Born: August 8, 1960 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Victor was born on August 8, 1960 in Dallas, TX at Parkland Memorial Hospital. His father and mother operated a barber & beauty shop in West Dallas for 49 years.
Although his father was a successful businessman, his first love was Big Band Jazz such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and especially The Count Basie Orchestra with either Jimmy Rushing or Papa Joe Williams, whom I had the privilege to meet after his last show in Dallas in 1999. This was my first introduction to Jazz and Oh My God! the music I heard as a child, it was not unusual for my family to sit and listen to anything from Roy Hamilton to The New York Philharmonic w/ Leonard Bernstein to Sam Cooke to Sis. Mahalia Jackson to Ray Charles to Jimmy Smith and of course, Mr. B Billy Eckstine !! We would even listen to spoken word documentary type LPs like the one about the funeral of President Kennedy. My uncle was a big advocate of reading all the right books and listening to all the right music. Coincidently, I forgot to mention I was adopted at 6 months of age, so when I refer to my father and mother, I'm actually speaking of my uncle and aunt, both of whom were 53 yrs. of age when they adopted both myself and my brother. I guess that's why this music has always been my first love, I would watch my family socialize, dance and enjoy themselves while listening to some of the greatest Jazz recordings of all time!! You know one thing that people would never guess about me is that I'm a really great dancer myself! Although I was adopted I still had a real significant relationship with my biological father, who happened to be my uncle's youngest brother. It was this relationship that introduced to the music of Charlie Parker, because at the time I played the saxophone. I can remember knowing my Daddy was visiting when I would come home from school and hear Eddie LockJaw Davis playing 'Dobbin with Redd Foxx', he's the one who told me the stories about the cats such as the tragic deaths of Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown, and of course all the good Miles Davis legends. Gene Ammons was his favorite and I can remember thinking his horn must have been bigger than the other cats because of his big robust sound. I also inherited something else from him in addition to his love of Be-Bop, the disease of addiction which plagued me for many years, but you know I have learned that what is planted on the inside of you continues to grow often in times of adversity. An intense love for God, music and the arts was planted in me when I was small and this love was a key factor in my recovery. In 1986 my mother died after a lengthy illness and in the next 7 to 8 years I lost practically my entire family including my beloved Uncle Jim, as well as both biological parents, I hadn't seen my biological mother since I was 4 yrs. old. As a result of these events I began to suffer from depression, although I went undiagnosed for a number of years.
I guess you could say to some degree I was self medicating. But you know trouble and the grace to bear it often come in the same package; if we never confront ourselves we begin to excuse our behavior. After I began to experience recovery and practice aggressive faith, I started to realize all God had in store for me and my real mountaintop experiences began!
The first musicians to give me an opportunity were the one I idolized as a child along with my Uncle Red King and Prof. Eddie Washington, Claude Johnson and Roger Boykin were my first mentors but it was the great song stylist Ms. Sandra Kaye who first shared her stage with me and I'm forever thankful to her for being so gracious! It was she who assured me that I did indeed have what it takes to pursue a life in music, she encouraged and assured me that I was still young enough, she has been a true angel and friend to me. God will always provide an angel in times of uncertainty.
I'm convinced you will always miss 100% of the shots you don't take!! I'm a member of the most blessed generation to ever inhabit this planet and God has given me the privilege to record my first full length CD with one of the best Jazz orchestras in the country, where God Guides He Always Provides!
Victor’s love of Jazz was nurtured by his father whose favorites included Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and especially The Count Basie Orchestra. He enthusiastically explained..... Oh My God!, the music I heard as a child! It was not unusual for my family to sit and listen to anything from Roy Hamilton to The New York Philharmonic w/ Leonard Bernstein to Sam Cooke to Sis. Mahalia Jackson to Ray Charles to Jimmy Smith and of course, Mr. B Billy Eckstine !!.
What people are saying about Victor Cager:
“Victor has a warm deep voice that warms your soul like a fine glass of scotch.”
World Renown Jazz Bassist Lynn Seaton Professor of Jazz Studies Univ. of North Texas
“Victor Cager has a way of entering the heart of women and soothing the challenges of their soul. Through his songs, he speaks to the intricate details of love. With his deep baritone vocals the music becomes alive and at peace. While listening, one can’t help but imagine that their chariot has finally arrived”!!
T.L.Jones,M.S., Dallas Fan
“Victor possesses one of the richest baritone voices you could ever put your ear to. Now Victor is not a small man, and the part of him that is not voice, is all heart. Kind, gentle and with a great voice”.
