Home » Jazz Musicians » Fay Victor

Fay Victor

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.

Victor returned home to New York City in 2003 and since then has been one of the most active vocalist on the scene, stretching her voice around the city, touting her groups into clubs, constantly developing new material and forging new collaborations that are taking her as far away as Moscow, Russia.

Victor has appeared at venues/festivals including BAMCafe Live, Het Bimhuis (Amsterdam), The Stone, Roulette/Location One, Zebulon, Poklad (Gdynia), Galapagos Art Space, Barbes, CBGB’s, The Vision Festival Series, Cornelia Street Café, Tonic, the 55 Bar, The HOWL Festival, River to River Festival and GRIM Winter Nights Festival (Marseille, FR). Victor has performed with such notables as Odetta, Gloria Lynne, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Misha Mengelberg, Roswell Rudd, Gary Lucas, Tyshawn Sorey, Connie Crothers, Matana Roberts, Vijay Iyer, Michael Attias, Michael Moore, Duck Baker and Steve Coleman.


Praise for The FreeSong Suite *The Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll 2009**4th in the Best Jazz Vocals Category** *AllAboutJazz-NewYork’s Best of 2009**Best Vocal Releases** *The Jazz Session's Jason Crane’s Top 10 of 2009 �" The FreeSong Suite was Jason’s TOP Pick for the Year *NPR Jazz: Ten Great Moments from Jazz Recordings in 2009 *PopMatters.com: The Best Jazz of 2009 *Laurence Donohue-Greene’s Top 10+ of 2009 *Elzy Kolb: A Few Of My Favorite Things in 2009 *CKUT Jazz Director’s Top 20 list *Délire Actuel 2009 Demanding Music Top 30


“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

Read more

Primary Instrument

Voice / vocals


New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Migration of Silence...

Centering Records / AUM Fidelity


Absinthe & Vermouth

Greene Avenue Music


Kaiso Stories

Silkheart Records


The Freesong Suite

Greene Avenue Music


People Are Strange

From: Lazy Old Sun
By Fay Victor



Sony Holland
voice / vocals
Abbey Lincoln
voice / vocals
Albert Ayler
saxophone, tenor
Steve Lacy
saxophone, soprano
Betty Carter
voice / vocals
Henry Grimes
bass, acoustic
Diane Hubka
voice / vocals
Alyssa Graham
voice / vocals
Chris McNulty
voice / vocals

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.