The idea of developing an avant-garde ‘dance’ group has been on vocalist/composer Fay Victor’s mind for sometime. Victor started SoundNoise with drummer/percussionist Reggie Nicholson and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome in 2015 as an open exploration that hit hard their first time out. As SoundNoise developed, Victor thought about how best to pursue keeping improvisation at the core of the group while keeping a pulse in the music that was organic and alive. With the addition of guitarist Joe Morris, what you have is SoundNoiseFUNK, a free improvisational unit of master musicians with a penchant for exploring this and more sonic terrain within the sound world they create while keeping the groove going. In the summer of 2018, the group released Wet Robots to great critical acclaim (see reviews below). In addition, SoundNoise & SoundNoiseFUNK has performed on the Vision Festival, The Earshot Jazz Festival, Capital Bop (Wash. DC), New Revolution Arts, The Harlem Jazz Series, the Arts for Art InGarden Series and at the WinterJazzFest 2018 where Downbeat magazine had this to say about the group’s performance:
“…while Morris astounded with his staccato runs, sounding at times like a cross between Johnny Smith and James “Blood” Ulmer, and Newsome showcased his expansive vocabulary, alternately making his straight horn sound like a digeridoo, a duck call, a fuzz guitar, it was Victor’s finesse, ferocity and freestyle abandon that led the way.”-Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine
Fay Victor – bandleader, voice, compositions, texts
Joe Morris – electric guitar
Sam Newsome – soprano saxophone
Reggie Nicholson – drums
SoundNoiseFUNK, a quartet led by vocalist/composer Fay Victor and includes Sam Newsome (soprano saxophone), Joe Morris (guitar) and Reggie Nicholson (drums) is an improvisational unit of master musicians and composers exploring vast sonic terrain within the sound worlds they create while the groove keeps going. “This record stands out from the usual free jazz gestures and credit belongs to Victor. It’s not just that this is her band, but her unique singing concept leads the way. She has a familiar toolbox of vocal sounds, but it’s the way she uses her notes that matter—she has exceptional intonation and it sounds like it comes effortlessly, so she improvises with pitches and melodically logical and coherent tonal phrases. On top of that, she manages the challenging high-wire act of improvising text while always keeping it interesting and fresh. It’s a measure of a first-rate intelligence— take that F. Scott Fitzgerald.” – The New York City Jazz Record
Highlighted appearances for SoundNoiseFUNK: Vision Festival, Dartmouth College, The Earshot Jazz Festival, WinterJazzFest 2018, Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares – to name a few.
“She’s essentially invented her own hybrid of song and spoken word, a scat style for today’s avant-garde.”-Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times
Fay Victor is a sound artist that uses performance, improvisation and composition to examine representations of modern life and blackness. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Victor’s ‘everything is everything’ aesthetic permeates her work in performance, composition and improvisation. Victor’s released eleven critically acclaimed albums as a leader and performed with luminaries such as Randy Weston, Archie Schepp, Gary Bartz, Nicole Mitchell, Marc Ribot, Misha Mengelberg and Tyshawn Sorey to name just a few. Victor is currently on the faculty of the New School of Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City, NY. Victor’s latest release, “WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!” with her improvising quartet SoundNoiseFUNK (ESP-Disk) was released in October 2020. Nate Chinen at WBGO Jazz had this to say about one of the compositions on the new album, “What’s Gone Wrong” is an impassioned lament that finds Victor repeating its title phrase, along with a secondary clause (“…with the world?”). There is despair in her rhetorical question, which doesn’t seem to expect an answer — but there’s also clear determination in the way Victor and her improvising partners work through their development. Without putting words in their mouth, I’d suggest that their cohesive oneness is one answer to another open question: what’s going right?”
Sam Newsome is a jazz saxophonist, composer, and educator. His music combines straight-ahead jazz, world music (drawing influences from North Africa and East Asia) and experimental jazz, which uses extended techniques. Newsome is an associate professor of music and the coordinator of the music program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. In 2005, Newsome began focusing on solo saxophone performance. In 2007, he released Monk Abstractions, on which he recorded the compositions of Thelonious Monk. Mark Corroto from All About Jazz wrote: “Newsome expands the sound of a single soprano saxophone into a one man band.”] All About Jazz – New York named it one of the top tribute CDs of the year. In 2010, Newsome released his second solo saxophone CD, the blues-based Blue Soliloquy. which received five stars in Downbeat magazine. In addition to his solo recordings and performances, Newsome has collaborated with saxophonist David Liebman, drummer Andrew Cyrille, pianists Ethan Iverson and Jean-Michel Pilc. Newsome also plays regularly as a member of Francisco Mora Catlett’s AfroHorn, The Bad Plus: Science Fiction, Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK and On the Quiet Side, and Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble.
Joe Morris is a jazz guitarist, bassist, composer, and educator. In 1981 Morris formed his own record company, Riti, for his own recordings. He has led a group called Sweatshop, the sextet Racket Club, and quartets featuring, separately, Mat Maneri, Jamie Saft, and Rob Brown. In 1994 he became the first guitarist to lead his own session for Black Saint/Soul Note, with Symbolic Gesture. He has continued to record extensively for many labels such as Knitting Factory, AUM Fidelity, and Hathut. In addition to leading his own groups, he has recorded and performed with, among others: Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe Maneri, and Ivo Perelman. He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the US and Europe and is on the faculty at New England Conservatory in the jazz and improvisation department.
Continuing in the tradition of drummer bandleaders such as Max Roach, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Andrew Cyrille, Milford Graves and Jack DeJohnette, Reggie Nicholson has firmly established his reputation in this great tradition. Reggie first gained a reputation as an outstanding drummer and percussionist in his hometown of Chicago. In 1979, he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a consortium of composers and performers devoted to the art of improvisation and the creation of original music. Relocated to New York City in 1987, Nicholson has performed with Ahmed Abdullah, Myra Melford, Billy Bang, Roy Campbell, Bryan Carrott, Marty Ehrlich, Yuko Fujiyama, Eli Fountain, Dewey Redman, Jon Hendricks, D.D. Jackson, Amira Baraka, Wilber Morris, Butch Morris, Sam Newsome, Fay Victor, Oliver Lake, Ned Rothenberg, just to name a few. Nicholson was nominated for a Cal-Arts Award in 1993.