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Leap of Faith Orchestra: The Expanding Universe (Evil Clown)

The Leap of Faith Orchestra is a large improvisation ensemble comprised of 5 ub-units--Leap of Faith, Metal Chaos Ensemble, String Theory, Turbulence, and the New Language Collaborative--all assembled here for a massive and far-ranging experience, scored with time indices and English language descriptions by leader David Peck; dense and spectacular.
 

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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9110
Squidco Product Code: 24778

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded in the Nave Gallery, at theClarendon Presbyterian Church, in Somerville, Massachusetts, on June 4th, 2016.


Personnel:

David Peck (PEK)-tenor saxophone, clarinet, sopranino saxophone, alto saxophone, contraalto clarinets, contrabassoon, dulzaina, sheng, metal, daxophone, aquasonic, game calls, bass tromboon, fog horn, ms 20, boomwhakers, slide whistles, siren whistle

Glynis Lomon-cello, aquasonic, voice, slide whistle

Steve Norton-sopranino saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, contraalto clarinets, celeste, fog horn, boomwhakers

Andria Nicodemou-vibes, bells, crotales, metal

Yuri Zbitnoff-drum set, lead gong, metal, balfon, blocks, festival drum, daiko, chains, siren whistle, boomwhakers, percussion, drums, metal, chains

Mimi Rabson-metal, slide whistle, siren whistle, percussion

Clara Kebabian-slide whistle, siren whistle, percussion

Bob Moores-trumpet, electronics, tiny slide whistle, percussion

Charlie Kohlhase-alto & tenor & baritone saxes, slide whistle, percussion

Dave Harris-tuba, trombone, fog horn, crank siren,slide whistle, boomwhaker

Peter Cassino-piano, slide whistle

Tony Leva-bass, slide whistle

Brendan Higgins-bass, slide whistle

Yedidyah Syd Smart-edrums, percussion

Kevin Dacey-drum set, balfon, blocks, metal, chains, percussion, crank siren, taxi horn

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track listing:


1. The Expanding Universe 1:16:57
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.

"The creative music cooperative known as Leap of Faith had a long initial run from 1993 to 2001 and then re-booted in 2015. At their core, from the beginning, have been multi-instrumentalists David Peck (aka PEK) and Glynis Lomon. PEK, however, assumes a more than democratic leadership role across the many manifestations of the collective that live on his Evil Clown label. On The Expanding Universe the Leap of Faith Orchestra-true the album title-escalates with full (but non-conventional) ensemble of fifteen.

At fifty-thousand feet, one could describe the overall vibe of The Expanding Universe as running the gamut from melodic to shambolic. The latter perception may be driven by the presence of more than four-dozen instruments/devices in the hands of these fifteen artists. The sole track (being the title track) is a sprawling epic at seventy-seven minutes and does indeed deviate between the austere and the chaotic, but as always, composer PEK has a higher purpose. Swerving whistles and a siren usher in the piece with no small amount of urgency building to a crescendo of noise before a lone tuba replaces near-calamity with dark mystery. Later, piano and alternate devices struggle for dominance, lopsided melodies collide with bells, blocks and cymbals in a musical representation of the album's stated theme.

PEK and the Leap of Faith Orchestra collectively have the gift of being able to discover music where it lives and one would be justified in believing that they could find aesthetic value in the rhythm of windshield wipers as certainly as with a saxophone. The Expanding Universe only marginally revolves around recognizable spheres like the bass, vibes or cello. There are nebulas of boomwhakers, fog horns, sirens and pieces of metal attracted by the gravitational pull. Like any uncharted exploration, attention to detail makes this experimental journey a memorable experience."-Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz


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)
6/20/2018

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)
6/20/2018

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)
6/20/2018

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)
6/20/2018

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)
6/20/2018

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)
6/20/2018

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

"Alto, tenor and baritone saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase has been a mainstay of Boston's jazz scene for over twenty years. Whether leading his two newest bands, performing in a dozen others or writing over 50 compositions, his music spans a broad range of styles with an emphasis on the contemporary and the improvised.

