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.


NYC Winter JazzFest

6th January 2013

We'll be performing at this year's NYC Winter JazzFest on Saturday January 12th at The Bitter End in Manhattan. Don't miss this show. It's a crazy night with our friends from Hazmat Modine (playing after us) and Colin Stetson (performing before us). We'll be playing some original music plus new arrangements of stomps and dirges from the late 1920s Chicago South Side and Harlem. Downtown and dirty! We play one set at 10:00pm so get there early. Ticket links and more information on our EVENTS page.