"Book of Rhapsodies" CD Release Show Oct 26 with The Raymond Scott Orchestrette

29th August 2013

Book of Rhapsodies is here and we've lined up an incredible CD release show on Saturday October 26th at Subculture in NYC. Guitarist Avi Bortnick (John Scofield) and bassist Michael Bates join the core orchestra for a set of Brian Carpenter's rollercoaster reimaginings of strange and beautiful chamber jazz from 1935-1942. Don't miss this incredible show with special guests. Tickets available here. More information on our EVENTS page.

Book of Rhapsodies is Ghost Train Orchestra’s second album, following their highly acclaimed debut Hothouse Stomp (2011). In this adventurous installment, Ghost Train Orchestra moves ten years ahead from their first album to perform Brian Carpenter’s modernistic reimaginings of four unusual ensembles from the late 1930s: The Alec Wilder Octet, The John Kirby Sextet, The Raymond Scott Quintette, and Reginald Foresythe and His New Music. Produced by Grammy award winner Danny Blume and featuring Carpenter’s surreal arrangements for 12-member orchestra plus choir, Book of Rhapsodies delivers the rich experience of transporting the listener to the past and using that past to transform the future. You can hear a track from the new album on our MUSIC page.

The RAYMOND SCOTT ORCHESTRETTE opens the show, performing radical reinventions of the legendary composer's animated tunes. Besides such favorites as "Powerhouse," "The Penguin," and "Twilight in Turkey," the Orchestrette features lesser-known works such as "Coming Down to Earth," "Naked City," and "A Street Corner in Paris." The Orchestrette also performs acoustic renditions of Scott's later electronic works, such as Soothing Sounds for Baby's "Little Miss Echo" — rarely heard artifacts the composer himself never performed outside the studio. The impishness and splashy colors of the originals remain, but these are all-new takes on an old master.They recently collaborated with Dance Heginbotham on their piece Manhattan Research. The Orchestrette is Wayne Barker (piano); Brian Dewan (electric zither, koto); Mike Hashim (sax); Will Holshouser (accordion); George Rush (bass); Rob Thomas (violin); Clem Waldmann (drums).

Rediscovering a Piece Unplayed... Since 1929

17th June 2013

This Friday we'll be debuting a few new pieces, including an arrangement of a recently discovered lost recording from Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten, originally recorded in May of 1929. In 2011, a 10" acetate disc was found in someone's basement with some curious etchings on it, including the victor code BVE-53600. This was either the master or a test pressing. According to Victor ledgers, there are two takes of this piece called "Mo'Lasses". The first take is the one found recently, which was marked "Master/destroy". There are many unanswered questions. We don't know why it was marked destroy, unless the band felt the 1st take wasn't a good performance. (Fortunately for us, it was never actually destroyed, because the performance is incredible.) There is a 2nd take floating around out there somewhere which is marked "Hold/destroy". Neither take was ever issued publicly.

Charlie Johnson led one of the great bands of the late 1920s at Small's Paradise Club located in Harlem on 135th. At that time Small's was a rival of the famous Cotton Club and it is said to have had waitresses who brought trays of bootleg liquor to your table while dancing the Charleston. It's an incredible piece of music and has probably never been performed since 1929 at Small's Paradise. We're excited to bring this piece (and many others) to life again for you all Friday night.


The Boy in the Boat

23rd March 2013

Here's a performance of ours from last year at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We played our arrangement of the 1929 Charlie Johnson composition "The Boy in the Boat". The video was shot by our friends John Tomma and Meghan Frederico in Boston. Solos by Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Brian Carpenter (trumpet), Dennis Lichtman (clarinet), and Mazz Swift (violin).


A Standout Set at Winter JazzFest

3rd February 2013

Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR wrote about the 2013 NYC Winter JazzFest, naming Ghost Train Orchestra a standout set. "Live, the nine-piece band was a reminder of how wild and carnivalesque that old-time music really is..." Read more here.