The Squid's Ear Magazine


Leap Of Faith: The Symbolic Method (Evil Clown)

The 2nd live performance from the Evil Clown headquarters post-pandemic, in a trio edition of Leap of Faith comprised of David Peck on reeds & winds, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice and Steve Niemitz on drums, plus an extended encore with 3 strings, reeds, trumpet and drums adding Nate McBride, Eric Rosenthal, Vance Provey and Albey onBass.
 

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David Peck (PEK)-clarinet clarinets, contrabass clarinets, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, tarota, bass ocarina, bass tromboon, goat horn, melodica, gongs, Tibetan bowls bells, almgocken, whistle

Glynis Lomon-cello, aquasonic, voice

Vance Provey-trumpet, flugelhorn

Albey onBass-electric upright bass

Nate McBride-double bass, electric bass

Eric Rosenthal-drums


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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9312
Squidco Product Code: 33826

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Track one recorded at The Divine Theatre, Gateway City Arts, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on June 24th, 2022.

Track two recorded at Lilypad, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 26th, 2022.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Leap of Faith is the core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice. The ensemble is based in Boston and dates back to the early 90s. We utilize a huge arsenal of additional Evil Clown instruments to improvise long works featuring transformations across highly varied sonorities. At times, the core unit has been a trio or even a quartet. The longest running core unit was comprised of PEK, Glynis and drummer Yuri Zbitnov, who played for the last couple of years of the archival period and the first 5 years of the reboot starting in 2015. The ensemble has always been highly modular, and our many recordings (well over 100) feature the core unit in dozens of configurations with a huge list of guests and occasionally as only the core unit with no guests. Currently, the core unit is the duet of PEK and Lomon and we are regularly presenting LIVESTREAMs to YouTube from Evil Clown Headquarters with other guest performers.

When the pandemic hit, I focused on solo projects until the vaccines arrived. Then I opened Evil Clown Headquarters for Livestreaming shows and we have been cranking out great performances with many of the Evil Clown ensembles. Live Performances, however, have been very infrequent - Only two Leap of Faith shows: Spectral Sequences from March 2022 and The Symbolic Method from June 2022. I am of two minds on this 1) I miss live audiences and I have really enjoyed performing in front of people again. 2) Evil Clown Headquarters Livestreaming shows have many advantages including ease of scheduling, the quality of the recording and video presentation, and not having to move all the stuff required to present the Evil Clown broad palette aesthetic (ow, by back!). As things open up more over time, we will return to more frequent live performances, although I think it is likely that we won't do as many as we did pre-pandemic and instead keep producing frequent livestream shows.

So, this newest release, The Symbolic Method, contains the entire second live performance of a trio edition Leap of Faith with guest Steve Niemitz at the drum kit, and the encore set (which would not fit on the CD with the lengthy first set) from a Sextet edition from the first live performance with guests Vance Provey (tp), Albey onBass (b), Nate McBride (b), Eric Rosenthal (d).

Bonnie Kane, an Evil Clown regular, hosts a series in Holyoke MA called the Friday Experiment. It's a great monthly series with each night featuring tight sets by several bands and a group jam at the end. Holyoke is about 90 minutes west of the Boston Area, so Bonnie travels a ways to get here for Evil Clown sessions. Steve Niemitz, an Evil Clown regular at the drums, also lives in that area, so when Bonnie asked if we would do this date, I immediately knew that we would present a trio with Steve as the guest. The one previous occasion when we did this series (the Observed Present - 2/15/2020), right before the pandemic, was the same trio for the same reason. We had a small, but enthusiasticaudience who really spurred us into a dramatic 45 minute improvisation!!

Alex Lemski hosts a series called the Creative Music Series which holds roughly monthly improvisation shows mostly at the Lilypad in Cambridge or at one of several outdoor venues. Alex is a great supporter of the music who has done an excellent job of understanding how to raise an audience for live performance for improvisation, so I welcomed the opportunity to produce the Spectral Sequences show with him. We had the largest crowd in the LilyPad that we have ever had, and the enthusiastic audience spurred us into a rousing 90 minutes of improvised madness.

