PEK - sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet, piccolo clarinet & contraalto
clarinet, tarota, guanzi, contrabassoon, sheng, metal, wood, crank & wind sirens,
Dan O’Brien - alto & tenor saxophones, piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet (2, 5)
Zack Bartolomei - soprano & alto saxophones, glockenspiel, crotales, balafon, wood,
metal (2, 5)
Bob Moores - trumpet, wood flute, slide whistle, glockenspiel, crotales, metal, wood (1,5)
Steve Provizer - trumpet, valve trombone, balafon, metal, wood (1,5)
Bohdahn Shevchenko - bassoon (3,5)
wood, balafon (2, 5)
Syd Smart - drums, electronic percusion, theremin (1,4,5)
Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units
Third Life Studios, Somerville MA - 25 November 2017
PEK Tweak of a Raffi Photo of Glynis Lomon
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.
Review from Bruce Lee Gallanter
LEAP OF FAITH ORCHESTRA & SUB UNITS With PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / YURI ZBITNOV / ERIC ZINMAN / SYD SMART / et al - Vertices (Evil Clown 9163; USA) Leap of Faith continues to expand (personnel wise) and explore (with each session), now having a half dozen discs from the Leap of Faith Orchestra. There are number of key figures involves besides the usual core of PEK, Lomon and Zbitnov, also these Boston area elders: Syd Smart (drums) and Eric Zinman (piano). The first disc includes four sub units, each with four different members. There are a few new names here as Mr. Peck continues to gather a variety of improvisers from the Boston area. The first quartet features Zinman on piano, Syd Smart on drums and two trumpets: Bob Moores and Steve Provizer. All four sub-sets sound great since each quartet just had one chance to play. Plus they sound as if they respect one another, the balance is just right and there is no stepping of toes.
The second disc is one long (51 minutes) work called, “Extreme Point of Curvature”. Keeping thirteen musicians, many multi-instrumentalists, focused is no easy feat. PEK has learned how to direct the orchestra performances by keeping a clock to time certain subsections to keep things balanced and flowing. At the beginning we just hear a few players: a reed, brass or two, percussion, cello, slowly whistles, more percussion, more brass, more reeds, the odd vocals, enter, one or two at a time. The piece evolves organically and the balanced, flow and recurring are all high quality. I doubt the Leap of Faith Orchestra will find their way down to NY although we are lucky to have had a smaller (quartet & quintet) version here at DMG twice. Those of you in the Boston area I would advise you to check them out if you can. Elsewhere, you can choose one of many discs to hear them do their thing. Try one, you will most likely be knocked out. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
"...At the beginning we just hear a few players: a reed, brass or two, percussion, cello, slowly whistles, more percussion, more brass, more reeds, the odd vocals, enter, one or two at a time. The piece evolves organically and the balanced, flow and recurring are all high quality. I doubt the Leap of Faith Orchestra will find their way down to NY although we are lucky to have had a smaller (quartet & quintet) version here at DMG twice. Those of you in the Boston area I would advise you to check them out if you can. Elsewhere, you can choose one of many discs to hear them do their thing. Try one, you will most likely be knocked out." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK Tweak of a Raffi Photo of Zach Bartolomei
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Audio Double CD Evil Clown 9163
Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub Units
Third Life Studios, Somerville MA
25 November 2017
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Sub Unit 1: Nodes 15:46
2) Sub Unit 2: Graphs 15:22
3) Sub Unit 3: Cusps 15:50
4) Sub Unit 4: Position 15:27
5) Orchestra: Extreme Point of Curvature 50:41
PEK Tweak of a Raffi Photo
Photos by Raffi and Duane
The fifth performance at Third Life Studios for this part of the overall Evil Clown project. A smaller orchestra, this time 13 players, perform a pure improvisation of 50 minutes duration. To open the show, we play 4 shorter (15 minute) trios/quartets by different Sub-Units...
We get two critical kinds of prep for the full orchestra performances of PEK scores: Concise improvisations by sometimes unique small cross sections of players from the roster and pure improvisations by the largest versions of Leap of Faith to perform without a score directing the development of the work. The only direction is for each player to lay out for about 1/3 of the total duration on the full length set...