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
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!
More news to share! I’m hosting my next Creative Improvisation Workshop in November 2019! CREATIVE IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP IV by Fay Victor FOUR TUESDAYS >>November 5, 12, 19, Dec 3 2019//6-9PM + FINAL Concert for all participants >>Friday, December 6 2019//7PM Workshop & Concert Location I BEAM 168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) Sign-up to hold your spot//signup & payment due: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2019
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 Ribot, Cyro 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…
TUESDAY, APRIL 23 6:30PM
w MOOR MOTHER! On the HighLine
Special Performance for the Reveal of Simone Leigh Brick House On the High Line/the Spur
30th St. and 10th Ave.
THURSDAY APRIL 25 7-9PM Songs WE Love/FV 55 BAR Monthly Residency
FV – voice
Michael Attias – alto sax
Dezron Douglas – double bass
Reggie Nicholson – drums www.55bar.com
55 Christopher Street
No cover, 2 drink minimum
FRIDAY APRIL 26 8PM 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
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!
2019 started with a BANG! January was an intense month that at moments I wondered if I’d get through!
January started off with my first curation of The Stone dedicated to the 100th birthday celebration of the incredible pianist/composer Herbie Nichols which to my mind was a resounding success. Wonderful houses all four nights, an amazing preview (with FV photo to boot!) in the New York Times, so much love throughout from the community including the generosity of the musicians that gave their time and the amazing folks that came out, some from as far away as DC and continued to come every night. I am so grateful to everyone’s show of support over the work of Nichols’ genius and I for one was thrilled to sit through the deep immersion into his musical world.
After this celebration, I went to Chicago for a day of events at the Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts including amazing duo set with drummer/impresario Mike Reed + a workshop on Vocal confidence. This was all attributed to the amazing exhibit of Martine Syms, who’s work I’m happy to be a part of. Martine had a FIVE month exhibition at the Graham and these events were on of the culminating events of her run.
Then on to WinterJazzFest with Mutations for Justice + a wonderful set with Maria Grand!! I’m so excited about this project and much more to come on this front in the near future. What I can share is I’ve been honored to receive a Headlands Residency to finish this project. Our performance at the WinterJazzFest made it in to Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top 10 moments of the Winter JazzFest 2019. Wow.
Some other amazing happening in January: joining Matana Roberts and Jaimie Breezy Branch open up the season at the Issue Project Room, being part of two panels with We Have Voice (WHV): The Jazz & Gender Panel on the Winter Jazz Fest and the one half of the Keynote Speakers at the Chamber Music America Conference. Acclaimed author & scholar Ta-nehisi Coates was the other.
Last but far from least – I officially joined the faculty of the New School in New York City, currently teaching Vocal Performance 5 in the Vocal Performance department. I’m still getting settled but already enjoying the students and the work! Check this lovely piece on Medium talking about the new faculty and I’m honored to be included…check it out here!
Check out the GIGS link to check out all the gig news for FEB and beyond! Been updating upcoming performances as they come in.
Please note there’s no 55BAR this month but back at on THURS, MAR 28 2019.
Thanks for reading friends!
Wishing you love, music, safety and peace!
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 Robotson 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.
Greetings and Happy Holidays to you all! Wishing everyone a wondrous holiday season and a prosperous and positive 2019.2018 has been some year on the world stage with a swift wind change right in politics around the world.Watching the news makes everything seem grim or how it all is coming to a dismal end.Climate change notwithstanding, there is still lots of positivity around the world.People trying to enjoy and simplify their lives as best they can.I spent most of the autumn in amazing cities: Seattle, San Francisco, Long Beach, Rome, Venice, Krakow, Poland and Mexico City. Everywhere the similar thread was so many homeless among the opulence. Affluent folk peering in at the lives of people either catering to their whims or somehow superficially related to outside perceptions. Yet I also met people happy with their lives as is. Content. At peace. No longer searching if they ever were. Except for music, maybe, in time of need. I was amazed to discover in Mexico that anyone can sing with Mariachi musicians and people DO when they are sad or full of heartbreak over jilted lover. This is how normal folk come out to relieve themselves of the pain of loss and more, in community. One example of how it is still a big beautiful world out there and if you can, go out and taste it.
After all this moving around, I’m firmly planted back in NYC for sometime and so much good stuff is coming up.January is chock full of goodies including the Herbie Nichols Centennial Celebration at The Stone that I’m honored to curate + my Mutations for Justice project is on the Winter JazzFest January 12th 2019 at SOB’s. Before we hit 2019, please join me at the 55BAR for the last performance of the year: at the 55BAR with Old Songs, New Skin. Come and join us for a toast to kissing 2018 goodbye!
