​On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

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 ​

Leap of Faith  1  2  3  

1993-2001; 2015 to present

1993-2001; 2015 to present

Leap of Faith  1  2  3  

Lily Pad, Cambridge MA - May 2015, Photos by Raffi

When performing at the Zeitgeist in Cambridge, they frequently adopted a program where Leap of Faith and another improvising ensemble would each play sets, and then both groups would play together.  This resulted in larger ensemble improvisations with guests Tatsuya Nakatani, Taylor Ho Bynum, James Coleman, B'hob Rainey, Eric Rosenthal, Eric Zinman, Curt Newton, Warren Jones, Richard Poole and others.  The dynamic of two regular improvising units playing together produced new and unpredictable results.

During the summer of 1997, Mark McGrain relocated to New Orleans and Leap of Faith morphed to have Craig Schildhauer as the principle third member.  In October, they performed at the David Gross’ Autumn Uprising festival with Sydney Smart which ultimately produced a 2 CD set on Tautology records of performances of most of the participants. This package saw relatively wide distribution.

Craig Schildhauer had a radio program called Mental Notes at WMFO, Tufts University, Medford MA.  This program had a very unusual format where Craig would use the entire radio station like an instrument, mixing together live performance and prerecorded elements.  Leap of Faith performed a number of times on this show, including once with bassoonist Leslie Ross and once with the string section from Linear Combinations and Transformations (PEK, Glynis, Rob Bethel, Forrest Larsen, and Craig).

In 1999, Craig Schildhauer relocated to Hawaii and the band once again reformed to include Glynis and PEK with James Coleman on theremin and Yuri Zbitnov on drums and percussion.  They continued to perform frequently around the Boston area. 

The final 00s performance of Leap of Faith occurred in late 2001, again at the lovely room Killian Hall at MIT.  The concert was billed as Leap of Faith vs the Fringe and followed the Zeitgeist paradigm of a set by George Garzone’s incredible trio the Fringe, followed by a set by Leap of Faith, followed by a set of both groups together.  The Leap of Faith set will be out soon on Evil Clown (as of this writing at the end of 2014).  The Fringe set was not recorded due to George’s contractual obligations.  The combined set was recorded, but could not be released at that time due to George’s contractual obligations.  This set may be available at some point if PEK can now work it out with George.

Prior to 2001, PEK had taken on a new technical career which made continuing the strenuous musical activity of the previous 10 years unpractical.  After the Fringe concert he decided to discontinue regular musical performance, preferring not to do it part time.  Recently, as of 2014, there has been some new interest in the music, so PEK has digitized the 15 or so albums released by Evil Clown during the 90s and the early 00s and made them available through Bandcamp.  In addition, he has gone back to his original master DAT tapes and created a large number of new Leap of Faith albums, as well as PEK project albums by Leaping Water Trio, the Pointy Toes Ensemble (performers of PEK’s large scale composition, Expansions, in 1994), Bottom Feeder (duets with PEK and Craig Schildhauer), Mental Notes Radio performances and some albums by bands of others that PEK plays on by Raqib Hassan, the Boston Improvisers’ Collective (a Matt Samolis fluid ensemble), and Skysaw (one of Yuri Zbitnov’s bands).  As of this writing, the new release project is probably about half complete, with the final total number of albums expected to somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 to 90.

In early 2015, Leap of Faith is reforming again and will be semi-active, targeting 6 performances per year or so.  The new band will be comprised of PEK, Glynis and Yuri along with Steve Norton (clarinets and saxophones), who performed with PEK on Expansions and also with the Boston Improvisers’ Collective.

PEK, 26 December 2014

Autumn Uprising Festival, Jamaica Plain MA

1997- unknown photographer

Party at Uncle Shoe's, Boston MA

1998 - unknown photographer