“A vocalist suited to stand up against any horn” -Kurt Gottschalk, AllAboutJazz-NY October 2010.
In command, infectious, energetic and strong: Fay Victor hypnotizes audiences, whether she sings a blues, sculpts a free piece, reinvents a Herbie Nichols tune through her own lyrics, or effortlessly scats over the harmonies of a jazz standard. Her musicality is deft and the words (usually hers) speak of universal themes in story-driven ways, running the full gamut of human emotion in an original mix of traditional song forms and free improvisation – she prefers to call it “FreeSong” – that has become her trademark approach to improvised vocal music.
Breathing Technique & Support, Placement, Articulation, Tone quality, Rhythm, Harmony, Theory, Ear-training, Song Interpretation, Microphone Technique, Jazz Vocals, Phrasing, Improvisation, Band Development, Leadership, Repertoire.
I believe that being an effective vocal teacher is an egoless art and craft.
My teaching approach is about tuning into a student’s individual needs by listening to their voices and staying open to their ideas. This is essential to alleviating fears and building confidence – the main stumbling blocks in a developing vocalist. At the same time I have seen students flourish in a focused way when they feel comfortable to explore their musical ideas and using their developing technique in a caring, guiding environment that is supportive and firm. The foundation of great vocal health is breath support and control, a starting place for all students. Moreover, with over 14 years of international teaching experience coupled with an active performance career, I have an arsenal of techniques, exercises and perspectives at my disposal that can assist students to find their way for their own voices. Jazz today is about the history of the music as well as taking the music forward. Jazz vocalists today are exploring wider pools of repertoire and approaches to express their modern feelings. My own work as an artist highlights this capacity for strongly putting forth my own voice and sound. I strive to do the same for my students, helping them to gain a good foundation for them to springboard into their own confident ideas.
Students feel relaxed, getting in touch with their own unique sound, beginning then to unlock their individual voices and gain confidence in sounding and making music that represents themselves.I teach all non-classical styles focused on vocal development as a whole in which a student can use their voice for any genre of music.
Fay Victor has been hailed by the New York Times as “artistically complete” for her unique vocal approach to the blues, jazz, free improvisation and her original compositions. Starting from the jazz tradition, Victor has gone on to encompass a multi-genre approach to music, lyrics and song called “Freesong.” Victor has released Eight (8) critically acclaimed recordings as a leader whose work has been praised in venerable outlets such as Downbeat, JazzTimes, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Wire, Signal to Noise, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out Chicago, The Chicago Reader, The New York City Jazz Record and JazzWise (UK). Victor has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Japan, India, Russia, and Mexico working with a veritable who’s-who of musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Amiri Baraka, Misha Mengelberg, William Parker, Roswell Rudd, Andrew Cyrille, Laurence “Butch’ Morris, Gary Lucas, John Medeski, Nicole Mitchell, Marvin Sewell, Han Bennink, Darius Jones and Tyshawn Sorey amongst others. Victor gives private instruction focused on technique for improvising vocalists, runs a weekly jazz vocal workshop at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and a weekly Advanced Vocal Class for the New York Jazz Workshop, running their annual 5- day Jazz Vocal Summit as well. Victor has also taught at institutions such as the Amsterdam Conservatory (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), CalArts (Los Angeles, CA), UC-Berkeley (Berkeley, Ca), UC-IRVINE (Irvine, CA), the Jazz School (Berkeley, CA) and Rostov Jazz School (Rostov-on-Don, Russia).
The Fay Victor Ensemble
The Fay Victor Ensemble(FVE) started as voice-guitar-bass-drum unit in 2005 performing original material written for the group by bandleader/vocalist Fay Victor and bass guitarist/composer Jochem van Dijk. A sly combination of jazz, rock, free improvisation and modern classical music, the Ensemble’s frst recording entitled Cartwheels through the Cosmos was an ambitious and adventurous project that overstepped and redefined the boundaries of what jazz singing was when released in
2007. Cadence wrote that the FVE was “Taking jazz singing forward with a unique form of expression,” John Kelman at AllAboutJazz observed that “Cartwheels through the Cosmos is that rarity amongst contemporary vocal jazz releases: an album that doesn’t rely on a tired repertoire and looks, instead, for innovation in every corner,” and JazzTimes’ Christopher Loudon called Cartwheels simply ‘brilliant.”
2009 saw the sophomore release of the FVE, The FreeSong Suite, a suite in 3 rooms, representing the deep past, near past and future and showed off the evolution of the compositions and use of form and improvisation. The album went on to receive incredible critical acclaim including Best-of-Year
Kudos from The Jazz Session, NPR, All About Jazz-NY and a 4th place slot in the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critic’s Poll for Best Jazz Vocal Record of 2009, the only all original vocal project to do so and caused NPR to say about the FreeSong Suite that “the whole thing is as if Joni Mitchell wrote lyrics for a lost Betty Carter prog-rock album — and it totally works.” The FVE (now a trio sans drums) released their third album of all original music, Absinthe & Vermouth on November 5, 2013 to critical acclaim including comparisons to Satie, Toulouse-Latrec, Oscar Wilde, Eric Dolphy and a 4 STAR Downbeat review. The FVE has just joined the ranks of the commissioned premiering a piece on the Tri-centric Music Festival put on by the legendary composer/musician Anthony Braxton’s Tri-centric Foundation on gentrifcation entitled Neighborhood Dynamics. A major development for the trio with the addition of esteemed guests Nicole Mitchell on fute and Vincent Chancey on french horn. Currently the band is working on their frst European tour for 2015 in commemoration of their 10 year anniversary as a group, continuing the integration of stories, cinematic musical excursions, knotty and fexible compositions, intricate improvisations and absurd theater.
The FVE has performed at such venues as Roulette/Location One, Firehouse 12, BAM Cafe Live, The Vision Festival XV, Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival, The Stone, Cornelia Street Cafe, The Bop Shop(Rochester, NY), Sanctuary For Independent Media, Sweet Rhythm, Shapeshifter Lab, An Die Musik (Baltimore), The Rotunda (Philadelphia), The Evolving Music Series, The 21st Century Schizoid Series and the 55BAR – the band’s home and honing ground since 2005. The music of the FVE and the compositional and lyrical writing of Fay Victor and Jochem van Dijk has been praised in The Village Voice, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, JazzTimes, Popmatters.com, JazzWise UK, Time Out New York,Time Out Chicago, The New York Jazz Record, Cadence Magazine, The Wire, Signal to Noise, and The Jazz Session.