“Now we have on record Fay’s SoundNoiseFUNK quartet, featuring Joe Morris, Sam Newsome, and Reggie Nicholson – each an exceptional maker of music in the moment. Although Fay enjoyed a rapport with each of these players in various combinations, this foursome had never played together as a unit before the single summer day last year when Wet Robots was captured in a Brooklyn studio. If jazz is the sound of surprise, this album startles – a sonic funhouse of left turns. The band floats in its own space, untethered by a bass. Morris’s guitar moves like a snake. Newhouse keens, taps, sighs on the straight horn. Nicholson makes his percussion set-up a skittering, rattling thing. Then there is Fay – her voice primal and wild, as attuned to unfettered expression as Albert Ayler’s tenor.”
Fay Victor, vocals, lyrics, conceptualist
Sam Newsome, soprano saxophone
Joe Morris, electric guitar
Reggie Nicholson, drums
- Funky Dunk
- A Witness in the Wilderness
- Information Highway
- Police Lights and Sirens
- Squeeze Bottle
- The Blues Are Always Free
- Creative Folks!
- Textured Pines
- Whistling on a Skateboard
- I Sing
- The Ha-Ha’s
- Holding Back the Scream
Press LOVE for Wet Robots!
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
“Vocal colossus Fay Victor has been performing otherworldly acrobatics with her pipes since the ’90s, as heard on fearless projects like her Ensemble’s Absinthe & Vermouth and The FreeSong Suite, and in groups that have paid homage to Ornette Coleman and Herbie Nichols. Now she’s scaled yet another peak: Wet Robots is her debut record as a leader for ESP-Disk’, and it’s a doozy.The supergroup that the improviser/lyricist calls SoundNoiseFunk—soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, guitarist Joe Morris, and drummer Reggie Nicholson—is entirely deserving of its name…their red-hot chemistry is evident from the get-go. On Wet Robots, Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFunk sound extraordinarily alive indeed.”
-Brad Cohan, JazzTimes Magazine, October 2018
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