In command, infectious, energetic and strong: Fay Victor hypnotizes audiences, whether she sings a blues, sculpts a free improvisation 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 with the focus of a story-teller, running the full gamut of human emotion in an original mix of traditional song forms and free improvisation.
At the beginning of the nineties, Ms. Victor began building a name as a jazz vocalist around NY performing primarily jazz standards and blues. After navigating the city clubs for a few years and having formed her first working trio, Victor needed a fresh start and more work and followed the call the Europe. Victor made Amsterdam, the Netherlands her home, living in that city for nearly 8 years. The experience was a fruitful one. Victor used this time to study and hone her distinctive sound, her ear and widen her musical horizons that made the transition from a singer of standards to the unique vocal artist she has become today, a vocalist coming from the jazz tradition as a basis for improvising in the sense of Ornette Coleman/late Coltrane and beyond contrasted by an earthy soulfulness expressed through originals that offer taut construction and witty lyrics. Ms Victor voice and approach is about embracing the gamut of musical expression in an effortless way and talking about the small details that mean so much to so many.
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“A jazz singer who makes her notes slow, wide and meaningful�she often sounds like an evening-out of Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln�Fay Victor uses a great and simple concept on The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)…a studio recording organized like a live set. This means the band flows from one song into another, without knowing where it’s going next…these songs have distinct melodic character: fascinating ballads with Anders Nilsson’s country-bluesy guitar soloing, drum chants, some careful free improvising.”
-Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
“Victor’s soulful, emotive delivery combines with avant-tinged invention, placing her alongside great vocal innovators like Betty Carter, Jeanne Lee, Sheila Jordan…a truly creative singer with the chops to accomplish whatever she wants, but the good taste to ensure that substance always trumps style…The Freesong Suite is a vocal album that stands well above the pack; a welcome respite from the unwieldy preponderance of unimaginative vocal jazz albums hitting the market.”
-John Kelman, allaboutjazz.com
“The Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue, 2009) is a tour de force of writing, improvisation and performance
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