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: 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.

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 www.northernspyrecs.com
check out DownBeat Magazine’s Preview of Talk Talk :http://downbeat.com/news/detail/premiere-fay-victor-talk-talk-part-2

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

BARN SONGS – Released November 15, 2019 on Northern Spy Records
FV-voice, compositions Marika Hughes-cello, Darius Jones-alto saxophone
Photoshoot for BARN SONGS by Chris Weiss

Dear Friends,

How are you? It’s been a moment since I checked in with you all, so much to share!
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!

*NYT Playlist (11/15/2019)
You can listen/purchase on BAND CAMP ,
you can purchase BARN SONGS at northernspyrecs.com

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. 

UCLA Student Ensemble ‘selfie’ with the great James Newton!

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! 

The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street

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!

Herbie Nichols SUNG – Photo by Paula Court for the Whitney Museum

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. 

Sun setting on Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin County, CA)

Thanks for reading, it’s been a busy autumn! 

Wishing you all well, much love to you all!

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)

Sign up to save your spot

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,

Hello Dear Friends,

Summer greetings to you all! Getting in touch about my annual birthday HANG at the 55BAR on THURSDAY JULY 25 from 7-9PM with SoundNoiseFUNK (WooHoo!) and special guests joining the fun. This year is a slight change in me bringing in a working band that has NEVER appeared with me at the 55BAR. SoundNoiseFUNK with guitarist Joe Morris, soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome & drummer Reggie Nicholson and myself bought out Wet Robots on the ESP label in 2018 to amazing critical acclaim. 4.5 stars in DownBeat Magazine (including a HotBox appearance) and placing #4 in the Jazz Vocal Category on 2018’s NPR Jazz Critic’s Poll! Most important though is the great music we make and the deep connection we have. A joy to make music with these gentlemen plus the special guests who’ll join us on that day as well. Come on through!

FV Birthday HANG!

More news to share!
I’m hosting my next Creative Improvisation Workshop in November 2019!
>>November 5, 12, 19, Dec 3 2019//6-9PM
+ FINAL Concert for all participants
>>Friday, December 6 2019//7PM
Workshop & Concert Location
168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
(between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
Sign-up to hold your spot//signup & payment due:
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2019

Thanks for reading, see you out there.

in a DUO with Marc Ribot at the CMS benefit on April 3rd at Brooklyn Bowl

Happy Spring!! Happy Spring?

If you’re in the same city I’m in Spring feels like an elusive dream, stopping by for a day to kiss us gently and then it’s cold, cold, cold again. It’s not great, but what can you do? I just remind my self of my years living in Amsterdam when Spring could feel the same and I muddle through.  This April we moved to a new home and my performing month started with a stellar benefit for the great, great Creative Music Studio (CMS) started by Ornette Coleman, Ingrid Sertso & Karl Berger, now co-run by musicians Steven Bernstein and Billy Martin. CMS is still going strong with workshops, performances and more (I’ll be heading up in June to teach and play myself!). So what an experience to feel all the love for this organization in the folks that came out and graced the stage including Marshall Allen, Marc RibotCyro Baptista, Ingrid Sertso, Oteil Burbridge, Peter Apfelbaum, Joe Russo to name just a few, not to mention the packed house. Since then, it’s all about unpacking the new home and getting my teaching studio together (NOW it is!) before a blizzard of amazing shows coming up next week in NYC, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.  Tell all your friends! Here’s what’s coming up deeper into April…

On the HighLine
Special Performance for the Reveal of
Simone Leigh
Brick House
On the High Line/the Spur
30th St. and 10th Ave.


City Winery 10th Anniversary: Honoring the great, great Roswell Rudd
Featuring Sexmob with John Medeski, Nels Cline, FV, Trombone Tribe + + +
tickets: https://citywinery.com/…/city-winery-10th-anniversary-remem…

Marika Hughes, FV, Darius Jones

Songs WE Love/FV 55 BAR Monthly Residency
FV – voice
Michael Attias – alto sax
Dezron Douglas – double bass
Reggie Nicholson – drums
55 Christopher Street
No cover, 2 drink minimum

The Outsiders Festival – Philadelphia, PA
Performance w Jamaaladeen Tacuma & Gary Bartz!!!!!
also featuring sets by New Ghost Ensemble, Retrograde, Marco Oppedisano (Guitar) and more.
Community Education Center (CEC), 3500 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Human Journey: Creating the Story of US
With Amy K Bormet (pianist, bandleader)
FV (voice)
Sarah Hughes (tenor saxophone)
Karine Chapdelaine (bass)
Shirazette Tinnin (drums)
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566

This will be an improvised performance based on the stories told during the daytime Summit.

Finally I want to share an outtake of a piece called ‘There They Are”, one of the compositions on an upcoming release with Darius Jones (alto saxophone) and Marika Hughes (cello).  I posted this video on my FB page a couple weeks back and it’s received the most attention and praise of anything I’ve ever shared.  https://youtu.be/5YVzW7WRLSQ
I think it’s special too! Not sure when the record will be released (working on it) and will keep you posted right here.

