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

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!

https://fayvictorssoundnoisefunk.bandcamp.com/album/wet-robots

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.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-herbie-nichols-celebration&rcid=r01-154091913395-aac83f914e5f4aea&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w

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,

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