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Leap of Faith Orchestra: Supernovae (Evil Clown)

Boston area composer and multi-instrumentalist David Peck developed a unique approach to scoring for this large and idiosyncratic ensemble, referred to as Frame Notation, giving descriptions of sonority, time scale, events, playing occurrences, &c, leaving a great deal of freedom for these extraordinary musicians, as borne out in their incredible and extended performance.
 

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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9125
Squidco Product Code: 24777

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at the Armory in Sommervile, Massachusetts, on November 19th, 2016.


Personnel:

David Peck (PEK)-clarinet, contraalto clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, oboe, dulzaina, contrabassoon, bass trombone, sheng, daxophone, flex a tone, rachet, plate gong, aquasonic,fog horns, taxi horn, wind siren, metal

Glynis Lomon-cello, aquasonic, voice

Yuri Zbitnoff-lead gong, drum set, daiko, festival drum, balafon, metal, wood

Andria Nicodemou-vibes, crotales, metal

Bob Moores-trumpet, large temple bowl

Forbes Graham-trumpet, Tibetan bowl, flex a tones

Dan O’Brien-clarinets, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophones, flute, Tibetan Bowl

Zach Bartolomei-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, rachet, melodica

Kat Dobbins-trombone, Tibetan bowl, plate gong

David Harris-trombone, tuba, rachet

John Baylies-tubas, flex a tones

Mimi Rabson-violin, flex a tones

Matt Scutchfield-violin, Atlantis gong, flex a tones

Helen Sherrah Davies-violin, flex a tones

BrendanHiggens-bass, rachet

Tony Leva-bass, rachet

Drew Wesley-guitar, rachet

Grant Beale-guitar, flex a tone

Peter Cassino-piano

Kevin Dacey-drum set, vibes, timpani, metal, wood

Sydney Smart-electronic percussion

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track listing:


1. Supernovae 1:17:10
Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Boston Area Improvisers
Large Ensembles
New in Improvised Music
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Composer and multi-instrumentalist, PEK, set his sights on something bigger with the Leap of Faith Orchestra's Supernovae. The previous incarnation of the LOFO expands from the fifteen musicians on The Expanding Universe (Evil Clown, 2016) to twenty-one players on this new outing. Another noteworthy element of this project is PEK's use of Frame Notation where the score is seen in written descriptions and straight-forward symbols within Duration Bars. The system provides the musicians with immediate understanding of their own parts and the higher-level arrangement of the music.

Supernovae consists of a single track composition running just under eighty minutes. The digital download includes a bonus track. Though the extended piece is not broken out by formal movements, there are clear delineations within the score. PEK's ensemble-not surprisingly-includes enough non-traditional and weird instruments to compete with a Dr. Seuss orchestra. Though they are not playing in a vacuum, that group of instruments dominates the first ten minutes before strings and reeds make themselves more clearly heard. Forty-five minutes in, we have the first case of prolonged melody, darker and more subdued than the overall tone of the first half.

Supernovae gives way to free improvisation overlaying the melody. Eventually the piece introduces a brilliant percussion passage before it reintroduces the non-traditional music elements, but here in a more refined manner. As with all of PEK's compositions, there is-behind the scenes-a painstaking amount of organization that is not always evident in the listening. That is part of the beauty of this album; the non-traditional approach to instrumentation and the lack of adherence to Western structure continue to make the various iterations of Leap of Faith consistently interesting. And interesting look at the written score can be viewed at http://www.evilclown.rocks/lofo-supernovae-score.html."-Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz



"Supernovae uses 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 a defined group within the ensemble (for example, Metal Chaos Ensemble or MCE), a custom group (for example, Tubas), or an individual (for example, Andria Feature).

[...]