Rusty Rush “Voices of Jazz” KAMU-FM College Station , TX
“Victor Cager is one of the most soulful, sincere singers I’ve heard in a long time. In addition, he has everything a great singer needs: a great ear, a beautiful voice, melodic phrasing and an understanding of what he’s singing about! Victor is the total “package”, and I look forward to everytime I know I’ll be playing in a band behind him”.
World Renowned Jazz Trombonist Tony Baker Professor of Jazz Studies Univ. of North Texas
“A deep, rich, sonorous voice, full of vitality and emotion that evokes the finest sense of taste heard only in the best vocalists”.
Saxophonist Javier Gutierrez Mosaic Jazz Ensemble
“Hey Victor, I’m listening to you right now. You sound great! Keep it going”!!
Bassist Victor Wooten Bela Fleck and The Flecktones
“...a fine natural singer with a deep,lush voice Victor Cager’s voice is rich with an innate vibrato, yet he can sing in a whisper. He shifts delivery and cadence seamlessly,singing emotionally without pathos. Listen to his definite and unforced time sense on Fly Me to the Moon, his relaxed rhythm on Our Love Is Here to Stay. Cager shifts on I Thought About You from haunting memory to rueful comment (the crack-track-back segment of Johnny Mercer's lyrics). Cager lets the lyrical sense of each song's narrative lead him to an almost conversational delivery that tells the story in the song. It's great, honest singing, unpretentious and human,on every song he sings”!
John Gunter Jazz Critic
“Victor Cager is one of the greatest talents I’ve ever seen and performed with in the music business. As a professional band leader in Dallas , TX I’ve hired Victor on many occasions to perform with us and he always brings his passion, experience and strong stage presence and love for music to every performance. He’s one of the few musicians that I’ve met that makes everyone around him perform better and his energy is always felt by his audiences. Victor Cager is truly an original and a master of The Great American Songbook. I love Joe Williams but Victor Cager is the best Ballad and Blues singer I’ve ever heard!!
Ryan McCullogh Leader of Corner Pocket Jazz Band; Dallas , TX.
Sammons Jazz audiences love Victor Cager! Victor has performed for various Sammons Jazz productions including our regular subscription concert series, our adult introduction to jazz classes and our children's jazz learning concerts. My patrons are always asking me to book Victor again and I do my best to honor their wishes. Victor's wonderful voice and his mastery of the blues and ballads has won him many fans among Sammons audiences.
James Gilyard Artistic Director Sammons Center for the Arts Sammons Jazz Series
Victor Cager is the leading Male Jazz Vocalist in the Dallas area. He loves the good, old songs and sings them with conviction. I always enjoy working with him. I can hardly wait for the next opportunity to do so. Roger Boykin Jazz Pianist and Composer
Wow, what a story! What a great spirit you are, congratulations! Keep moving forward as you are, with love and encouragement. You possess great strength and have so much to say through music. I look forward to watching you progress and am excited for the world to know you.
Mezzo - Soprano Denyce Graves
When musicians use the expression “paying dues”, I think of no person who has paid more dues in the struggle to save his own life than Victor Cager. Facing insurmountable personal tragedies and tribulations, Victor’s spiritual strength enabled him to rely on God’s gift of faith resulting in his ability to emerge as the ultimate professional jazz singer. At the very first hearing of a new big band arrangement, Victor intuitively knows precisely how to make it his own. His velvet baritone voice and profound lyrical awareness enhance his ability to maximize his use of the various colors in every instrumental setting. Ballad or swing, every section of the band, brass and woodwind embrace Victor’s voice. When Victor steps onto the stage and before he sings a single note, the room fills with love just at the sight of his sincere smile and passion for sharing his musical gifts.
Curtis Bradshaw Artistic Director-Dallas Jazz Orchestra
The goal of any successful recording artist is to find their voice and niche in the music biz. For Victor Cager, the niche found him. Vic’s road to becoming a Jazz vocalist, a niche thats gotten crowded lately, precedes with his first instrument, the saxophone. As an all-city band winner in high school, it becomes apparent how he’s able to turn phrases and lyrics into flowing combinations, that swell and winds its way into the psyche of Jazz patrons such as the sound inside the sax maneuvers before baring the genius of its originator. The baritone elegance of Vic harkens back to familiar heroes of this art legendized by Joe Williams and Billy Eckstine.
Make no mistake, Vic is neither. Indeed he’s that fresh air in Jazz that comes to us every decade or so, reminding Jazz fans why we love this lady Jazz… like we do!
Don Mooney, freelance journalist and critic
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