Photo by Douglas Lowinger

Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


LEAP OF FAITH/THOMAS HEBERER - Solutions Concepts (Evil Clown 9076; USA) Featuring Leap of Faith members: PEK on tenor sax, piccolo oboe, contra-alto clarinet, Glynis Lomin on cello, aquasonic & voice, Steve Norton on soprano sax, alto clarinet & alto sax and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & metal plus special guest Thomas Heberer on cornet. These two plus sets were recorded right here at Downtown Music Gallery in Chinatown, NYC, a couple of Sundays ago on August 16th, 2015. Leap of Faith are a Boston-area based improv ensemble that have been around for a few decades with two constant members PEK (Dave Peck on dozens of reeds & metal percussion) and Glynis Lomon (on cello, aqua sonic & voice) plus assorted musicians like Steve Norton (other reeds) and Yuri Zbitnov (drums & percussion). Although Leap of Faith took a hiatus in the nineties when Mr. Peck was tied up with his real job, they have recorded and released all or most of the sets through the years. DMG lists 23 CD-Rs by Leap of faith, although there appears to be more than double of that amount. A couple of weeks ago, Leap of Faith did a mini-tour of NYC, playing at New Revolution Arts in Brooklyn on Saturday (8/15/15) and here at DMG on Sunday. After reviewing more than a dozen discs from this unit for the DMG newsletter & database, the word is out: a handful of the New Music die-hards showed up for one or both sets.  Each of the four sets they played over two nights were spirited, weird and immensely different. Although both nights had a similar format (LoF/soloist/LoF with soloist added), each night evolved in a different way.

"Solution Concepts" captures most of the entire evening at DMG and is 79 minutes long. On the first set at DMG, which is called "Subgame", the quartet are more restrained than they were on Saturday night things started out explosively. Being able to watch who did what was a good thing since there were some visual things going on, like Ms. Lomon standing while she played the cello. It is rare for anyone (except perhaps Anthony Braxton) to play reeds like piccolo oboe, contra-alto clarinet or alto clarinet, so it was great to watch/hear someone solo on those instruments.   You can hear that these folks have been playing together for a long while since they have a focused group sound. Everyone in the quartet was integral to the sound and approach of what makes Leap of Faith unique. Each member got their chance to stretch out and shine. Drummer Yuri Zbitnov was especially amazing at a few points spinning several rhythmic lines or weaving odd textures in the right places. The central section of this disc features four solo from ace trumpeter Thomas Heberer, who was in fine form that night, somewhat restrained yet still quite enchanting. The picture of Mr.  Heberer on the back cover crouching with his trumpet held high captures him in a cosmic pose. One of the things I love about this band is/are the strange vocals which always add a bizarre alien presence that makes them quite unique.

Photos by Shirley Grohs

Audio CD                                                             Evil Clown 9076

​​​Thomas Herberer / Leap of Faith  -  Solution Concepts

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Leap of Faith

      1) Subgame - 39:24

Thomas Heberer Solo

     2) The Great Hill - 4:41 (Heberer)
     3) Teodoro - 5:08 (Heberer)
     4) Mongezi - 3:32 (Heberer)
     5) Loose Ends - 4:40 (Heberer)

Leap of Faith with special guest Thomas Heberer

     6) Information Sets - 21:53

Downtown Music Gallery, Manhattan - 16 August 2015

Thomas Heberer - cornet (2-6)
PEK - tenor sax, piccolo oboe, clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, voice (1,6)
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice (1,6)
Steve Norton - sopranino sax, alto clarinet, alto saxophone (1,6)
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, metal, voice (1,6)

​​​Thomas Herberer / Leap of Faith  -

            Solution Concepts

Downtown Music Gallery

16 August 2015

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

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