This configuration of Leap of Faith with 3 strings (vc, b, b), reeds, trumpet and drums, is one that I like. Many Leap of Faith ensembles are comprised of reeds, strings, and percussion. As stated above, the core unit with Yuri, contained one from each of these instrument categories. A trio with this instrumentation can be expanded to a lager group by adding one or more horn players, string players, or percussionists. This 3,2,1 solution, with the amazing string section of Glynis (vc), Albey (b) and Nate, the horns of PEK and Vance, and the master drums of Eric, really shows how an ensemble with these elements can shred when every player steps up!

I like the return of Leap of Faith to Live Performance. These two shows really display what happens when eager musicians are able to perform for enthusiastic observers."-David Peck, from the liner notes


Artist Biographies

"PEK (aka David Peck) is a multi-instrument improviser who plays all kinds of instruments including saxophones, clarinets, double reeds, percussion, electronics and auxiliary sound making devices of all kinds.

PEK was born in 1964 and started playing clarinet and piano in elementary school. In 7th grade he started saxophones, first on alto, then switching to tenor in high school. He spent 10 years playing in rock bands and studying classical and jazz saxophone with Kurt Heisig in the San Jose CA area before moving to Boston in 1989 to attend Berklee where he studied performance with George Garzone. While Berklee was an excellent place to study harmony, voice training and other important aspects of a conventional formal music training course of study, it was not a very good environment for learning contemporary (or pure) improvisation (apart from his work with George). PEK did find, however, that Boston had a thriving improvisation scene, and it was here that he developed his mature pure improvisation language.

During the 90s, PEK performed with many notable improvisers including Masashi Harada, Glynis Lomon, William Parker, Laurence Cooke, Eric Zinman, Glenn Spearman, Raqib Hassan, Charlie Kohlhase, Steve Norton, Keith Hedger, Mark McGrain, Sydney Smart, Matt Samolis, Martha Ritchey, Larry Roland, Dennis Warren, Yuri Zbitnov, Craig Schildhauer, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Leslie Ross, Rob Bethel, Wayne Rogers, Eric Rosenthal, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tatsuya Nakatani, James Coleman, B'hob Rainey and George Garzone.

PEK met cellist Glynis Lomon when they played together in the Masashi Harada Sextet which existed between 1990 and 1992. They developed a deep musical connection which they continued following the MHS; first with the Leaping Water Trio for a few years and then with the first version of Leap of Faith in 1994. Leap of Faith was very active in Boston from that time until 2001 and went through a series of several core ensembles which always included both PEK and Glynis. Other key Leap of Faith core members during this period were Mark McGrain (trombone), Craig Schildhauer (double bass), Sydney Smart (drums), Yuri Zbitnov (drums) and James Coleman (theremin). Leap of Faith was always a very modular unit with constantly shifting personnel and many different guests. The early Leap of Faith period concluded in 2001 with a dual bill at an excellent room at MIT called Killian Hall with George Garzone's seminal trio the Fringe.

At this time, PEK changed careers for his day gig, returning to college for a computer science degree and beginning to work in the structural engineering industry at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. He became far too busy to continue the heavy music schedule, and preferring not to do music casually, he entered a long musically dormant period.

Flash forward to early 2014. PEK was a regular mail order customer of Downtown Music Gallery, the premiere specialty shop in Manhattan for free jazz, contemporary classical and other new music. While in New York on SGH business, he went down to DMG and had a lengthy conversation with proprietor Bruce Lee Gallanter about the early Leap of Faith period. He then sent Bruce a package of about 15 CD titles from the 90s and was pleasantly surprised when Bruce managed to sell nearly all of it. This public interest in the old catalog spurred PEK into getting back into performance. He reformed Leap of Faith with Glynis Lomon (cello, voice, aquasonic), Yuri Zbitnov (drums) and newcomer Steve Norton (clarinets and saxophones) and started to record and perform in early 2015.

