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. www.patreon.com/freesongsinger
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 https://www.artsforart.org/onlinesalon.html
Year End News for ‘We’ve Had Enough’
Will Layman over at Popmatters.com 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.”
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. https://roulette.org/event/fay-victor-album-release-for-soundnoisefunks-weve-had-enough/
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: https://greenleafmusic.com/overcome-by-dave-douglas-featured-on-npr-morning-edition/
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.
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. www.jazzgallery.org
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.
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.
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: https://www.patreon.com/freesongsinger
New performances & workshops
June 21, 2020 – 3PM PDT/6PM EDT – ONLINE via YOUTUBE LIVE 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 – 1PMEDT–ONLINE 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 EDT – ONLINE 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 4:40PM – ONLINE 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, Fay
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.
*PRESENTED LIVE ON INSTAGRAM @INPUTOUTPUTMAG* 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 * TUNE IN ON INSTAGRAM @INPUTOUTPUTMAG *
*Donations will be collected for the performers via Venmo: @magdalenaaa or PayPal : firstname.lastname@example.org — 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.
ONLINE TEACHING? YES!
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.
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.
Here we are at the beginning of March 2020 already. It seems like just last week I was saying Happy New Year to many of you! Here’s hoping you’re well and adjusting to this vibrant, dynamic and crazy world we are living through at this time. The feeling of deep chaos is swirling around, there’s so much pain as well. Yet there is great hope and the desire to fight for a better world. All around the world people are trying the best way they know how to fight for themselves and the greater ‘we’. I’m not quite sure what to think of this moment but it keeps me on my toes. I’m also better focused on what I can do to help create the world I want to see. Connecting with many of you and others through music in this moment means so much more than it ever has. Life and sharing are precious things. I’m figuring out how to do more of the latter. Sending healing strength and love to you all.
This March I’m looking forward to sharing the music of BARN SONGS with many new faces and friends as we hot the road for shows in Newburgh, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Milwaukee, WI and Chicago, IL…with a big old CD release party at Joe’s Pub here in New York City. Thrilled to be able to take the great Darius Jones (alto sax) and Marika Hughes (cello) along for the ride. It just wouldn’t be the same without them! You can still purchase BARN SONGS via bandcamp and the Northern Spy website for starters. The BARN SONGS Tour ends in Chicago where I’ll stay on, honored to be a part of this year’s Exposure Series. In addition to the BARN SONGS Show, I’ll perform three more nights in different configurations. Excited. Just excited for it all.
Celebrating BARN SONGS! Fay Victor Chamber Trio Tour Fay Victor – voice, compositions Marika Hughes – cello Darius Jones -alto saxophone
WHEN/WHERE? SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2020 8PM Celebrating BARN SONGS Jazz @ Atlas Studios 11 Spring Street Newburgh, NY Admission will be $20 in advance and $25 at the door advance tickets are on sale now at https://fayvictor.brownpapertickets.com.
SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2020 Fay Victor Chamber Trio Celebrating BARN SONGS Community Educational Center (CEC) 3500 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104 8PM Ticket Price: $20 –Please check www.fayvictor.com for more info
THURSDAY, MARCH 26 2020 FAY VICTOR Chamber Trio| Celebrating BARN SONGS Elastic Arts 3429 W Diversey Ave, 2nd Fl Chicago, IL 60647 USA Fay Victor – vocals & compositions Marika Hughes – cello Darius Jones – alto saxophone 9 PM : Performance; 10:30 PM : Discussion w/the artists https://elasticarts.org/event/exposure-series-2020-fay-victors-barn-songs/ This performance is part of the ExPosure Series, where Fay Victor has been one of 3 special guests and will stay on in Chicago after the end of the Barn Songs tour.
FV continuing on in Chicago as part of the ExPosure Series 2020: FRIDAY, March 27 2020 9PM VICTOR/REED DUO FV – voice, sounds Mike Reed – drums
SATURDAY March 28, 2020 11 PM : VICTOR/OTIS/WING/MCBRIDE/RA FV – voice, sounds Julian Otis – vocals Alex Wing – guitar/oud Nate McBride – bass Avreeayl Ra – percussion
Sure hope to see you out there in these great spaces in the groovy places such as Upstate NY, Philadelphia (PA), Milwaukee (WI) and Chicago, IL! Kindly spread the word. Thank you! Thanks for reading and catching on the month’s performances. **John Pietaro at the New York Jazz Record had some nice words for BARN SONGS in his review: “Her uncanny ability to compose, shred and reconstruct haunting melodies is heard anew on this latest work, recorded by her Chamber Trio in a barn 160 miles north of the city. The outcome is arguably spiritual. With nary an effect standing between her voice, the cello of Marika Hughes and alto saxophone of Darius Jones, Victor begets an alluringly beautiful set of original improvisational works (composed in tandem with partner Jochem van Dijk) capturing equally the traditions of lieder, chamber jazz and African American art song.” Check this and more in the new issue of the NYC Jazz Record: http://www.nycjazzrecord.com/
On a final note – for all you budding improvisors out there, I’m starting a new initiative called the Creative Improv Sessions. Simple really. we’ll get together once a month for a couple hours just to improvise and deepen our practice. I’ll guide if you come. Need four vocalists to run a session as a minimum. First Session is Sunday, March 15, 2020, please email me at email@example.com to sign-up!