The players track the elapsed time on a very large sports clock. There is no melodic, harmonic or rhythmic information specified. This system allows me to compose detailed Ensemble Events without having to notate pitches or rhythms which would require significant rehearsal to accurately achieve. I did, however prepare a memo - a guide to reading the score - which I distributed a couple of weeks in advance of the performance. Reading the Notes and following the score together clearly explains the meaning of all of the symbols."-PEK


Get additional information at All About Jazz

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)
11/29/2017

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)
11/29/2017

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

"Yuri Zbitnoff is a drummer/composer/arranger who has been simultaneously providing cutting edge musical entertainment and fomenting revolution of the mind for over 20 years.

Yuri can be heard playing in Atompunk Go-Go Jazz pioneers Mission Creep as well as jazz/rock powerhouse, Axemunkee.

Yuri is perhaps best known for his nearly 10 year stint with the roiling cauldron of apocalyptic cosmic jazz thunder known as Enuma Elish.

From 2000 to 2008, Yuri ran Lithiq, a label dedicated to promoting music at the nexus of electronic music, jazz and rock. During this time, Yuri released albums by both Enuma Elish and Sky Saw and performed with SpiralZero, Caduceus, and many others.

Yuri's association with PEK dates back to the late 90's and includes numerous performances with Raqib Hassan's ensembles as well as Leap of Faith. All of these recordings are available on Evil Clown."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-yuri-zbitnov.html)
11/29/2017

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

"Andria Nicodemou is a multifaceted musician from Cyprus, specializing in vibraphone and improvisation. She is a graduate from Corfu University in Classical Percussion and has received a Master's Degree from the New England Conservatory, in Contemporary Improvisation.

She has been working in diverse interdisciplinary art projects, with multi-media artists, dancers and actors in Europe and USA. She has worked with musicians such as Joe Morris, Anthony Coleman, Marty Ehrlich, Ikue Morri, Tayler Ho Bynum, Tatsuya Nakatani, Ab Baars, Anne La Berge, Gianni Lenoci, Jim Hobbs, Marc Sanders, among others. She was a guest performer at the London Improvisers Orchestra (2015) and the Royal Improvisers Orchestra in Amsterdam (2014).

Andria is the co-founder of the Thread Ensemble, a story-telling, improvisatory trio a result of a 2012 Ensemble Fellowship in NEC's Community Performances & Partnerships Department. With their unique teaching approach, Thread Ensemble has been performing and giving interactive workshops in the Boston Public Schools, ever since.

With her unique voice she has established herself as one of the important emerging musicians in the experimental, improvised music idioms.

In July of 2014 she received the honorary visa for prominent artistic personalities, 'Artist with an extraordinary ability in the fields of art' from the USA."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-andria-nicodemou.html)
11/29/2017

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

"Bob Moores Having spent most of his life flying under the radar working on obscure projects that may some day come to the light of day, trumpeter/guitarist/composer/improviser/artist/photographer/poet/conceptualist Bob Moores has finally started to emerge into the light playing in the free improvisation collective Fable Grazer and through his solo project Resonator.

Having played every kind of music imaginable on trumpet in every kind of setting from classical to funk to blues to R&B to pop punk and metal to jazz, in small and large ensembles, Bob has settled on playing only freely improvised music at this stage of his evolution, both in group situations and as a solo artist. Moores is an exponent of what he calls unschooled primitive coloristic guitar having started to play in earnest with Fable Grazer.

He has been composing music since he was a child and composes and arranges for a variety of ensembles types, instrumentations and genres."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-bob-moores.html)
11/29/2017

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

"Forbes Graham born 1977 in Washington, DC. Forbes Graham is a trumpet player, electronic musician, and composer living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. He has worked with a diverse array of musicians and currently is a member of Para Quintet, Rock Flint Contemporary Ensemble, Wild May, Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, Grizzler, Construction Party, Equal Time and Citizens Orchestra. He is the founder of the Rock Flint Artists Retreat, and has appeared at numerous festivals including High Zero, Full Force, and Vision."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-forbes-graham.html)
11/29/2017

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

"Kat Dobbins graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance from The Boston Conservatory in May 2009, and is an avid performer and teacher in the Greater Boston Area. Miss Dobbins taught at Natick Public Schools, and has an active and rapidly expanding private studio. Kat is a member of The Frequency Band, and enjoys performing for Musical Theater Pits, Orchestras and Chamber Ensembles. She frequently subs with the Boston Civic Symphony, and has performed with The Mercury Orchestra, Turtle Lane Playhouse and the Boston New Music Initiative."

