The Ghost Train Orchestra was founded in 2006 by composer/arranger Brian Carpenter. That year Carpenter was hired as the musical director for Voltaic Vaudeville, an event marking the 90th anniversary of the historic Regent Theater in Arlington, MA. He selected five composers from a transitional time and place in America: the late 1920s Chicago and Harlem, when the jazz orchestra was being developed by bandleaders such as Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Tiny Parham, Fess Williams, and Charlie Johnson. Carpenter began transcribing the parts from old 78s and arranged the music for a 9-piece ensemble to back performers on stage. The reaction to the band's debut at the Regent Theater was tremendous, and since then the band has performed regularly in New York City, home of all its members except the leader, a Boston resident.
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This is music from the heart of the Jazz Age that still has a raucous immediacy. In fact, just about every track on the band's Hothouse Stomp (Accurate) has the hookiness of a pop hit. —Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix