The Squid's Ear Magazine


Leap of Faith (PEK / Lomon / Epps / McBride / Rosenthal / Simches): Meaning Arising (Evil Clown)

A new quintet lineup for the long-running Boston collective Leap of Faith, expanding the core duet of David Peck on reeds & flutes and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, with trumpeter Ellwood Epps, double bassist Nate McBride, drummer Eric Rosenthal, and transformed by live signal processing from Joel Simches, performing a powerful and extended post-pandemic concert.
 

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David Peck (PEK)-clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino & tenor saxophones, bass flute, tarota, medieval horn, goat horn, melodica, gongs, Englephone, brontosaurus & tank bells, Tibetan bowls, cowbells, almglocken, wood blocks, temple blocks, log drums, chimes, orchestral chimes, electric chimes, xylophone, balafon, castanets, glockenspiel, crotales, temple bell, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, chime & spring boxes, telstar, theremin, moogerfooger

Glynis Lomon-cello, aquasonic, voice

Ellwood Epps-trumpetlog drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, gongs, almglocken, brontosaurus bell, glockenspiel, orchestral chimes, crank siren

Nate McBride-double bass, 17 string electric bass, Englephone, balafon, almglocken, glockenspiel, seed pod rattle, Tibetan bells

Eric Rosenthal-drums, gong, crotales, Englephone

Joel Simches-live to 2 track recording, real time signal processing


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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9290
Squidco Product Code: 31657

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Livestreamed to YouTube Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA 20 November 2021.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Leap of Faith is the core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & 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.

This is the first Leap of Faith set with this quintet lineup. There have been some changes to the Evil Clown roster over the pandemic. While many of the regulars are still around and have been participating in the LIVESTREAMING shows from Evil Clown Headquarters, some have changed up in one way or another and are no longer available. Likewise, I have some new players, and I have some that participated in the past and are now rejoining us. This is the first Evil Clown appearance by bassist Nate McBride, the second appearance by trumpeter Ellwood Epps who now lives in the Boston area and will be more available (Turbulence - Upheaval), and the third appearance by drummer Eric Rosenthal (who performed on two of the Form Notation scores for the Leap of Faith Orchestra.

Despite being a first set by this quintet, there are lots of cross connections within the Boston Improv scene. Of course Glynis and I have played since forever, but Ellwood had been a frequent guest of Glynis' other band the New Language Collaborative, and Nate and Eric have frequently played together in many different contexts. This is common when playing with seasoned improvisors in new settings. This ensemble sounds like it has played together many times, not one.

I've been looking forward to this session since I booked it. All three of the guest players stand out on their instruments and have significant credentials in the free jazz improvisation scene of the Boston area and beyond. None of them had been to Evil Clown Headquarters previously. I always enjoy when people come to my home studio for the first time. The set up of the extensive percussion equipment, the large number of my horns, and the 8 camera video mix is very rare and inevitably a great deal of fun for everyone, but especially newbies...

This is a strong set as I expected, especially since everyone is still very excited to be able to play music again with others. Stay tuned for a steady stream of new sets over the next few months from Leap of Faith and all the other active Evil Clown ensembles."-David Peck, from the liner notes



This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

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)
11/29/2023

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)
11/29/2023

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

"Ellwood Epps was born in Toronto and grew up in nearby Mississauga. His father and grandfather played trumpet in the past, and when he began band classes in junior high school at age 11, the trumpet was chosen for him, despite having put down alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone as his three instrument choices. He attended an intensive arts highschool called Cawthra Park, where his first trumpet teachers were Mary Ann Fratia and Jim Lewis. At Cawthra he began improvising, composing, and falling in love with jazz music. During this time he played trumpet, bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, piano, and baritone saxophone, and also studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

He spent a brief period of time studying jazz at the University of Toronto and York University. He took private lessons from David Mott, meditated, wrote poetry, and travelled to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder Colorado, attending the classes of Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Reed Bye. Back in Toronto, he copublished a poetry journal and hosted a reading series called Poetry On The Roof at the Parliament Street loft where he lived. He also travelled to Bennington Vermont to study with Bill Dixon.

During the late 90's, Epps hosted Full Circle, a weekly jazz program on CIUT FM which featured in-studio performances, and organized the AS IS concert series at the Oasis on College Street. Some of Epps' first performances as an improviser were with the Woodchoppers Association, a large orchestra co-led by drummer Dave Clark and multi-inistrumentalist Lewis Melville. He joined the David Mott Quintet, which recorded two very under-recognized albums, and had a week-long performance residency at the Vancouver Jazz Festival.

In 2004 and 2005 Epps attended the Banff Jazz and Creative Music Workshop and the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, where he learned from George Lewis, Dave Douglas, Han Bennink, Mark Dresser, and Bill Frisell, and met Montreal musicians Pierre-Yves Martel and Philippe Lauzier. In 2004 he was invited to perform with Steve Lacy and an 8-piece ensemble in Montreal in a concert recorded and broadcast on French CBC Radio. Sadly Lacy passed a few months later, and the band never got to perform again. The experience made an impression, and Epps moved to Montreal in 2005, where he has worked regularly with the Montreal members of that band: Nicolas Caloia, John Heward, Lori Freedman, Jean Derome, and Rainer Wiens. That band also included American saxophonist Joe Giardullo; Epps played on Joe's 'Red Morocco', which was released on the French Rogue Art label.

