Had Enough’

Will Layman over at chose SoundNoiseFUNK’s WE’VE HAD ENOUGH as one of the top 20 jazz albums of the 2020. Wow and thank you!

“If Abby Lincoln were around during the last four years, I think she would sound something like Fay Victor, who is a pure jazz singer who happens to have freed herself of anything that might hold her back from total creativity. This is yet another “second recording” by a wonderful band, with Joe Morris on guitar, Same Newsome’s winsome soprano saxophone, and Reggie Nicholson on drums. “What’s Gone Wrong?” repeats the title phrase against a layered groove that grooves in a sophisticated way, setting up a simple counter-melody initiated by Victor and picked up by Morris. In contrast, “Ritual” and “I.M. Peach” are wordless and more abstract. But the genius of this date is that so much of it is filled with joy in the face of outrage. Fay and her band are always light on their feet, playing with each other—really playing. Victor improvises with lyrics as well as notes, often addressing politics, but even when she is singing “no air” in a song about climate destruction you are drawn in by the artful play of the band.”

—Will Layman

Thanks to Jim Macnie for choosing SoundNoiseFUNK’s WE’VE HAD ENOUGH as one of the top 20 jazz albums of the 2020 as well on his amazing blog, Lament for A Straight Line, link here:

SoundNoiseFUNK will have a CD release show – remember those? Thanks to the amazing people at Roulette, we’ll perform a streaming concert from Roulette on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2021, thrilled to make music with Joe Morris, Reggie Nicholson and Sam Newsome once more. We haven’t played since the pandemic, looking forward to celebrate the release of We’ve Had Enough in person and that you’ll join us. The show is already UP (check link here) on the Roulette website.

OVERCOME by Dave Douglas!

Another release from 2020 was a remote recording of a project with famed trumpeter, composer and bandleader Dave Douglas. It was a wonderful experiment and joy to be a part of this amazing recording. Thank you Dave for asking me to be a part and work with these wonderful musicians like Ryan Kerberle, Jorge Roeder, Camila Meza, Rudy Royston and Dave Douglas of course. The album, a digital-only release on December 4th has already garnered great praise from Rolling Stone, NPR and more. Learn more about this project through Greenleaf Music:

Thank you for reading! Fay

Closed on 2020 on the beach of Newport, RI. A great way to see the waves take out 2020 faaaaaaaar out to sea.

Greetings to you! It’s been sometime since I’ve connected on the site. It’s been a super intense Fall for all the reasons these times are intense for us all.

Thankfully, we’ve made it past Election Day 2020. WHATS??!! Stress induced days leading up to November 3rd including being part of a great work by musician and composer Darius Jones entitled We Can Save The Country just the day before. I present a small portion of my Mutations of Justice work earlier in October, a work that’s been chronicling the Trump administration since 2017. Look out for a new & dedicated website page devoted to that project coming shortly! Finally, I got to perform an amazing improvised Blues duo with guitarist Marc Ribot the day after Election Day – just the medicine we all needed that day.

Album Cover by Fay Victor/Jochem van Dijk

Personally, THE most important NEWS to share is I have a NEW record out! My latest album with SoundNoiseFUNK is OUT (Esp-Disk) called WE’VE HAD ENOUGH! Released at the end of October 2020, our new record goes into fresh improvisational territory compositionally and emotionally.  Nate Chinen selected one composition entitled “What’s Gon’ Wrong?” for his Election Day Special Playlist that included music by Dave Douglas, Wynton Marsalis & Khalil El’Zabar. Deep gratitude to Sam Newsome, Joe Morris and Reggie Nicholson for their amazing contributions to the music and to the connection we have as a band. Link via BANDCAMP

“Fay Victor is a vocalist and composer with a proud history of social commentary, and a fearless commitment to discovery. In her working ensemble SoundNoiseFUNK, she engages fully with an outright all-star team: soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, guitarist Joe Morris and drummer Reggie Nicholson. Their second album, just out on ESP-Disk is plainly titled We’ve Had Enough. “What’s Gone Wrong” is an impassioned lament that finds Victor repeating its title phrase, along with a secondary clause (“…with the world?”). There is despair in her rhetorical question, which doesn’t seem to expect an answer — but there’s also clear determination in the way Victor and her improvising partners work through their development. Without putting words in their mouth, I’d suggest that their cohesive oneness is one answer to another open question: what’s going right?”

Sharp Visions of America by Wynton Marsalis, Kahil El’Zabar, Fay Victor and Dave Douglas by Nate Chinen (WBGO Election Day Special Playlist)

Tomorrow (11.14.2020) I’m presenting a video as part of the Jazz Gallery LockDown Sessions along with musicians John Ellis, Kweku Sumbry & Matt Stevens via Live Stream. Learn how to sign on and more on JG website. Thank you Rio for doing what you can to keep artists creative and working during this time.

NYC is on the uptick with Covid -19 cases, even after the Election, this tension surrounds us as the the death toll mounts. In these last few months since I’ve posted here I’ve been working more than I ever have and I welcome the distraction. Then some days it’s just too much. I try to find the balance, aiming to stay creative and active in ways that are healthy and safe. Trying to listen more deeply to myself and everyone else that I can. Trying to keep going when I can, grateful to have what I need. Please share here how you’ve been coping. I’d love to hear from you and know.The main thing I found is not to be too hard on oneself for not doing or being whatever we thought we should be.

What I want more than anything is to meet and play with friends in person again.  Hug people I haven’t seen in months then throw a big party to celebrate life.  Someday soon. Wishing you much love, health and safety until the next time.


FV at the 55BAR in New York City, where she’s held a monthly residency since 2012. Truly missing performing in that space. Photo by Kyra Kverno

Sending greetings of love, safety and solidarity. I wish that you view this post through healthy eyes that are safe. Grateful to share that my family is healthy and safe as of now. Hard to describe these times but to say that they are turbulent and troubling. So many of us do not feel safe.

I am soul searching right now, looking inward and coming across difficult questions and answers. Processing all that has gone down these past 12 weeks of self-isolation. 

12 weeks y’all.

One inspiration is seeing absolute and resolute outrage that the killing of George Floyd all whose lives have been snuffed out by the police have spawned. Non-stop protests around the world.  The Pope even said George Floyd’s name. Suppressed people around the world have stood up. It’s an amazing thing to see, it’s forcing change and that occupant in the white house looks more like the anachronistic prop he really is. Like a hollowed out Andrew Jackson screaming into the wind…

If you can, please donate what you can to these organizations.  People are starving and jailed protesters need to be let out asap.  We’re still in a pandemic, we still need to stay safe. Jailed protesters are being thrown into cramped cells and easy way to spread the Coronavirus. If you want to help those protesting for racial, gender and trans equity – you may consider these places for your hard earned money to go. Thank you for considering.

The Anti-Racist Fund:
Black Voters Matter:
The Bail Project:
The Movement for Black Lives:
Black Lives Matter Global Network:
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund:


I started a Patreon page. Oh Yes. as the the online universe opens up for shows, workshops and you name it – I found myself doing a few performances that were fun, some were even fulfilling.  Yet, as a concert in person seems further and further into the future, I’m going to develop my solo performance voice for starters through my brand spanking new Patreon page.  There will be more and when the time is right – I’ll do a proper launch. Still, check it out, look around and let me know your thoughts. I look forward to developing tone of content through that channel, looking forward to seeing some of you there. 
Here is the link:

New performances & workshops

Doing my talk EXPERIMENTS IN COMMUNICATING MESSAGE for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of British Columbia, and in collaboration with Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, Western Front.  Talk will be about 45 mins with 15 minutes for questions. I feel at this critical moment, artists may want to know how to crystallize what they need to say through their art. Using myself, the great Bob Marley and more as examples of artists clear on what they want to communicate and how that process brings clarity to their artistic output.

July 8, 2020 – 1PM EDTONLINE
Creative Improvisation Workshop through LIVE from our Livingrooms. As part of their Creative Summit & Fundraiser, I’ll give a workshop on Creative Improvisation omg July 8th at 1PM EDT online. 

July 30, 2020 7PM EDTONLINE
FIRST Monthly Concert through Patreon – Happy Birthday to me.
This year – I’ll being saying Happy Birthday, giving a social distancing show from home on the same day the annual birthday hang would have been at the 55BAR. I hope you will stop by and raise a glass with me. We can all use something to celebrate. Further details about this show in early July.

August 9, 2020 at 4:40PMONLINE
Performing a concert presented by One Breathe Rising, the concert will focus on the beauty and glory of Black Lives.

Thank you for reading. Wishing you all peace, strength, health and love. People that have been kept down too long are fed up and tired. Whatever else is wrong with this country at this time, we still have the right to protest the government that is supposed to serve us. Every American has the right to lift our voices and state our needs plain.  Human rights over property rights. Hearts and souls are hurting, some are dying. May all who read this post have what you need to keep going. Stay safe!

I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for us all.
In solidarity,

Hey there from FV’s quarantine central headquarters 🙂

Happy quarantine greetings.

Simply the strangest of times I’ve ever experienced in my life. Home in Brooklyn with my husband and so far – we are healthy, safe and keeping sane. I lost all my booked events but my work as an educator keeps going on and my husband is still employed so far. So we’re home going through this time in surreal motion. Keeping updated on the news, enclosed in a bubble on the hot seat. Venturing outside to shop or just plain take a walk can feel like traversing a minefield. careful of every step, watching your fellow pedestrian like a predator, keen on where they’ll go next.  Unsure of how they’ll interpret safe distancing. Sad to treat people like pariahs. Then there are the numbers. Constantly rising, nameless. Knowing that each is a name that had a family, friends, passions, demons, a job…a life.

Last week was especially hard.  Losing strong musical voices, forces with so much left to say was unbearable. Then a family member contracted the virus and was hospitalized for six days.  Covid-19 hit home and I was more afraid for their life than I dared to admit.  Gratefully, they have recovered now and back home.

We are fortunate.  I have not had to get on a subway for 4 weeks.  We have what we need to survive.  Balancing gratitude and fear.

I share this with you because I feel it’s important to be honest about what this feels real in this time, in acknowledgement that what we’re living through is a unique experience, bearing no precedent in my lifetime.  Or anyone else I know. Still important to share how hard it is, even when there is MUCH to be grateful for. We were not prepared for this moment, we could not know how we’d feel.  Much to sort out, on top of making sure you can survive.

I also want you to know of something fun + awesome coming UP!
On THURS APR 16, 2020, I’ll perform a solo concert online in a double bill with Caroline Davis. How cool is that?
INPUT/OUTPUT Magazine presents: Dinner and A Show!
Hosted by Magdalena Abrego
With guest performances by Caroline Davis and FV
I/O Magazine presents delicious recipes and live music in this new Instagram Live event series.

KALE ME MAYBE Schedule of events
5:30-6:00 p.m. Cooking Kale Nachos w/ Magdalena Abrego (Recipe TBA)
6:00-6:30 p.m. Caroline Davis performs
6:30-7:00 p.m. Fay Victor performs

*Donations will be collected for the performers via Venmo: @magdalenaaa or PayPal : — 100% of the revenue goes directly to the performers!
INPUT/OUTPUT is a platform dedicated to supporting women and non-binary individuals working in avant-garde, improvised, and experimental music communities in the United States.


Just a quick note that to share that if anyone is interested in online lessons for vocal technique & performance, composition or improvisation – please get in touch! I’ve been teaching online at the New School, developing new skills to teach online more effectively. So get in touch if you’re interested and we’ll take it from there. Looking forward to hearing from you and maybe working together online. Would be so nice.

I’m sending out well wishes to you all – wishing safety and health for your loved ones.  Hang in there and keep in touch! Not sure how long we’ll be in this space, but I will post and reach out regularly to see how everyone is doing. We will move past this, despite the horrific response from the current administration. In the meantime, let’s stay inside so we can all live to meet on the other side of this moment.


FV at home and having a good time! Photo: Kyra Kverno

Dear Friends and Music lovers everywhere,

No matter who you are, these are tough and trying times. As a New Yorker based in Brooklyn, I’m effectively living in a city under ‘voluntary lockdown’. Empty streets and safe distances are the norm now. We all expect it rules of engagement to get more stringent until we flatten the curve, as they say. I’m concerned for friends and family around the world and for the past week, as the cascading sounds of ‘CANCEL’ and ‘Social Distance’ have reverberated throughout out the communities I’m part of, I too have been laying low. Going out when necessary and just hunkering down. I slightly mourn my lost freedom yet I’d prefer that to getting infected myself or what concerns me most of all – giving it to someone that may not survive it. I take consolation that so far, so good – my husband and I and our housemates are OK. Grateful to live in a house at this moment, little need to worry about who may or may not be coming here. With some space, isolation is easier to bear as well.

It feels like a time to go inside, think about what’s important. Who’s important? Who do we need to keep in contact with? Who and what do we value? How many records, books or movies can I finally catch up on because of the luxury of time – for a little while. What courses can I take? How can I go even deeper into my vocal, musical, compositional practice? What can I do to help others at this time? Here are some links below to helpful places to start if you’re an artist that’s lost work, need funds and more. I lost a bunch of work (as you can see from my GIGS page) but I should be OK if the shedding is short-lived. I do worry about my peers.

