THE STORY SO FAR
Victor currently leads the Jake Victor 5tet as well as the Chicago-based Jake Victor Quartet playing his original compositions. He is also very active in Chicago's R+B/Soul/Hip-Hop/Gospel scene, playing keyboards and serving as Music Director for B Lilly and The Natural Element and other various artists, as well as directing the house band for "Sunday Sessions", a monthly showcase of rising Chicago talent at the Refuge Live. He actively involves himself in freelance song-writing projects, working with artists in Chicago, New York, LA, Amsterdam etc. He is also a dedicated teacher, teaching at multiple lesson studios as well as privately.
Victor made his debut as bandleader in 2018 with the Jake Victor 5tet's "Twisted Heads", winning Downbeat Magazine's Student Music Award for “Best Undergraduate College Small Jazz Combo” of that year for two selections from their 2018 album Twisted Heads, “Salem” and “Call to Prayer”. The album was recorded while Victor was studying abroad in Amsterdam at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and included musicians from Estonia, Belgium, Spain and Brooklyn. They followed "Twisted Heads" with a 2018 tour of New York and the surrounding area, as well as a 42-day tour through the Midwest in 2019, including a spot on CBS Green Bay news and masterclasses at schools throughout the Midwest. The band plans to continue with another Midwest tour in early 2020 and a European tour later the same year.
Since settling into Chicago in 2018, Victor has performed at esteemed venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier (sharing the stage with Common), and the Promontory, for audience members such as previous Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Chapter Grammy President Mark Hubbard, Grammy-winning artist Donald Lawrence, The Kingdom Choir, head of Chicago Public Schools Janice Jackson, Common and his mother, and others
Victor graduated from Lawrence University in 2018 with a degree in Percussion Performance and a minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, while also studying jazz piano. He studied primarily under professors Dane Richeson, Bill Carrothers, Jose Encarnacion, and Patty Darling. While at Lawrence, Jake exposed himself to as many different musical situations as possible, including the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra (percussion), Jazz Combos (piano and drum set), Pep Band (founding member, drum set), Mainstage Opera (piano/keyboards), Percussion Ensemble, Kinkaviwo, Tambo Toké, Sambistas, and the crowd favorite “Partybistas.” He took part in multiple New Music concerts at Lawrence, playing alongside professors Michael Mizrahi and Dane Richeson in Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” in 2017, as well as “Ballet Mechanique” in 2018. He also played keyboards/synthesizer in the pit for Lawrence’s 2017 mainstage opera, “Hydrogen Jukebox” by Philip Glass/Allen Ginsberg. In 2015 he, along with the Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble, was a featured performer at the PAS International Convention. He premiered Dominic Ellis’ composition for solo percussion and 2-channel fixed media, "Wreck’s Anatomy", and Joc Polczynski’s quartet composition “Sunburst” for woodwinds/percussion in 2016.
While at Lawrence he recorded albums including BackPocket’s Primary Colors (2015), Rat Park’s 3-track EP Rise Rat Savior (2015), Rat Park’s full-length album Lida (2017), as well as some drums on track 4 of Spencer Tweedy’s 2017 EP Geezer Love.
Victor spent the summer of 2017 as an intern at the New York Jazz Academy, teaching lessons and masterclasses, filling in rhythm sections spots, and helping with administrative planning.