I hope all is well in your world.
Thanks for reading and see you out there!


New House!

FV first ever Stone Residency honoring the 100 birthday of pianist/composer Herbie Nichols

Dear Friends,

2019 started with a BANG! January was an intense month that at moments I wondered if I’d get through! 

January started off with my first curation of The Stone dedicated to the 100th birthday celebration of the incredible pianist/composer Herbie Nichols which to my mind was a resounding success. Wonderful houses all four nights, an amazing preview (with FV photo to boot!) in the New York Times, so much love throughout from the community including the generosity of the musicians that gave their time and the amazing folks that came out, some from as far away as DC and continued to come every night. I am so grateful to everyone’s show of support over the work of Nichols’ genius and I for one was thrilled to sit through the deep immersion into his musical world.

After this celebration, I went to Chicago for a day of events at the Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts including amazing duo set with drummer/impresario Mike Reed + a workshop on Vocal confidence.  This was all attributed to the amazing exhibit of Martine Syms, who’s work I’m happy to be a part of. Martine had a FIVE month exhibition at the Graham and these events were on of the culminating events of her run.

We Have Voice, the 14 member collective that launched a Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts were Keynote Speakers at the Chamber Music America Annual Conference 2019.

Then on to WinterJazzFest with Mutations for Justice + a wonderful set with Maria Grand!! I’m so excited about this project and much more to come on this front in the near future. What I can share is I’ve been honored to receive a Headlands Residency to finish this project.  Our performance at the WinterJazzFest made it in to Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top 10 moments of the Winter JazzFest 2019. Wow. 

Some other amazing happening in January: joining Matana Roberts and Jaimie Breezy Branch open up the season at the Issue Project Room, being part of two panels with We Have Voice (WHV): The Jazz & Gender Panel on the Winter Jazz Fest and the one half of the Keynote Speakers at the Chamber Music America Conference. Acclaimed author & scholar Ta-nehisi Coates was the other.

Last but far from least – I officially joined the faculty of the New School in New York City, currently teaching Vocal Performance 5 in the Vocal Performance department. I’m still getting settled but already enjoying the students and the work! Check this lovely piece on Medium talking about the new faculty and I’m honored to be included…check it out here!

Check out the GIGS link to check out all the gig news for FEB and beyond! Been updating upcoming performances as they come in.

Please note there’s no 55BAR this month but back at on THURS, MAR 28 2019.
Thanks for reading friends!
Wishing you love, music, safety and peace!

Mutations for Justice! A wonderful set on the WinterJazz Fest and much more to come. l-r Michael Vatcher (drums), Luke Stewart (double bass), Jaimie Breezy Branch (trumpet), Mazz Swift (violin)

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.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (Photo taken in Mexico City, Mexico)

Greetings and Happy Holidays to you all! Wishing everyone a wondrous holiday season and a prosperous and positive 2019.  2018 has been some year on the world stage with a swift wind change right in politics around the world.  Watching the news makes everything seem grim or how it all is coming to a dismal end.  Climate change notwithstanding, there is still lots of positivity around the world.  People trying to enjoy and simplify their lives as best they can.  I spent most of the autumn in amazing cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Long Beach, Rome, Venice, Krakow, Poland and Mexico City. Everywhere the similar thread was so many homeless among the opulence. Affluent folk peering in at the lives of people either catering to their whims or somehow superficially related to outside perceptions. Yet I also met people happy with their lives as is. Content. At peace. No longer searching if they ever were.  Except for music, maybe, in time of need. I was amazed to discover in Mexico that anyone can sing with Mariachi musicians and people DO when they are sad or full of heartbreak over jilted lover. This is how normal folk come out to relieve themselves of the pain of loss and more, in community. One example of how it is still a big beautiful world out there and if you can, go out and taste it.

After all this moving around, I’m firmly planted back in NYC for sometime and so much good stuff is coming up.  January is chock full of goodies including the Herbie Nichols Centennial Celebration at The Stone that I’m honored to curate + my Mutations for Justice project is on the Winter JazzFest January 12th 2019 at SOB’s. Before we hit 2019, please join me at the 55BAR for the last performance of the year: at the 55BAR with Old Songs, New Skin. Come and join us for a toast to kissing 2018 goodbye!

DEC 27 Old Songs, New Skin
FV – voice, compositions
Marika Hughes – cello
Darius Jones – alto saxophone
55 Bar
55 Christopher Street
No Cover, 2 drink minimum

Old Songs, New Skin!(Marika Hughes, FV, Darius Jones)

Seriously though,  sending the best wishes for a safe, fun and rewarding holiday season + a spanking new and prosperous 2019. I am so grateful for everyone’s support this year of the music and projects I’m involved in and coming out to shows. I could not do what I do without working with and in front of great people.  Incredible to be on record with Marc Ribot, Nicole Mitchell and my own SoundNoiseFUNK in 2018, amazed that all of these projects were well received by music lovers as well as the critics.

Thank you, thank you friends!
In gratitude,


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!


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.


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,