Greene Avenue Music 2013
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Anders Nilsson – guitar, effects, voice
Ken Filiano – double bass, effects, voice
1. Big Bag
3. I’m on a Mission/Paper Cup
5. Robot Clown
7. Talk Talk
8. The Sign at the Door
9. Shaded in Grey
Reviews – Absinthe & Vermouth
4 STARS ****
“Fay Victor sings from deep in here to way out there. On her ensemble’s third album cryptic messages come in strange and intricate forms–chiaroscuro theatrical pieces that tell tales of an individualist’s exuberant survival in dystopia…this dramatic free-song queen’s candid scenarios and textured observations take time to grow on you but patience and open ears will bear fruit”.
–Fred Bouchard, Downbeat Magazine
On her new album Absinthe &Vermouth the vocalist Fay Victor imagines a literate but growlingly original new course for her working band”
–Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“Whether combing the detritus of her oversized purse (BIG BAG),examining the GUNK that must be cleared out to enable health and clarity honking through the traffic jam of urban monotony (ROBOT CLOWN) commenting on modern technology’s mechanized drone (TALK TALK) or opening the door to heaven (SEASHORE) Victor and company remain bracingly craftily brilliant.
— Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
“An inventive far-out Betty Carter Influenced New York based vocalist steps up her co-writing partnership with Dutch husband Jochem van Dijk in a raw avant-chamber jazz trio setting.*** THREE STARS
–Selwyn Harris Jazzwise (UK)
“Like Dali’s melting clock Victor’s lyrics cascade in a melding of the mundane the natural and the fantastical. Words morph into pointillistically expressive wails and punctuating tones. It’s like the Mad Hatter invited Kurt Weill and Arnold Schoenberg to tea and the caterpillar scored it.”
—Katie Bull The New York Jazz Record(Vox Column)
“Over the past few years Ms. Victor has made inroads into the creative music scene with her no-holds-barred improvisational approach to music. Along with bassist Ken Filiano and guitarist Anders Nilsson she is creating music that breaks barriers while being true to Whitney Balliett’s description of jazz as \”the sound of surprise\””Absinthe & Vermouth is filled with music that thrills those listeners who love a challenge (and might scare the devil out of purists). It’s easy to hear the Fay Victor Ensemble are a trio of equals – no one steals (or hogs) the spotlight and the creative interplay speaks of years of interaction of paying attention to each other and enjoying the challenges that these compositions pose. As an active listener take your time and enjoy this aural roller-coaster.
–Richard Kamins StepTempest
Victor’s voice operates on many levels: it can be sweet and seductive harsh and abrasive one minute operating in the lower quiet end of the spectrum before abruptly swooping into the stratosphere. When improvising she frequently jumps octaves in a manner not dissimilar to Eric Dolphy’s improvisations. She alternates between singing and reciting lyrics and there’s great theatricality in her presentation. Her lyrics are alternately wry witty profound and bittersweet sometimes all in one song. Frequently they are vignettes about her life…Get drawn into the spell of this music and you could easily take in the album’s 72 minutes in one fell swoop.
—Robert Iannapollo The New York Jazz Record
“Betty Carter is less an influence than one of her few peers in jazz history: someone who makes art more difficult and demanding than we’re often comfortable with a singer who commands a band as disciplined and prickly as the star. Victor’s Ensemble includes Anders Nilsson one of the most distinctive jazz guitarists working today and Ken Filiano one of those bassists who makes everyone sound better — his presence is as reliable a stamp of quality as casting Harry Dean Stanton in a movie”
–Tom Hull Jazz Prospecting
“The latest record Absinthe & Vermouth serves as a new landmark in avant vocal work unveiling a stunning array of musical interactions emotions and images…One of the best records of 2013 its late release (November) may have caused some to overlook it when compiling their best of lists. Fay Victor and her band continue to challenge us as listeners to break through boundaries.”
–Cisco Bradley, Jazz Right Now
How to describe Victor’s singing. Betty Carter with occasional Yoko Ono outbursts? The Eric Dolphy of singers? She’s got blues, soul and jazz at the root of her sound and a richness to her sound that definitely recalls Carter (as does some of her phrasing; another Carter-recalling aspect: the sheer joyfulness overflowing from some of these songs) but she favors very angular lines (the Dolphy aspect) even in the composed melodies and can go outside with the best mixing in abstract sounds. On some tracks here she becomes another instrument in her band. And what a band. Electric guitarist Anders Nilsson draws a wide range of sounds and styles from his instrument and double bassist Ken Filiano is agile and phrases like a melody instrument. No drums none needed. On the longer tracks On the longer tracks, most notably “The Sign at the Door,” they all go on anything-can-happen excursions into the outer reaches. Back to Victor: the witty lyrics, such as on “Big Bag” and “Gunk,” make me smile, while for emotionally affecting ballads, the high point is “Seashore.” This was nearly my #1 album; it’s been climbing in my esteem the more I listen to it.
(The Best of 2013 – #2)
Purchase Absinthe & Vermouth