Clever and consistent jazz with an air of curiosity, exploration and mystery. I'd say my favorite thing about it is the gentle but provocative contrast between the airy, pastoral quality of the production as well as some of the instrumentation, and the denser, more bustling and social qualities of the lyrics and Victor's vocal delivery. A beguiling romance between city and country.
When Fay Victor found herself struggling to break into New York City’s jazz scene in the ‘90s, the singer and composer took a gamble on moving to Amsterdam to hone her voice and develop her improvisational instincts—a move that transformed Victor from a straight ahead jazz singer into a daring vocal improviser. Over 20 years later, Victor has revisited these Amsterdam compositions for Barn Songs, her tenth album as a bandleader. Recording alongside cellist Marika Hughes and alto saxophonist Darius Jones, the experimental project came to fruition in a tumble-down barn Hughes owns in the northern foothills of the bucolic Catskills Mountains. The trio turned the building into an organic recording compound for three days, complete with passings birds and squirrels adding naturalistic ambience to the mix. Remarkably, the songs Victor wrote while living another life in another country reveal themselves to be prescient commentary on the modern way we live today.
released November 15, 2019
Fay Victor - voice
Marika Hughes - cello
Darius Jones - alto saxophone
All Words & Music by Fay Victor & Jochem van Dijk
Recorded & mixed by Rashaan Carter (mobile unit)
Recorded at Looking Glass Arts, near West Fulton, NY
Recorded on September 6, 2018
Video/Photo - Jochem van Dijk
Mary Halvorson is a genius composer and guitarist who has developed her own musical language, and with Code Girl she has incorporated poetry into that language. Incredible compositions and lyricism (each track is a different kind of poem). Halvorson's playing is as great as usual, and all the other members of the band sound great. Robert Wyatt's singing in particular works extremely well in the tracks he's featured. Highly, highly recommend. rat