Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Other Dimensions in Music featuring Fay Victor: Kaiso Stories

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Roots tributes seldom get as fascinating or as cultishly seductive as Kaiso Stories, on which Brooklyn-based singer Fay Victor teams with the free-jazz collective Other Dimensions in Music to revisit, reinvent and audaciously retool songs from her Trinidadian youth. Spending summers with her grandmother in Port of Spain, she grew up with calypso and its precursor, kaiso, among other African and Caribbean sounds. And as evidenced by this passionate recording, she never grew out of those influences.

Opening with a bloodcurdling shriek followed by some sultry Betty Carter-esque scat, Victor assures you from the start that neither “Maryanne Revisited” (as in “down by the seaside”) nor the rest of these songs will indulge in turntable nostalgia. Drawing from such sources as the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener and field recordings from the 1930s, she reawakens cultural history, addressing political and religious topics as well as boy-girl and life-and-death themes with manic chants, raspy shouts and patois-inflected spoken recitations.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published