-Kat Dobbins Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/katdbone/about/?ref=page_internal)
11/29/2017

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

"John Baylies busked extensively after graduating from Boston University with a bachelors degree in tuba performance. This led to regular gigs with diverse brass and marching bands. Keiichi met John at a few of those gigs and asked him to play in a rootsy free improv trio centered around a three-piece, kinetic, interactive, sculptural installation. John had a blast, and dug into the scene. One night, at a basement jam sesh, he was introduced to Erik Nugent, the inventor of the chromatic didgeridoo.

Erik's goal of bringing chromaticism to the didgeridoo, and John's interest in utilizing didgeridoo techniques on the tuba, merged excitingly. Erik crafted nu mouthpiece prototypes with his lathe, and John gave feedback about the designs. They launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, exhibited at ITEC and ITF, and as of now, about 70 musicians are supporting a catalyst for the fusion of what are no longer two distinct sonic worlds.

John savors intertwining the sonorous sounds of low brass with the ancient tones of the didgeridoo, and often incorporates live audio effects with various MIDI controllers."

-John Baylies Website (http://jbaylies.wixsite.com/tuba)
11/29/2017

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

"Mimi Rabson has distinguished herself as one of Boston's most creative and versatile musicians. She is a first-prize winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in composition. Her compositions and arrangements are published by StringLetter Press (distributed by Hal Leonard). Her published works include arrangements of music by Duke Ellington, James Brown and Cole Porter as well as her originals. Her music and her articles frequent the pages of Strings Magazine. Her newest compositions include a formal string quartet performed and recorded by the Berklee Chamber Players and a string trio that offers classically trained musicians an outlet for improvisation.

Ms. Rabson commissioned 6 fellow Berklee faculty members to compose new works for solo violin. Those works range in style from rock to hip hop and include contemporary practices like improvisation, interaction with computer and effects pedals.

She used her electric violin in a power trio setting with electric bass and drums to record "Music", featuring noise-rock, post-jazz and electro-acoustic compositions and improvisations. Ms. Rabson created RESQ - the Really Eclectic String Quartet that plays her compositions and arrangements of jazz, funk, fusion, gospel and Latin music. That group produced two recordings.

Ms. Rabson was a founding member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and worked with that organization for many years touring, recording, composing and acting as musical director.Ms. Rabson appeared with Itzhak Perlman on the recording called "In the Fiddler's House" and on "The Late Show with David Letterman". She was featured in a documentary about Klezmer music called "A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden". Ms. Rabson served as musical director to academy award winner, Joel Grey in his production of "Borschtcapades '94". Her composition "Klezzified" was featured on Saturday Night Live.

Ms. Rabson's other performance credits include the premiere of "Fresh Faust" by Leroy Jenkins, soundtrack for "Sensorium"- the award winning film by Karen Aqua, with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Meatloaf, Kristin Chenoweth, the Boston Gay Men's Choir, the Boston Camarata, the New England Ragtime Ensemble, the Klezmatics, Deborah Henson-Conant, the Pablo Ablanedo Octet, and XLCR. She has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion twice, at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Wolf Trap, the Mann Center, the Place des Arts in Montreal and other world class venues.

Ms. Rabson is a sought after clinician. She has presented at The Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp, ASTA, and numerous schools and colleges. Ms. Rabson has had compositions played by the Jazz Composers Alliance. Ms. Rabson is an Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music and has received several Berklee grants to support her creative endeavors. She is a Yamaha String Educator."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-mimi-rabson.html)
11/29/2017

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

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