Born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (11/28/56), Charlie began playing saxophones at 18. After private studies with Stan Strickland and Roswell Rudd , he moved to Boston in 1980.

In 1989, he formed the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet , an ongoing project that has performed locally and nationally for a decade and half. Their long-awaited live 2-CD set, "Play Free Or Die," has been released on the Boxholder label to critical acclaim. Kohlhase also leads the CK5, a second quintet that recently released its live debut, "CK5 Live!" Charlie's two newest bands, Explorer's Club and Saxophone Support Group , are charting new territory. Explorer's Club , another quintet for Kohlhase, builds upon his long relationship with New England saxophonist Matt Langley. SSG is an ever-changing quartet to octet of local sax luminaries.

Other recent activities include work with the Nate McBride Quartet, Matt Steckler's Dead Cat Bounce, and Chris Allen's Central Artery Project. He also performs with The Estate, the Charlie Kohlhase/Matt Langley Saxophone Duo, and the Chuck Gabriel Septet.

In addition, he co-led groups with the great Danish/Congolese saxophonist John Tchicai for New England tours in 1997, 1998 and 2003. Charlie was also a member of Either/Orchestra from 1987 to 2001, playing throughout North America, Europe and Russia. His recordings with Tchicai and Roswell Rudd have received critical acclaim.

Charlie was an artist-in-residence at Harvard in 2003 with Dave Douglas and Roswell Rudd. That same year, he recorded with Anthony Braxton's Genome Project and worked with violinist/composer Leroy Jenkins at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. Charlie has also recently been touring in a trio with John Tchicai and Garrison Fewell .

Charlie also teaches at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts and offers private lessons.

He has also been active in jazz radio for many years and currently hosts "Research and Development," a program devoted to modern jazz heard on WMBR, 88.1FM in Cambridge, Massachusetts and on the web."

-Charlie Kohlhase Website (http://www.charliekohlhase.com/page1/page1.html)
6/20/2018

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

"Trombonist, pianist and composer/arranger David Harris is a member of Naftule's Dream, a klezmer-influenced, avant jazz band based out of Boston. Harris also co-founded Brass Planet, an eclectically styled ensemble of trombones, tuba and drums. Born in St. Louis, Harris graduated from the New England Conservatory around 1980, and has remained in the Boston area since. Harris has performed various styles of music including jazz, classical and folk on over 30 recordings, and has performed around the world from North America to Australia, throughout Europe and in Japan. He has performed at many venues and festivals of note, including The Smithsonian Institute, the Blue Note, the Knitting Factory, the Berlin Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. A past featured soloist of Les Miserables Brass Band, Harris continues to compose and arrange for them. He also is a founding member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and recorded with them for three albums. Harris has performed music for television commercials and film soundtracks including Stranger Among Us and Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry. A '90s recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship's first prize for music composition, Harris and his wife, violinist Mimi Rabson, remain in the Boston area where he teaches piano, computer music and trombone. In 1998, Naftule's Dream released Smash, Clap!, their second album for the Tzadik label's Radical Jewish Culture series."

-All Music (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-harris-mn0000172807/biography)
6/20/2018

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"I am improvisor, collaborator, educator and performer. I can often be found on stages throughout the USA playing songs or accompanying theater and puppetry with: Bury Me Standing, Jaggery, and They Gotta Be Secret Agents. I am also an active collaborator/educator at Tunefoolery, an artist collective of musicians in mental health recovery.

I love studying the bass, creating music and collaborating with others while sharing what I learn with students and music lovers of all ages. My own study translates directly to the musicians with whom I play and also to the students whom I teach. As I am able to connect more deeply with my own music, I am able to facilitate others connecting to music. By expanding my own ideas of what music is and how people can play music and create sounds, I can then encourage others to do the same in their own way. I currently teach bass at Rockport Central School and offer private lessons. Please contact me at anthonycolinlevaATgmailDOTcom if you are interested in lessons or if you'd just like to say hello!

I also study the sintir (a North African bass lute) and have occasionally performed on trumpet, melodica, accordion and clown nose."

-Evil Clown (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-tony-leva.html)
6/20/2018

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

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