DEC 27Old Songs, New Skin
FV – voice, compositions
Marika Hughes – cello
Darius Jones – alto saxophone
55 Christopher Street
No Cover, 2 drink minimum
Seriously though, sending the best wishes for a safe, fun and rewarding holiday season + a spanking new and prosperous 2019. I am so grateful for everyone’s support this year of the music and projects I’m involved in and coming out to shows. I could not do what I do without working with and in front of great people. Incredible to be on record with Marc Ribot, Nicole Mitchell and my own SoundNoiseFUNK in 2018, amazed that all of these projects were well received by music lovers as well as the critics.
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.
Labor day weekend…for many a death knell to the end of summer. Life gets back to its normal rigor. Well, I’m asking what IS normal anymore, if there ever was such a thing. Seasons start to matter less as global warming creates a muddy connection. And American politics has flowered into a cruelty and blatancy not seen in my lifetime anyway. I’m not surprised at the reasons we’re here just surprised that we actually let it happen. So going ‘back’ to normal seems nostalgic or maybe the want of a memory that didn’t exist anyway. And how normal can any world feel with Aretha Franklin and now Randy Weston gone?
Strange times to be and feel positive yet I have to try. Keep moving on into worlds and spaces that feel enriching and open possibilities for what might be possible. This idea is at work this month with a new recording project of old material that Jochem van Dijk and I wrote when we began our writing life together at the end of the 90’s. Before the compositions for the Fay Victor Ensemble and back when our song forms resembled many others. Revisiting these songs with Darius Jones (alto saxophone) and Marika Hughes (cello) at the 55BAR the last few years has been a revelation in how much I still love these tunes and how now and within this sound world, they seem brand new. I look forward to sharing this when it comes out in 2019. Here is a video taken by Gerald van Wilgen that captures the special 55BAR vibe…and some surprises:
Deeper into September I’ll delve into another sound world for a first time performance with pianist extraordinaire Myra Melford, performing both of our music as well as improvising with Marika Hughes joining us on SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 at the Greenwich House. Back at the 55BAR on September 27th with SONGS We LOVE (w Sean Conly & Michael Vatcher), closing out the month on the InGardens in DUO with bassist Brandon Lopez – a first!
CREATIVE IMPROV WORKSHOP IV is coming up soon too, starting September 18 2018 for over 4 consecutive TUESDAYS at I-BEAM in Brooklyn, NY. Click the link HERE to learn more about the course and spread the word. Or drop an email to email@example.com
*In other SEPT news, A new Marc Ribot record is coming out this month and I am delighted to perform three songs on Songs of Resistance, an album of old and new protest songs with guest artists such as Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tom Waits and more. This will be epic.
The word is getting out about my latest release with SoundNoiseFUNK – WET ROBOTS (ESP-Disk) with some great feedback on the press front. Fantastic that so far people not only dig the music but really get what we do as a group. after the quotes, checkout the links to purchase/listen and share this music. Will add a clip from WinterJazzFest 2018 at the end.
4 ½ STARS – Downbeat Magazine “Wet Robots is a program of thoughtful particulars, but it’s Victor’s acrobatics that mesmerize. Unabashed when it comes to sound creation, one can hear the passion in every syllable she utters, whether manic or modest. With echoes of Lauren Newton and Meredith Monk, the singer builds a web of personalized pieces that boast exuberance, with each warble, shriek and roar crafting a ferocious identity. Informed by blues and politics, their cagey deployment is downright entrancing, especially when bolstered by this kind of collective clout.” –Jim Macnie, Downbeat Magazine (+HotBox), October 2018
“Singer Fay Victor is the solution to so many “What is the role of the singer in jazz today?” puzzles. The role, Victor proves throughout Wet Robots, is anything at all, anything the imagination allows. …On a third or fourth pass through this remarkable document—and what can only be called a narrowly focused part of Fay Victor’s art, as she has fronted many bands with many different instrumentations and approaches—I felt I needed to rethink what “jazz” singing really could or ought to be so many years after talents like Betty Carter, Nina Simone, and Cassandra Wilson had dared to begin redefining it. Victor is at another level of freedom and daring and creativity. Sure, this kind of music is at the arty margin, but Victor proves that this kind of abstract singing is also flesh and blood and heart and earth.
