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Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes:
“… When an interesting combination of players does a very successful session, I look to schedule it as a recurring ensemble.  Sometimes, as in this case, that means a different band name for the project, and sometimes it means a recurring edition of Leap of Faith, or one of the other bands.  We’ll see if Albey and Jane end up in Boston more permanently, but for as long as they are available, we’ll try to schedule 3 or 4 Axioms sets per year and have Albey appear with the other Evil Clown projects.  …”


Axioms - Meaning & Truth

LIVESTREAMED to YouTube

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 14 May 2022

PEK Liner Notes


Albey onBass and Jane SpokenWord were associated with Cecil Taylor's final trio and big band for about 10 years. Following Cecil's passing they were in Boston for about a year in 2017-2018 and Albey performed a dozen or so times with Leap of Faith, Metal Chaos Ensemble and Turbulence. In November 2018, Albey and I had been discussing doing a duet, but we decided to include Jane’s poetry as a trio. This new Evil Clown Ensemble we called Axioms, which to me is an apt name for a band which features words - something that most Evil Clown sessions do not.

There are two definitions:
1) a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true
2) a statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based (mathematics)

These two meanings bridge the distance between poetic discussion of truths and abstract musical structures.

A few months later, about a year before the virus, Albey and Jane moved to New Orleans, so the original session from December 2018, Manifestations, had been our only recording to date.

Back in July 2021, soon after I reopened Evil Clown Headquarters for YouTube streaming performances / recordings (following the time when musicians could be fully vaccinated for the virus), Albey reached out saying that he and Jane would be in the Boston area for a few weeks, and we recorded Hypotheses a few days later. Nowadays, they are back and forth between Boston and New York, but they are here pretty often. I try and put together sessions around when Albey will be in town on Thursdays or Saturdays when Joel the house engineer is available to do the mix. This set, Meaning and Truth follows two more excellent performances from October 2021 (Discourse) and January 2022 (Illusion and Reality). We’ve settled on a quartet for this project: Albey and Jane with PEK and Glynis.

It’s a duet of duets: Albey and Jane have done this poetry project with many other notable improvisors for decades, and Glynis and I have had Leap of Faith since the early 90s. As always, when skilled and seasoned improvisors play together for a long period of time, deep psychic connections are established. When this duet of duets situation occurs, the units act together in multiple levels of deep connection. By now, Albey, Glynis and I have played together many times in Leap of Faith and other Evil Clown projects.

When an interesting combination of players does a very successful session, I look to schedule it as a recurring ensemble. Sometimes, as in this case, that means a different band name for the project, and sometimes it means a recurring edition of Leap of Faith, or one of the other bands. We’ll see if Albey and Jane end up in Boston more permanently, but for as long as they are available we’ll try to schedule 3 or 4 Axioms sets per year and have Albey appear with the other Evil Clown projects.
An early core Leap of Faith core unit was PEK and Glynis with bassist Craig Schildhauer. This version of Leap of Faith was around for 3 or 4 years in the mid-90s. While doing this performance I kept thinking back to this Leap of Faith configuration from nearly 30 years ago. Had that trio done a set with an excellent poet such as Jane, we would have a much earlier document of a two string players / one horn player ensemble with a guest poet.

IMHO this is the strongest Axioms set so far… the interplay between Glynis and Albey is getting telepathic… the instrumental support for Jane’s words is outstanding… I like this performance and I think you will too...

PEK – 15 May 2022

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.

On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... ​using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation."   - Squidco website staff

Evil Clown 

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 CD             Evil Clown 9307

Axioms - Meaning & Truth
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

1) Meaning & Truth - 1:12:40

   Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

   14 May 2022


Jane SpokenWord  - poetry, spoken word
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass flute, sheng, orchestral chimes, chimes, gongs, xylophone, balafon, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, spring & chime boxes, plate gong, Tibetan bowls, almglocken, Englephone, crotales, glockenspiel, log drums, crank siren, voice

Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Albey onBass - electric upright bass, brontosaurus bell, log drums, gong, voice