Home » Jazz Musicians » Leap of Faith Orchestra

Leap of Faith Orchestra

Texture and Transformation: PEK & His Grand Aesthetic Challenge

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.

Read more

Tags

8
Album Review

Leap of Faith Orchestra: The Photon Epoch

Read "The Photon Epoch" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Composer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and label founder, PEK is an audacious experimenter. Beyond that, there are no appropriate labels for the music associated with his numerous groups on his Evil Clown label. Listen to the Leap of Faith Orchestra on The Photon Epoch and you will find yourself at thirty-thousand feet, in a place with few identifiable landmarks, and then just trust that PEK will land the plane. Twice each year, the Evil Clown family of groups convenes as ...

12
Album Review

Leap of Faith Orchestra: Cosmological Horizons

Read "Cosmological Horizons" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


David M. Peck's (PEK) Leap of Faith collective is brought together in its largest formation of twenty-four musicians for a marathon performance of the leader's Cosmological Horizons composition. This second of two annual performances of an orchestra culled from the Evil Clown label's various groups (String Theory, Mekaniks, Metal Chaos Ensemble, etc.) was held in Killian Hall on the Boston campus of MIT. As he often does, PEK composes a single, extended piece for the duration of the ...

12
Album Review

Leap of Faith Orchestra: SuperClusters

Read "SuperClusters" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


On two occasions each year, composer and multi-instrumentalist PEK (David M. Peck), gathers together his Evil Clown collective for live recordings. Culled from Leap of Faith, String Theory, Mekaniks, Metal Chaos Ensemble and their respective off-shoots of each, the players form his massive, eighteen-member Leap of Faith Orchestra. For the SuperClusters session, the group assembled at Longy School of Music at Bard College with a specially written score that takes advantage of the individual sub-groups' previous experiences.As LOFO ...

22
Album Review

Leap of Faith Orchestra: Supernovae

Read "Supernovae" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


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 ...

36
Under the Radar

An Evil Clown and a Leap of Faith

Read "An Evil Clown and a Leap of Faith" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


"I don't have a half-speed for music, if I do it, I'm all in..."--PEK If the Evil Clown record label is prolific on a per capita basis, then its founder is exponentially more inexhaustible. David Peck (aka PEK) founded the label--at first, unbranded--and its roots date back a little more than twenty years ago to Cambridge, MA. The musicians under the label could best be described as a “collaborative collective" and in various formations turn out twenty-five ...

16
Album Review

Leap of Faith Orchestra: The Expanding Universe

Read "The Expanding Universe" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


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 ...

11
Album Review

Leap of Faith/Thomas Heberer: Solution Concepts

Read "Solution Concepts" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The twenty year history of Leap of Faith includes an eleven year hiatus that is noteworthy more for the cooperative's ability to seamlessly pick up the pieces than for an uber-extended break. Cellist Glynis Lomon--a one-time student of Bill Dixon--was working the Boston circuit with multi-reedist PEK in the 1990s. The two honed their far reaching technical skills taking them into the Leaping Water Trio, a precursor to Leap of Faith whose 1995 debut included trombonist Mark McGrain and occasional ...

Read more articles

Photos

Music

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.