GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA:
Brian Carpenter – conductor, trumpet, Andy Laster – alto saxophone, Dennis Lichtman – clarinet, Matt Bauder – tenor saxophone – bass clarinet, Max Moston – violin, Dina Maccabee – viola, Karen Waltuch – viola, Alex Waterman – cello, Sara Schoenbeck – bassoon, Curtis Hasselbring – trombone, Ron Caswell – tuba, Brandon Seabrook – guitar, Chris Lightcap – bass, Rob Garcia – drums
Ghost Train Orchestra, founded in 2006 by composer/arranger Brian Carpenter, has been reimagining the work of adventurous and often forgotten composers since their debut album Hothouse Stomp achieved widespread critical acclaim and reached the top 10 of the Billboard jazz charts in 2011. Since then, they have released four albums and have performed all across the country at the Chicago Jazz Festival, NY Winter Jazzfest, Mass MoCA, MoMA, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
They are currently working on their fifth record, a reimagining of the strange and beautiful world of Louis Hardin aka Moondog, the blind composer who lived on the streets in NYC through the 50s and 60s and went on to compose symphonies, madrigals, songs, and canons. Their new album is a collaboration with Kronos Quartet and several special guests including Jarvis Cocker, Joan Wasser, Emily Haines, and Theo Bleckmann.
“An amazing ensemble…there hasn’t been big band music as exciting as this since forever…GTO is creating its own electrifying musical gold” — Andrew Velez, New York City Jazz Record
“What makes all of this work is Carpenter’s total dedication to the arrangements, his love of these bygone composers and a sense of pure, joyous fun…the only thing better than listening to this music is hearing it live.” — Frank Alkyer, Downbeat
“A superb band of New York-based vanguardists…while most of the solos ditch period authenticity and employ a vocabulary that contain ideas from the next 90 years of jazz history, Carpenter’s shar arrangements retain the contrapuntal flash, sweet voicings, and fiery rhythms of the original era.” — Peter Margasak, Downbeat
A thrilling live performer, Joan Wasser began her career playing violin with the Dambuilders and Antony & the Johnsons before releasing solo records under the name Joan as Police Woman. She has released eight critically-acclaimed studio albums, EPs and a number of singles and has worked with Lou Reed, Beck, Toshi Reagon, David Sylvian, Sparklehorse, and Laurie Anderson.
Karen Mantler is an American composer and songwriter. The daughter of Carla Bley and Michael Mantler, Karen moved back to New York City in 1987 after studying in Boston. Shen then formed her own ensemble to record her first two albums for the XtraWATT record label (distributed by ECM Records), My Cat Arnold (1989) and Get The Flu (1990). The band toured Europe several times and also appeared at venues in New York, on Dave Sanborn’s NBC Night Music television show, and at the Montreal International Jazz Festival (1991). She recorded two more albums of her music, Farewell (XtraWATT, 1996) and Pet Project (Virgin Classics, 2000). In 2003 she collaborated with Robert Wyatt on his album Cuckooland, playing keyboards, singing and contributing three compositions. As well as creating the WATTxtraWATT web site, she has been the designer of every WATT and XtraWATT CD cover and booklet since 2003. At the same time she has been working with her trio featuring bassist Kato Hideki and multi-instrumentalist Doug Wieselman. Her fifth recording as a leader, entitled Business Is Bad, was released in June 2014 (XtraWATT/14).
Grammy-nominated jazz singer and new music composer Theo Bleckmann’s diverse recorded work includes albums of Las Vegas standards, Weimar art songs, and popular “bar songs” (all with pianist Fumio Yasuda); a recording of newly-arranged songs by Charles Ives (with jazz/rock collective Kneebody); and his acclaimed “Hello Earth – the Music of Kate Bush.” Bleckmann has most recently appeared as a special guest on recordings by Ambrose Akinmusire for Blue Note Records and Julia Hülsmann’s trio for ECM Records. Bleckmann has collaborated with musicians, artists, actors and composers, including Ambrose Akinmusire, Laurie Anderson, Uri Caine, Philip Glass, Ann Hamilton, John Hollenbeck, Sheila Jordan, Phil Kline, David Lang, Kirk Nurock, Frances MacDormand, Ben Monder, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and, most prominently, Meredith Monk, with whom Bleckmann worked as a core ensemble member for over fifteen years. He has been interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and appeared on the David Letterman show with Laurie Anderson.