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 guests.
rotation of group visitors, with PEK and Lomon always at the center,
along with multimedia performances, marked the continued artistic
development of Leap of Faith until 2003. PEK left behind his day-to-day
music career while Lomon remained involved with other projects, most
notably Dixon's Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12, 2009) along with brass masters Stephen Haynes, Taylor Ho Bynum and Rob Mazurek and bassist Ken Filiano.
In early 2015 PEK and Loman reunited to perform with the original
members of Leap of Faith while lining up a new formation to include
saxophonist/clarinetist Steve Norton, and drummer Yuri Zbitnov.
Sharing the billing on Solution Concepts
is trumpeter Thomas Herberer who adds significant contributions on five
of the six tracks. The album was recorded live at the Downtown Music
Gallery in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan on August 16th, 2015.
Starting out and fits and starts like an extended warm-up, "Subgame"
doesn't take much of its almost forty minutes to be convincingly
harrowing. With barely the trace of a melody, the marathon number
nevertheless captures some satisfying but inexpressible spirit of wild
abandon. In very sharp contrast, Heberer joins the group on "The Great
Hill," a study in finely developed improvisation with his solo cornet
"Teodoro" takes yet another tack as the
experimental piece consists of noises drawn from the musicians pushing
their instruments beyond their normal range and augmenting with
distorted voices. The brief "Mongezi" and "Loose Ends" again feature
Heberer and are less structured than "The Great Hill." Bookending the
middle four tracks—all written by Heberer—is another extended
improvisation, "Information Sets," clocking in at over twenty minutes.
Ranging from a whisper to near-chaos, the piece is strangely musical
with Zbitnov's thundering beat supporting approximations of bagpipes and
Considering the relatively brief number of
years that Leap of Faith were actively recording, their output has been
prolific and varied. PEK and Lomon have worked in formations from duo to
large ensembles. Heberer's presence on Solution Concepts makes
it quite different from earlier Leap of Faith albums but true to the
experimental vision that PEK and Lomon first realized more than twenty
years ago. The music on Solution Concepts is probing, intelligent and—in some instances—poignant.
Track Listing: Subgame; The Great Hill; Teodoro; Mongezi; Loose Ends; Information Sets.
Personnel: Thomas Heberer: cornet; PEK: clarinets, tenor
saxophone, piccolo oboe, voice; Glynis Lomon: cello, aquasonic, voice;
Steve Norton: saxophones, alto clarinet; Yuri Zbitnov -drums, metal,