If you can though, and if this time is survivable for you – try to find solace in the quiet spaces and discover or revisit passions, desires and all the things that bring you joy. Provided I and those I’m close to stay healthy, that’s one of my goals at this time.



Survey for Nightlife Workers, Freelancers, and Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

CoronaVirus is our Future

NYC Covid-19 Musician Support & Resources

Corona Relief Fund application

The BARN SONGS Tour, The ExPosure Series (Chicago) & The STONE are CANCELLED

Wishing everyone the best of health, sanity and safety in these very strange and turbulent times. Much love and wellness to you and yours. Until we meet again!

Spent the Holidays in the Netherlands, deep in the Dutch woods

Best wishes to you for a wonderful 2020!! May it be full of possibilities and opportunities for the life and world you want to live in. I’m excited about 2020 for so many reasons. For the first time I wrote out all I was thankful for in 2019 which I’ll share further below.

First UP, First SHOW

I am thrilled beyond measure to share that I’ll perform a DUO show with the iconic French bassist & vocalist, Joelle Leandre!
TUESDAY, January 7 2020
Zurcher Gallery
33 Bleecker Street, NY NY
8PM $20 at the door

Later in the month catch me with Maria Grand (January 8); Women in The Arts (Jan 11-afternoon): WinterJazzFest Tribute to Steve Dalachinsky (Jan 11-night); We Have Voice (Jan 17-University of Pittsburgh); SoundNoiseFUNK3 (Jan 22-24/Dartmouth/Greenfield, MA).
Details on these performances on the Upcoming Gig Section of the FV website.

Gratitude Walk through 2019

Personally 2019 was a great and transformative year for me.  I feel I came into my own as an educator, developing an ever clearer vision of how to teach vocalists AND instrumentalists how to improvise. I’ve also performed more of my own composed music than ever before, sharing compositions with ensembles from Berkeley, CA to Banff and I kept on developing Mutations for Justice, set for a grand performance later in 2020, closer to Election Day.

I am grateful for all the support I’ve received last year for my work and for the myriad opportunities to stretch and expand outward.  So many folks to thank, listing quite a few below. 

My deepest gratitude to:

*John Zorn and The Stone at the New School for giving me the first week of January 2019 to honor the great pianist/composer that would have been 100 on January 3rd 2019.  I curated 4 days of concerts attempting to show  different sides of Herbie Nichols’ flexible genius that were well attended to boot.  I want to thank all of the musicians that contributed mightily to the proceedings and the New York Times for including the concerts in their weekly jazz listings.

*Martine Syms, Ellen Alderman and The Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts (Chicago, IL) for inviting to partake in a day of events closing out the 5 month exhibit of Martine Syms. I performed in Syms’ piece Incense, Sweaters & Ice which premiered at MOMA in 2017. The day at the Graham Foundation centered around a workshop on confidence building, performance in DUO with the esteemed Chicago drummer/impresario Mike Reed + with Q&A over process, message and improvisation. 

*Brice Rosenbloom & Matt Merewitz and The Winter Jazz Fest for presenting Mutations for Justice on the Festival, our 2nd WIP performance of the project.  This performance made Rolling Stones top 10 wrap of the festival, expressing what I want this project to be about -small mantras that state what’s going on.

*Matana Roberts, for including myself and trumpeter Jaimie Branch in a set to open up the season at the Issue Project Room.

*The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music for bringing me on as a faculty member!!

*Brad Linde at the Georgetown Day School in Washington DC for inviting myself, pianist Anthony Coleman and bassist Ratzo Harris to celebrate the great Herbie Nichols Centennial through masterclasses and performances with the students and a full Herbie Nichols SUNG performance as well.

FV's 2019 Banff Ensemble (Banff Center for Arts & Learning)
FV’s 2019 Banff Ensemble (Banff Center for Arts & Learning)

*Our new landlords (who we found in Feb 2019) for our new and comfortable digs!

*William Parker and Hamid Drake for the invitation to record with them as a trio.  The *ISH is LIT! I understand it will be included in a box set to be released later this year.

*Billy Martin and Creative Music Studios for asking me to take part in a stupendous fund-raising concert that included the likes of Marshall Allen, Marc Ribot, Oteil Burbridge and so much more at Brooklyn Bowl and for inviting me to be an Artistic Director!

