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.

Fay

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
7-9PM
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,
Fay

 

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 lessons@fayvictor.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.

Wet Robots!!

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.

Cover for the new Espdisk Release WET ROBOTS, design by Diane Kirschief

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

Check out & Purchase Wet Robots
www.espdisk.com
bandcamp

Thanks for reading and see you out there!

Fay

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 – lessons@fayvictor.com
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

Vocalists will learn, discover and explore their voices, leaving the course with tangible tools for improvising inside, outside, alongside songs and beyond with an improvising vocalist with 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.”

The FV Birthday Hang Crew 2018 – Reggie Nicholson, Jochem van Dijk, Marty Ehrlich, Sean Conly, Darius Jones, Marika Hughes & Maria Grand (not pictured) at the 55BAR on July 26 2018

Dear Friends,

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
Ken Filiano-bass
Angelica Sanchez-piano
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

Dear Friends,

In December 2017, I opened up the Evolving Series Festival (by Arts for Art) with a new project called Mutations for Justice (Mantras for Change). I wanted to write small pieces (composed and text-based) about the political reality we’re all in right now. As an information drenched society – I wanted the texts to be repetitive, like a meme. easily subliminal perhaps leading to change.  This is ambitious of course but the fear of other words taking over makes me dream even bigger and feel even stronger that these words must be said. Simply.

That concert in December with bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Michael Vatcher was a great start – so many things went well. Our next outing is on the Vision Festival 23 adding to the trio trumpeter Jaimie Breezy Branch with a bunch of new music I’ve written for the occasion as well.

Mutation:  the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.

What is the Mutations for Justice Project?

Mutations for Justice are a series of small composition mantras or ‘memes’ out of the need to articulate political ideas in a minimalist repetitive framework further developed through improvisation. Chanting and utilizing protest music as a mutable entity to change how we see. Words and music written by Fay Victor, these pieces will mingle with a fantastic group of improvisors adding their personal spin on the Mutations. This performance is the beginning of a developing project for Victor, who plans to write Mutations for Justice pieces throughout the Trump Administration as a document to memory of living in this time. The culmination of Mutations For Justice will be a recording project of 40 pieces in 2020.

Mutations for Justice – Vision Festival 23
Fay Victor – voice, compositions
Jaimie ‘Breezy’ Branch – trumpet
Luke Stewart – double bass
Michael Vatcher – drums
7:00PM
SAT May 26 2018
http://roulette.org/

Tix: www.artsforart.org
Full 🎥 here: https://youtu.be/z-PP0UrYIes

Cover for the new Espdisk Release WET ROBOTS, design by Diane Kirschief

The idea of developing an avant-garde ‘dance’ group has been on my mind for sometime. I love dance music, was a club head myself (even a member of the legendary Paradise Garage).  As an improvisor I’ve wanted to develop a project that you can move to while still enabling deep improvising spaces to play in. In thinking about this for a few years – the idea of what that group looked very different.  Then there was the beginning of the SoundNoise Trio that inadvertently lead to an avant project….from the kernel comes out a new corn.

I started SoundNoise with drummer/percussionist Reggie Nicholson and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome in 2015 as an open exploration that hit hard our first time out. As SoundNoise performed, I thought about how to pursue improvisation at the core of the group while keeping a pulse in the music that was organic and alive.  Arriving at SoundNoiseFUNK (the addition of guitarist Joe Morris), a funk-driven free improvisational unit with a penchant for exploring this and more sonic terrain while keeps the groove going. SoundNoiseFUNK has performed on the Vision Festival, Capital Bop (Wash. DC), New Revolution Arts, the Arts for Art InGarden Series and most recently at the WinterJazzFest 2018 where Downbeat magazine had this to say about the group’s performance:

…while Morris astounded with his staccato runs, sounding at times like a cross between Johnny Smith and James “Blood” Ulmer, and Newsome showcased his expansive vocabulary, alternately making his straight horn sound like a digeridoo, a duck call, a fuzz guitar, it was Victor’s finesse, ferocity and freestyle abandon that led the way. Watch for the upcoming debut recording on the ESP-Disk label by this extraordinary musical collective.”-Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine

I am very excited about the group and project…look forward to sharing the music with you all. And keep your eyes on the FV gig pages as the SoundNoise TRIO will hit the road in Fall 2018!

Personnel:
Fay Victor – voice, text, conceptualist
Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone
Joe Morris – electric guitar
Reggie Nicholson – drums
Recorded August 4, 2017 at Park West Studios
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 29 2018

“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’ guitar moves like a snake. Newhouse keens, taps, sighs on the straight horn. Nicholson makes his percussion set-ip a skittering, rattling thing. Then there is Fay her voice…as attuned to unfettered expression as Albert Ayler’s tenor.”

-Bradley Bambarger
From the liner notes of Wet Robots
Read complete review here: http://downbeat.com/news/detail/winterfest2
Learn more at www.espdisk.com

SoundNoiseFUNK w Reggie Nicholson, FV, Joe Morris & Sam Newsome after Wet Robots CD release show on April 28 2018

FV’s SoundNoiseFUNK on WJF 2018 w (l-r) Joe Morris, FV, Reggie Nicholson, Sam Newsome. Photo by Jochem van dijk

Dear Friends,

Hoping this greeting finds you well!

I’d like to share some news: SoundNoiseFUNK, the group I presented at the WinterJazzFest AND who has a smokin’ record about to drop on ESP-Disk, got a great review in Downbeat from the Bill Milkowski that I want to share with you all!

“With Morris’ Derek Bailey-like splatters of pointillistic single notes, Newsome’s remarkable overtones, percussive effects and displays of circular breathing setting the tone, along with Nicholson’s sensitive and at times kinetic commentary on the proceedings, Victor was freed up to soar with impunity as she morphed from character to character like a jazz vocal version of Robin Williams during their scintillating set. Throughout the course of this continuous stream of music, colored by dramatic shifts in events, Victor demonstrated touches of Aretha Franklin, Yoko Ono, Connie Boswell, Betty Carter and Diamond Galas while also channeling opera singers, voodoo priestesses and an Islamic sheik singing the call to prayer along the way.” 

Read full review here: http://downbeat.com/news/detail/winterfest2

Check out a video here of the piece The Threat, featured in the review:

&

AND

The next CREATIVE IMPROV Class will begin March 13, 2018!! Very excited to teach this course once again! Get in touch for detailed info on the course and to sign up! This 5-week, 12 hour course will set anyone the course of opening up many possibilities as an improvisor.

Thanks for reading friends! About to leave town for awhile to attend an artist residency Upstate New York. Back at the end of the month and sending everyone out there good and beautiful vibrations.

Thanks for reading,
Fay