Ghost Train Orchestra goes back to the future with an imaginative set from the 1930's!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
The follow up to Brian Carpenter's critically acclaimed Hot House Stomp finds the Ghost Train Orchestra taking the jazz gumbo approach to four rather eclectic ensembles from the late 1930's. Book of Rhapsodies is a delightful riff on the works of The Alec Wilder Octet, The John Kirby Sextet, The Raymond Scott Quintette, and Reginald Foresythe and His New Music. Take a twelve member orchestra plus choir and you find perhaps the most imaginative look back at the early days of improvisational music. Better still, the listener gets a chance to either discover or rediscover some of the early pioneers that have somewhat mysteriously dropped off historians radar as of late.
Third stream or chamber jazz has origins in Europe and is widely considered as the origin of the genre that walks the harmonic tightrope between jazz and classical however the four ensembles mentioned above were experimenting with unorthodox instrumentation and were in fact coming dangerously close to their more acclaimed European counterparts. Unlike similar large ensembles there is incredibly depth and lyrical intensity that sets both Book of Rhapsodies and Ghost Train Orchestra light years ahead of their contemporaries.
From the lush melodies of Alec Wilder to the more avaunt garde spin from Raymond Scott not much as changed in the world of improvisational music. There are artists that will continue to defy convention, they flip accepted form and functionality on a more imaginative plane with spectacular results only to be left in the shadows. Today all of these pioneers would be a critics worst nightmare and have record executive perched on the nearest ledge, that is always a good thing. Brian Carpenter is slightly ahead of his time as well but indeed a name to remember!
Tracks: Charlie's Prelude; Beethoven Riffs On; Volcanic; Dance Man Buys A Farm; At an Arabian House Party; It's Silk, Feel It!; Dawn On The Desert; The Happy Farmer; Revolt Of The Yes Men; The Children Met The Train; Her Old Man Was (At Times) Suspicious; Celebration On The Planet Mars.
Personnel: Brian Carpenter: Trumpet, Slide Trumpet, Voice; Andy Laster: Alto Saxophone, Flute; Dennis Lichtman: Clarinet; Peter Cancura: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet; Curtis Hasselbring: Trombone; Ron Caswell: Tuba; Mazz Swift: Violin; Tanya Kalmanovitch: Viola; Avi Bortnick: Guitar; Michael Bates: Double Bass; Rob Garcia: Drums.
Book Of Rhapsodies Choir
Yolanda Scott: Soprano
Katie Seiler: Mezzo Soprano
Mazz Swift: Alto
Tomas Cruz: Tenor
Brian Carpenter: Baritone
Joe Chappel: Bass