‘I sing to save my life / I sing to look human’, Fay Victor makes clear.” –Will Layman, Popmatters (8/10)
“This record stands out from the usual free jazz gestures and credit belongs to Victor. It’s not just that this is her band, but her unique singing concept leads the way. She has a familiar toolbox of vocal sounds, but it’s the way she uses her notes that matter—she has exceptional intonation and it sounds like it comes effortlessly, so she improvises with pitches and melodically logical and coherent tonal phrases. On top of that, she manages the challenging high-wire act of improvising text while always keeping it interesting and fresh. It’s a measure of a first-rate intelligence— take that F. Scott Fitzgerald.”…As abstract as most of this is, the earth of the blues comes through almost every track, often with power…” —George Grella, NYCJR, September 2018
CREATIVE IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP IV by Fay Victor Four TUESDAYS: September 18, 25; October 2, 9 2018
12 Hours over 4 weeks 6-9PM each session
I BEAM 168 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
+ FINAL Concert @ IBEAM for all the participants SUNDAY, October 14th @5PM Sign-up to hold your spot – firstname.lastname@example.org signup & payment due by Tuesday, September 4, 2018 Course fee: $250.00 (Payable by Paypal, Zelle or by Check) Course fee: $250.00
About the Creative Improvisation Workshop
Vocalistswill learn, discover and explore their voices, leaving the course with tangible tools for improvising inside, outside, alongside songs and beyond with an improvising vocalistwith over 15 years of experience as an improvisor performing with everyone from Marshall Allen (Sun Ra) to Dr. Randy Weston with Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Misha Mengelberg, William Parker and Wadada Leo Smith in between.
During the CREATIVE IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP you’ll experience how to develop language, listen, and interact with instrumentalists as an improvisors cultivating your own creations within an improvised context. The course will feature instrumentalists to work with participants during the course, also a group for the final concert.
A Testimonial “The Creative Improvisation Workshop allowed me to step out of my mind and into the depths of my feelings. What I’ve learned most from the experience is that being in the moment, both still and actively listening, brought out my true artistic expression. Fay provided a foundation for us in the form of technique and improvisational language. But, the heavy focus that I normally apply to my singing was lessened because I was trusting in the moment. As a result, the technique and language followed. I encourage all singers to jump into the experience, step out of their norm and find their whole creative selves. Sharing this experience with other women also added a spiritual element that is not always present in traditional jazz workshops.I am looking forward to the next time.”
August is here and that signals the downward slide of summer. For me, it’s my only summer space since the first half was spent tucked away and now this month I truly get to play. Before I get to all that, many thanks to those of you that wished me a Happy Birthday in and out of Social Media Land. It felt so grand to get your good wishes and the hang at the 55AR was sublime – fun, serious, intense, great house of great people with old and new friends! Back at the 55 BAR with Old Songs, New Skin (which we will record just a week later for release in 2019), more on that below. Before that – I’m honored to appear with Nicole Mitchell Dusty Wings project at the NewPort Jazz Festival (a first!) on August 5th and at the Stone as part of her Xenogenesis Suite: Tribute to Octavia Butler on August 11th. Then teaching in NY and Canada this month for the New York Jazz Workshop and Banff Center for Creative Music respectively. Details below…thanks for reading
SUNDAY, August 5 2018 – NOON Nicole Mitchell’s Dusty Wings NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL Newport, RI Nicole Mitchell – flutes, compositions
Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet
Rashaan Carter – double bass
Shinazatte Tinnen – drums
FV – voice
THURSDAY, August 9 – SUNDAY, August 12 2018 Jazz Vocal Summit – Intermediate/Advanced FV, Course Instruction 8th year in a row! The New York Jazz Workshop – www.newyorkjazzworkshop.com
SATURDAY, August 11 2018 Nicole Mitchell’s Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler The STONE 55 West 13th Street, NYC Nicole Mitchell-flutes, compositions Darius Jones-alto sax
Marika Hughes-cello Pheeroan Aklaff-drums FV-voice
MONDAY, August 20 – SATURDAY, August 25, 2018 Guest lecturer – Banff International Workshop on Jazz & Creative Music Banff, Alberta, Canada Vijay Iyer & Dr. Tyshawn Sorey – Artistic Directors
THURSDAY, August 30, 2018 55 BAR Monthly Residency – Old Songs, New Skin Marika Hughes – cello
Darius Jones – alto sax
FV – voice, compositions The 55 BAR
7-9PM 55 Christopher Street New York, NY