*Steven Bernstein and Verna Gillis for inviting me to celebrate Roswell Rudd, who we all miss so much, at City Winery. It was a heart warming and beautiful event.

*Jamaaladeen Tacuma for inviting me to be a part of the closing set on the Outsiders Festival in Philadelphia, PA.  I shared the stage with the legendary reedist Gary Bartz as well and H Prizm and Charles Treece. A musical highlight!!

*Amy Bormet, for inviting me to join her and a killing crew of musicians at the Art Summit at the Kennedy Center where we were tasked with composing a closing song that encapsulated all that happened throughout the day.  We did good! Phew.

*Billy Martin for inviting me to be a Workshop Leader at the Annual summer retreat in the Catskills for the Creative Music Studios.

*Vijay Iyer & Tyshawn Sorey for inviting me once again to be guest faculty at The Banff Center for the Arts and Creativity for the 2nd year in a row. Teaching there has changed me as an educator in the best possible way.

*The New York Jazz Workshop for asking me for the 10th consecutive year to conduct the International  Jazz Vocal Summit.

*Headlands Center for the Arts for rewarding me with a residency to write more of Mutations for Justice.  I also thank Headlands for inviting to perform a solo excerpt of Mutations for Justice as part of their yearly fundraising event.  A special shout out to the residents I spend time with there; a very, very special shout out to the Residency Manager, Holly Blake, who was warm and welcoming throughout.  Not mention the person that knows absolutely all there is to know about that amazing space on earth.

*Pianist/composer extraordinaire Myra Melford for inviting me into her UC-Berkeley classes to share music and my performance practices with her ensembles. It was a blast to work with Lisa Mezzacappa as well in Myra’s class as well as in a couple performances.  

*Steve Dickinson at the Poetry Center of San Francisco for organizing a wonderful day of events at San Francisco State and Center for New Music, effectively launching the DUO of Myra Melford and myself that we then took to the Western Front in Vancouver, BC (Canada) and Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, WA.  We tested beautiful ground in the afternoon talk and performance, already clarifying the ideas that moved into the evening concert.  A very unique connection of texts, song, form and improvisation. These opportunities are priceless to feel things out and happen far too little. Wonderful to work with Steve and everyone at the Poetry Center for this happening.

*guitarist/composer Jeremiah Lockwood for presenting me twice in the Bay Area while at the Headlands at Beth Sholom Congregation. First as part of a monthly listening series where I presented my compositions with Lisa Mezzacappa & Darren Johnston and then for Kol Nidre, which was my last day as Headlands Resident.  I’ll never forget it.

*pianist/composer/educator/curator JASON MORAN for getting an amazing exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  And he was so generous with it, including a series of performances in the sculptures throughout the 5-month run. I was honored to be one of the featured performers and that event was so incredible on many levels.  So grateful and honored to have gotten the opportunity.

*Nick Lloyd and Carl Testa at Firehouse 12 for programming SoundNoiseFUNK in the Fall Series.  We took that opportunity to record a live album, due to come out in 2020 on ESP Disk. Grateful to make more music that more of you can hear with this amazing group! Sam Newsome (soprano sax), Joe Morris (guitar) and Reggie Nicholson (drums).

*the powerful musician and educator James Newton for inviting me to be an Artist-in-Residence at UCLA this Fall. An incredible learning experience. I gave a lecture for the students on the importance of communicating messages in one’s music; I rehearsed an instrumental ensemble to perform my music for a final concert. Grateful for the opportunity to work with these great students that gave so much to the music

 **Northern Spy Records for releasing BARN SONGS on November 15 2019, my 10th album as a leader!!! If you haven’t heard it yet, do have a listen at:

Outside of my New School Class, I gave more talks/lectures than ever in 2019 on subjects such as *Jazz Composers on Jazz Composers (Banff), *Experiments in Communicating Message (UCLA & The New School), *Beginning Jazz Harmony (NYU), *Creative Improvisation (Creative Music Studios, Banff + Private course) Rhythm in Real Time w Myra Melford (University of British Columbia)

I’m ending with giving special shout out to all the people that inspired me with their vision, their faith and their love. Thank you, Thank you for being YOU Nicole Mitchell, Imani Uzuri, Tyshawn Sorey, Vijay Iyer, Marika Hughes, Joe Morris and my hubby Jochem van Dijk who never ceases to amaze me. I connected more to my family in 2019 too, even meeting my half-brother in person for the first time. I ran into cousin at Banff that I hadn’t set eyes on in 30 years and my closest aunt turned 70, celebrating with a huge celebration that bought so many of us together from far and near. And ending the year with my Dutch family was special too, the first time that has happened since I moved back in New York City in 2003.