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 www.galeriezurcher.com DO NOT MISS THIS…
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.
*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: www.northernspyrecs.com
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.
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
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.
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
www.artsforart.org 3PM FREE 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 www.galeriezurcher.com
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!
How are you? It’s been a moment since I checked in with you all, so much to share! New ALBUM OUT! That’s right friends!! I’ve released a new record on Friday November 15th called BARN SONGS on the Northern Spy Records label. It a special project of songs my husband and bassist Jochem van Dijk and I wrote when we lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (along with two new compositions) re-imagined with contributions and sounds of cellist Marika Hughes and alto saxophonist Darius Jones.
Cellist Marika Hughes co-owns a barn outside of West Fulton, NY and when I decided that these tunes should be recorded, the barn felt like the right place.
Nothing like having a regular gig, especially one that gives me the freedom to program how I like and expand. Since 2015, Marika, Darius and I would perform older compositions of mine and Jochem’s (pre FVE compositions). The more we performed them, they transformed and morphed into perhaps more ‘grown-up’ versions. I am thrilled with the results of the work and connection deep in the country. If you check out Barn Songs, you’ll hear a bit of the countryside along the way. Already some press!
I’m just back from LA! I was invited by the great flutist, co,poser & educator James Newton for an Artist-In-Residency at UCLA. What an honor. I gave a lecture called ‘Experiments in Communicating Message’, expanding on a talk I gave at Banff in 2018. I also had the honor of rehearsing a fantastic student ensemble to develop my compositions for a concert on the final night of the residency. A deep learning and incredible experience. The first time I’ve presented a full concert of my mostly instrumental compositions and the students got into the music and played so well and full of passion. An amazing opportunity to have and I’m still floating on it.
The great Patricia Nicholson Parker – Artistic Director for Arts for Art (Vision Festival, Evolving Festivals, InGardens…), a real powerhouse arts advocate in New York City especially around Free jazz and black expression. Patricia is turning 70 on November 19th and it’s a huge party along with a fundraiser for Arts for Art. Come on through!
That’s all until December – please check the GIG section on the website to keep up with performances as well. Looking forward to a DUO meeting with the great drummer & composer Gerald Cleaver on December 15th at 3PM, also through Arts for Art.
Just in case you didn’t know!
The renaissance artist Jason Moran invited me to participate in his wonderful exhibit STAGED at the Whitney Museum of Art. For two days (October 18 & 19th) it was a joy to perform with Herbie Nichols SUNG as well as a pre-release CD celebration of BARN SONGS. Beautiful audience and production team. Amazing experience! The exhibit lauched on September 20, 2019 and runs through January 2020, with performances throughout. Learn more here!
The Whitney appearances happened just after my return to NYC having spent a month in the Marine Headlands, just north of San Francisco. I was there to work on the compositions for Mutations for Justice, my WIP musical diary of the current administration and it’s policies. While there in that incredible environment – I worked a lot with the great pianist/composer/educator Myra Melford! I came into her classes and worked with her students to develop my compositions with them. That was so much fun and quite an opportunity. These classes culminated in a concert with the students performing my and bassist Lisa Mezzacappa’s compositions + trio performances with Myra, Lisa and myself. At the end of the residency, Myra and I went on a duo tour, playing and giving a talk in Vancouver as well as a set on the Earshot Jazz Festival. More to come on that front.
Hoping this message finds you all in peace and goodwill. I’m writing from the Marine Headlands in Northern California where I’m on residency at Headlands Center for the Arts. It’s an incredible place deep in nature, yet so close to San Francisco. I’m here for a couple more weeks to work on Mutations for Justice, a large work encompassing the current administration in the White House. There will be SO much more to say about that. For now, posting to send Autumn Greetings to you all and give a heads up on what’s happening this Fall. (Check the GIG section on the FV site to get specific details!)
This Fall is one of my busiest yet. While I’m out in the Bay Area – I’ll be performing the music I’ve composed and have been waiting to share with you all! Most of this music’s been written in the last 2-3 years and hasn’t been performed so I’m excited to make that happen while I’m here working with pianist Myra Melford (we have a bunch of appearances starting in October 2019 in the Bay Area, Vancouver & Seattle), Lisa Mezzacappa (double bass) and trumpeter Darren Johnston).
When I’m back to NYC, my first appearances are at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of Jason Moran’s STAGED, his 5-month long exhibition at the Whitney started on September 20, 2019. Just a week later, my SoundNoiseFUNK project hits Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT to perform and we hope create a LIVE recording for future release. A release much closer in the future is BARN SONGS, my next album out as as leader coming on November 15, 2019 on the Northern Spy Label with cellist Marika Hughes and alto saxophonist Darius Jones. Thrilled for you all to hear it! I’ll be back on the West Coast in November as well for a 4 day Artist in Residence at UCLA on the invitation of Dr. James Newton. Finally a NEW Creative Improv Course starts at the beginning of November – November 5th to be exact (spots are filling up)
In other news: I won’t be back at the 55BAR for a few months due to travel and dates of the major holidays coming up. Will keep you posted about mu next date there so I’ll end my performing year doing a set for Arts for Art in DUO with the great drummer/composer Gerald Cleaver on December 15, 2019.
Thanks for reading – much love and music from here, Fay