Fay Victor Makes Some Of PopMatters.com’s Best Jazz Of 2009

December 16, 2009

Will Layman and Andrew Zender joined forces for this year’s edition of PopMatters.com’s The Best Jazz of 2009 feature, choosing 14 recordings divided into three categories: New Piano Trios, New Groups/New Sounds and Tradition Reinterpreted.

The third category is where you’ll find our own Fay Victor, whose release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music), made the cut on a best-of list that also includes critical favorites from Ben Allison, John Hollenbeck, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman and Henry Threadgill among others.

“She is arguably a contemporary version of Betty Carter or Abbey Lincoln,” they write, “yet she is new, too. Although she’ll have some listeners scratching their heads as she lets her story-songs meander, others will find completely irresistible her style of coiling up a melody and letting it spiral out into unpredictable directions.”

In his review earlier this year, Zender also noted Ms. Victor’s “challenging and rewarding world of captivating vocal work and stirring spontaneity,” calling her “a musician and composer who is rewriting the rules of vocal jazz.”

AAJ: Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

November 23, 2009

AllAboutJazz.com’s Managing Editor John Kelman posted his review of vocalist/composer Fay Victor‘s latest release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music), over the weekend.

“Once again,” he writes, “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.”

He adds, “With an ensemble that twists and turns the music in response to, and as a catalyst for, Victor’s own unbound improvisational acumen, 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.”

hour: Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

November 20, 2009

Mike Chamberlain reviews the Fay Victor Ensemble‘s new release, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music), in this week’s issue of Montreal’s arts weekly, hour.

“What you hear on this album is raw and quirky and powerful and full of feeling and surprise and particularities that reflect universal human truths,” he writes. “One of the unique listening experiences of this or any other year.”

Ms. Victor will be performing with multiple ensembles at this weekend’s Vision Festival fundraiser, 28 Hours of Innovative Art, and on Monday at The 55 Bar with her group, Fay Victor’s Jazz Vault.

Firehouse 12 To Present The Amy Cervini Quartet December 11th

November 11, 2009
Amy Cervini

Photo by Melanie Einzig

On Friday, December 11th, New Haven’s Firehouse 12 will present the penultimate event of its fifth annual Fall Jazz Series, a two-set celebration of New York-based vocalist/composer Amy Cervini‘s latest release, Lovefool (Orange Grove Jazz/ANZIC Records). The record, her second with the Amy Cervini Quartet (ACQ), features distinctive arrangements of an eclectic mix of love-themed songs from The Cardigans, Blossom Dearie, Depeche Mode, Green Day, Fred Hersch, Jack Johnson and Willie Nelson among others. This performance, featuring pianist Michael Cabe, bassist Mark Lau and drummer Ernest Cervini, will be the third and final stop on the group’s East Coast tour.

Critics have credited Ms. Cervini with a “freshly appealing voice” (Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star) and “enough heart to convince a listener of her sincerity and enough musical talent to make it worth listening” (Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). The Ottawa Citizen‘s Doug Fischer adds, “what she does is sing terrific, gimmick-free jazz…with poise, intelligence and an unforced honesty that made every song ring like it was her own. Despite the sweeping changes—perhaps because of them—Cervini approaches the songs in a precisely crafted way that leaves little to chance. But that doesn’t mean her music doesn’t contain surprises, like an unforeseen upturn in a phrase, a deliciously drawn out ending or a humorous vamp.”

A native of Canada, and graduate of Boston’s New England Conservatory, Ms. Cervini has lived and worked in New York for most of the past decade, regularly performing at such venues as 55 Bar, Birdland, Cornelia Street Café, The Jazz Standard and Joe’s Pub. In addition to her quartet, she is a member of ensembles including Couples Therapy, Jazz Country, Monday Off and Joseph C. Phillips, Jr.’s Numinous. She has also worked as a back-up singer with the group Pharaoh’s Daughter and recently paid tribute to Blossom Dearie with an all-star band at The Blue Note. By day, Ms. Cervini is the proprietor of Orange Grove Artists, which represents Marty Ehrlich, Frank Kimbrough, Myra Melford and Matt Wilson among others. Learn more at http://www.amycervini.com

2009 Fall Jazz Series Schedule:

09/18 :: Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty
09/25 :: Matt Wilson Quartet
10/02 :: Mauger: Rudresh Mahanthappa/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway
10/09 :: Steve Lehman Trio
10/16 :: Gretchen Parlato Band
10/23 :: Whirrr! The Music of Jimmy Giuffre
10/30 :: Taylor Eigsti Trio
11/06 :: ODE: Larry Ochs/Trevor Dunn/Lisle Ellis/Michael Sarin
11/13 :: The Peter Evans Quartet
11/20 :: Darius Jones Trio
12/04 :: Mary Halvorson Quintet
12/11 :: Amy Cervini Quartet
12/18 :: Daniel Levin Trio

Tickets and more information available at:

Taylor Ho Bynum Tour Moves to Boston Sunday Night

November 15, 2008

Sunday, November 16th at 3:00 p.m.
Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings
Hammond Performing Arts Series
The Boston Center for the Arts (BCA)
539 Tremont Street in Boston, MA (South End)
MBTA: Green Line (Copley); Orange Line (Back Bay); Bus #43

Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet; Kyoko Kitamura, voice and electronics; Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Jessica Pavone, viola; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Pete Fitzpatrick, guitar; Joseph Daley, tuba; Luther Gray, drums

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum will follow-up his two-night stand at New York’s Jazz Gallery with a free Sunday afternoon concert at the Boston Center for the Arts featuring his improvising chamber ensemble, SpiderMonkey Strings.

The group will be presenting the Boston premiere of Bynum’s innovative secular oratorio, Madeleine Dreams, which it will record at the end of the tour for its forthcoming 2009 release on Firehouse 12 Records.

Inspired by the novel Madeleine is Sleeping (Harcourt), a 2004 National Book Award finalist written by Bynum’s sister, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, the piece draws text from the book while further exploring its theme of the logic of dreams, a recurring thread in Bynum’s work as a composer.