Dream BIG y’all. No reason not to.  May you soar into the light in 2020.

Selfie w my sister and husband on the last day of 2019

Happy Holidays Friends,

I write this last note to you for 2019 as we sit in the middle of impeachment hearings for the current US president, as humanity hangs on the cusp of a climate catastrophe and as strongmen and the extremely wealthy around the world blatantly assert their superiority. It easy to feel helpless, hopeless, cynical and just afraid in light of all of this. Yet, we all have a say in how we conduct our own lives, how we impact others around us.  What are we doing to contribute to the world we want to see? We may think we’re so small in light of all this but I say NO! If our voices are for the positive forces want to see, we must use them how ever we can. And keep moving…there is still much to be hopeful about. 

In the past couple years, I’ve worked in academia much more than I have ever before.  Not only as Faculty at the New School but in doing appearances at various academic institutions around the country.  Interacting with students around jazz, improvisation and composition.  What I’ve witnessed over and over again is an openness in the students I’ve encountered.  A willingness to go down unknown roads with little resistance.  I’ve had immense conversations with young people about what they want to say with their art.  What they are grappling with and how their struggle for language and understanding keeps them on the search. It’s inspired me deeply and instilled even more faith that the music and the future is in good hands.  I don’t have children myself so gathering this understanding has been given me much more insight into where to focus my own energy as an educator. 

On that front, I just wrapped the last class (and performance!) for my Vocal Performance 5 Class at the New School.  It was a wonderful semester.  Very excited for Spring 2020 and happy to share as well that I joined Creative Music Studios (CMS) as an Artistic Director. Honored to be asked by Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame) and Steven Bernstein to be a voice in this esteemed organization started by Ornette Coleman, Karl Berger & Ingrid Sertso.

Out in the bigger world – folks around the world are fed up, hitting the streets, putting and pitting their bodies against teargas and rubber bullets to say NO MORE. These times are scary and fascinating the geo-political shifting feels seismic and when the dust finally settles – who knows where we’ll be but if we have solidarity in our truth at least we won’t be alone.  

I won’t get any credit for it in the ‘jazz’ press (and rarely have I) but my work is always political.  Here’s a track from my latest album – Talk Talk (part 2) – about making up one’s mind on where we stand and please consider picking up a copy for your gift-giving pleasure this holiday season

Listen & Purchase BARN SONGS at
check out DownBeat Magazine’s Preview of Talk Talk :

More on being the change you want to see. I am so so very proud to report that the We Have Voice Collective that I am deeply honored to be a part of, we that launched an Open Letter in December 2017 and then went on to arduously and carefully crafted a Code of Conduct to Promote Safe(r) Spaces in the Performing Arts has been selected by the New York Times as ONE of the definitive moments in jazz of the entire decade of the 2010’s. 

Members of the We Have Voice Collective (WHV), taken at Roulette in May of 2018 by Heather Sten
l-r, b-f; Linda May Han Oh, Imani Uzuri, Tamar Sella, Kavita Shah
Ganavy Doriswamy, FV, Nicole Mitchell, Okkyung Lee, Sara Serpa, Rajna Swamivatham

Final concert of the year!

Last show of the year is very special indeed! Playing a DUO concert with the amazing drummer/composer Gerald Cleaver.  I’ve played with Gerald over the years in collective contexts but this is a FIRST.  And it’s Free.  The Brooklyn Rail wrote a nice lil preview.  

That’s happening here:
The Clemente, Room 203
107 Suffolk Street, NY NY 10002
Bring your kids! Last 10 minutes of the concert is interactive.

Please check the GIG section for all the coming appearances for 2020 (and keep checking back!)

FIRST Show in 2020 – a dream come TRUE!

DUO with the illustrious Joëlle Léandre (double bassist, vocalist)
Fay Victor/Joelle Leandre
TUESDAY, January 7 2020
Zurcher Gallery
33 Bleecker Street, NY NY
8PM $20 at the door

Be kind to yourselves and each other. Let’s figure out ways we can communicate better with each other. Somehow. Wishing all of us the best possible outcome for life, love and unity on this planet in the coming decade. Happy New Year!

Photo by Kyra Kverno…at home, BK, NY