Now having access to financial resources always absent in the early period, PEK began to accumulate a huge collection of instruments both for himself and also to expand the palate of Leap of Faith and the other projects soon to follow. He acquired new recording equipment and many new saxophones, clarinets, double reeds, metal and wooden percussion instruments, electronic instruments, signal processing equipment and other sound-making devices from many cultures. He revived his old record label, Evil Clown, and created reissues and new releases for much of the early period work by Leap of Faith and many of his other projects to sell at shows, DMG and the internet (around 100 archival titles).

The Arsenal of equipment has a grand purpose: To establish a large scale aesthetic problem to use the instruments to make long form broad palate improvisations with dramatic transformation and development. The very broad palate enables the long improvisations to evolve with very different movements and pronounced development over their length. PEK started the Leap of Faith Orchestra, a greatly expanded Leap of Faith, to achieve this purpose along with a number of smaller ensembles which are sub-units of the full orchestra including String Theory (focusing on orchestral strings), Metal Chaos Ensemble (focusing on metallic percussion), Turbulence (horn players), Mekaniks (electronics) and Chicxulub (space rock). In all, the Evil Clown roster includes over 40 musicians who contribute to one or more of the various projects, with PEK participating in all of them. Leap of Faith has also had some special guests like Steve Swell (trombone), Thomas Heberer (trumpet), Jeremiah Cymerman (clarinet) and Jim Hobbs (alto sax). The Leap of Faith Orchestra happens whenever several of these groups play together at the same time, or the ensemble exceeds 7 or 8 players. The Full Orchestra is a special case discussed below.

The current roster is comprised in part of: - Core Leap of Faith: PEK, Glynis Lomon, Yuri Zbitnov (Steve Norton has since left to go to Graduate School) - Percussion: Andria Nicodemou (vibes), Kevin Dacey (perc), Joe Hartigan (perc), Syd Smart (drums) - Strings: Jane Wang (cello), Clara Kebabian (violin), Tony Leva (bass), Mimi Rabson (violin), Kirsten Lamb (bass), Brendan Higgins (bass), Silvain Castellano (bass), Rob Bethel (cello), Kit Demos (bass), Matt Scutchfield (violin), Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin) - Piano: Eric Zinman, Peter Cassino, Emilio Gonzales - Horns: Dave Harris (tuba, trombone), Charlie Kohlhase (saxes), Bob Moores (trumpet), Sara Honeywell (trombone), Forbes Graham (trumpet), John Baylies (tuba), Dan O'Brien (woodwinds), Zack Bartolomei (woodwinds), Kat Dobbins (trombone), Steve Provizer (trumpet, baritone horn), Matt Samolis (flute) - Electronics: Greg Grinnell, Jason Adams (electric bass, electronics) - Guitar: Dru Wesely, Grant Beale, Chris Florio - Voice: Dei Xhrist

Evil Clown is documenting the ongoing solutions to this aesthetic challenge by creating limited CD editions and digital download albums of every performance and studio session by this array of ensembles. Interested audience can track the development of the grand scale project over the many releases - over 80 albums recorded and released so far between Jan of 2015 and March of 2017. All of the bands are highly modular, changing personnel and instrumentation with each meeting. The result is an enormous amount of music that shares the same fundamental improvisational language but differs from event to event greatly both in sonority (overall sound) and specific detail.

For the full Leap of Faith Orchestra, PEK composes a graphic notation score to guide the improvisation. The full Orchestra is comprised of roughly 20 players from the roster and performs twice a year. Two performances have occurred to date - The Expanding Universe in June of 2016 and Supernovae in November of 2016. Composition for Possible Universes is completed and the work will be performed on May 28, 2017 with another performance (score not yet begun) scheduled for November.