In Montreal, Epps also began working with players of his own generation including Martel, Lauzier, Josh Zubot, and Isaiah Ceccarelli. Epps was an original member of Martel's Quartetski, and appears on its debut recording, ''Quartetski does Prokofiev''. In 2007 he formed Pink Saliva with Michel F Côté and Alexandre St-Onge. The band has released 6 recordings, and won the François Marcaurelle prize at the Off Jazz Festival in 2012. He is also a longstanding member of Nicolas Caloia's Ratchet Orchestra, and has performed with John Heward's Murray Street Band, Land of Marigold (a duet with Josh Zubot), as a duet with saxophonist Yves Charuest, and in many groups with Jean Derome. Currently his principal activity is the band Togetherness!, a quintet which plays music from South Africa and beyond.

Epps has performed in ad-hoc ensembles with Montreal improvers of all ages and backgrounds including Scott Thomson, Martin Tétreault, Émilie Girard-Charest, Malcolm Goldstein, Raphael Foisy-Couture, Ivan Bamford, Stéphan Diamantakiou, and Bernard Falaise. Since coming to Montreal he has also performed with many American and European musicians including William Parker, Bill Dixon, John Butcher, Matana Roberts, Henry Grimes, Axel Dörner, Marshall Allen, Xavier Charles, Wilbert DeJoode, Butch Morris, and Nate Wooley. He has completed two coast-to-coast Canadian tours, first playing solo concerts, and then with violinist Josh Zubot. He has performed often at the Guelph Jazz Festival, Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV), FONTMusic Canada, and l'Off Festival de Jazz de Montréal, and has appeared in New York at the Stone, CBGB's, the Jazz Gallery, and the FONT Festival.

In 2008 Epps and fellow trumpeter Philippe Battikha co-founded l'Envers, a loft venue in the Mile End that was a welcoming home for creative music, film, dance and more, and hosted over 400 concerts during its four years in business. In the same year he was one of four musicians who started the stilll-active Mardi Spaghetti series, just down the street at Le Cagibi café. In 2014 Epps and Aaron Shragge started the annual Festival of New Trumpet Music Canada, modelled after the FONT Festival in New York. FONTMusic Canada has presented great trumpet artists including Nicole Rampersaud, Lina Allemano, Amy Horvey, Ingrid Jensen, and Nate Wooley.

While living at l'Envers, Epps and Lévy Bourbonnais started a series of improvised music workshops called the Studio d'Improvisation de Montréal. SIM continues to operate, with nearly 200 students over the years, and has included workshops by guest teachers such as Henry Grimes, Lori Freedman, Joe Morris, and Tatsuya Nakatani. He has given workshops across Canada: in Vancouver (through the NOW Orchestra Society), as artist-in-residence at the 2015 Something Else! Festival in Hamilton, in Calgary, Kitchener, and at Carlton University in Ottawa. Epps has been teaching private trumpet lessons since his teenage years, following in the footsteps of master teacher Laurie Frink, with whom studied in New York over a 10-year period.

Ellwood has recorded on over 60 records for diverse labels including Ambiances Magnetiques, &Records, and Constellation (Montreal), VICTO, Rogue Art (France), Majmua (Philadelphia), Kakutopia (UK), Panospria and Drip Audio (Vancouver), Barnyard (Toronto), and Bug Incision (Calgary)."

-Ellwood Epps Website (http://www.ellwoodepps.ca/biography/)
11/29/2023

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

"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/)
11/29/2023

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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)
11/29/2023

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

"Joel Simches: A multi-instrumentalist born 10/18/65, Joel Simches has been an active member of the Boston music scene for 35 years, played in well over 40 bands, traveling the world as a musician, audio engineer, tour manager and record producer. He has worked with a diverse array of bands including Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, DeVotchKa, Bang Camaro, Dresden Dolls and Big Dipper, to name a few. He has also written for The Noise and Boston Soundcheck Magazine. Currently a staff engineer at Watch City Studios, Joel also plays in Count Zero, Joe Turner and the Seven Levels, Butterscott, Nisi Period, Didactics, Curious Ritual and is executive producer/talent booker of On The Town with Mikey Dee on WMFO."

-Evil Clown (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-joel-simches.html)
11/29/2023

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


Track Listing:



1. Meaning Arising 1:10:27

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Boston Area Improvisers
Quintet Recordings
Collective Free Improvsation

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Coherent Alternatives
(Evil Clown)
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, here joined by John Fugarino performing on trumpet, slide valve trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone and leveraging the vast Evil Clown arsenal of percussion devices.
Simulacrum
Reincarnations
(Evil Clown)
A quartet of collective improvisors focused on the merging of percussion and electronics from the Boston project Simulacrum in an extended transmigration, here with Bob Moores on guitar and synths, former Cecil Taylor bassist Albey onBass, keyboardist Eric Zinman also performing on drum kit, and David Peck on reeds, winds, electronics and percussive devices.
Metal Chaos Ensemble
Nexus 6
(Evil Clown)
One of Evil Clown's most prolific groupings, Metal Chaos Ensemble was formed in 2015 by David Peck and Yuri Zbitnov as a working project to explore chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments, here in a live performance with real time signal processing by Joel Simches, performed with saxophonist Michael Caglianone, bassist Mike Gruen, analog synthesist Eric Woods and percussionist Steve Niemitz.
Axioms
Meaning And Truth
(Evil Clown)
Cecil Taylor trio associates, the working duo of poet Jane SpokenWord and bassist Albey onBass, joins the collaborative Boston duo of David Peck on reeds & percussion and Gylnis Lomon on cello and aquasonic, the "Axioms" focusing on statements or propositions that bridge the distance between poetic discussion of truths and abstract musical structures.



The Squid's Ear Magazine

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