The scores use a device called Frame Notation where written English descriptions of the overall sonority desired and simple graphic symbols are given durations for each player on their part along with direction on when to play and when not to play. The directions are put in little boxes called frames which are arranged on a timeline and are simple enough to be immediately understood by the performers. Horizontal lines, called Duration Bars, extend across the page indicating when each Event (the Frame + the Duration Bar) begins and ends. An Event can be intended for the full ensemble, a defined group within the ensemble (for example, Metal Chaos Ensemble), a custom group (for example, Tubas), or an individual (for example, Andria Feature).

Parts are the full score annotated with Hiliters so that each player's instructions stand out. They can clearly see their individual instructions, but can also see the big picture, enabling far more knowledge about the pending actions of the rest of the ensemble than typical in pure improvisation. The players track the elapsed time on a very large sports clock. There is no melodic, harmonic or rhythmic information specified. This system allows PEK to compose detailed Ensemble Events without having to notate pitches or rhythms which would require significant rehearsal to accurately achieve."

-All About Jazz (https://musicians.allaboutjazz.com/pek)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Improvising cellist, vocalist and aquasonic player Glynis Lomon graduated from Bennington College in 1975 with a degree in Music/Black Music. At Bennington she studied with musician/composer Bill Dixon and continued to perform and record with his ensembles until his recent death. Glynis has also been privileged to play with Arthur Brooks, Jimmy Lyons, Cecil Taylor, Butch Morris, William Parker, Joe Morris, Greta Buck, Masashi Harada, Lowell Davidson, Raqib Hassan and many others. For almost a decade she and multi reed player PEK performed in the Boston area with their group Leap of Faith."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-glynis-lomon-.html)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Vance Provey is a trumpeter and freelance musician, arranger, composer, and educator.He has played with various bands in the Boston area, including HealingNewtown and the Arts Festival.

-The Newton Bee (https://www.newtownbee.com/12132013/snapshot-vance-provey/)
6/12/2024

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Albey Balgochian performs on bass, who has performed with Cecil Taylor, Paul Rishell and has led his own band.

-Albey onBass Website (http://www.albeybalgochian.com/index.html)
6/12/2024

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"Nate McBride, who was born in 1971, is a very versatile double-bassist and electric bassist, and has performed with such important musicians as Dennis Gonzalez, Pandelis Karayorgis, and Ken Vandermark. McBride is a Boston native, and recently relocated to Chicago, Illinois.

He has played in the groups: Bathysphere, Bridge 61, Dennis González Boston Project, Dull Thud Trio, FME, Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms, Joe Morris Quartet, Joe Morris Trio, MI3, New Fracture Quartet, Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet, Pandelis Karayorgis Trio, Powerhouse Sound, Predella Group, Riot Trio, Spaceways Incorporated, The Engines, The Frame Quartet, The Whammies, Tripleplay, Wheelhouse"

-Nuscope, Discogs (http://nuscope.org/musicians/nate-mcbride/)
6/12/2024

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"Drummer Eric Rosenthal is based out of the Boston area. The former student of Ed Blackwell has studied and performed more than American jazz drumming; he has also delved into West African traditional and South Indian classical percussion. Rosenthal has performed and improvised with Anthony Braxton, Mat Maneri, Pandelis Karayorgis, Mario Pavone, and the Either/Orchestra. He has performed all over North America and Europe, and appeared in Greece at the Patras Jazz Festival, at Montreal's North Sea Jazz festival, even at Finland's Pori Festival. Besides producing his own improvised music recordings, he also appears on CDs with the Hypnotic Clambake and the Zairean soukous band Freestyle. The late '90s found Rosenthal busy in the group Naftule's Dream. The band has two releases on John Zorn's Tzadik label, Search for the Golden Dreydl and Smash, Clap!"

-Evil Clown (http://www.evilclown.rocks/bio-eric-rosenthal.html)
6/12/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. The Symbolic Method 43:39

2. Spectral Sequences Encore 14:03

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Boston Area Improvisers
Septet recordings

Search for other titles on the label:
Evil Clown.


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