(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Ghost Train Orchestra, which reimagines the wild jazz that came pouring out of speakeasies and cabarets of Chicago and New York City in the Prohibition years of the 1920s, forever changing the face of American music, entertains for dancing at the Dré Pavilion at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 2, at 8pm. The 11-piece ensemble brings a new spin on vintage jazz that modernizes a classic sound.
Drawing his influences from the musical greats of the 1920s, such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, bandleader and creator Brian Carpenter founded Ghost Train Orchestra in 2006 — the same year he was charged with producing an event to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the historic Regent Theater in Boston.
For that night, he chose the work of five composers from the late 1920s jazz era in Chicago and Harlem, and began to arrange the music for a nine-piece ensemble to perform on stage. The tremendous audience reaction to the band’s first appearance at the Regent encouraged Carpenter to keep going. The result is Ghost Train Orchestra, which now performs regularly in and around New York City.
In 2008, the band had the opportunity to record at Avatar Studios in New York City with producer Danny Blume, releasing its first album, “Hothouse Stomp,” in 2011. Since then, the now 11-piece ensemble has released two more albums — “The Book of Rhapsodies” in 2013 that highlights “chamber jazz” from the mid-to-late 1930s, and “Hot Town,” an excursion of more Roaring Twenties compositions released in 2015.
As Andrew Gilbert from the Boston Globe wrote, “Over the past five years the group has honed a singular repertoire of tunes shaped by the cultural ferment unleashed by Prohibition and the rise of urban African-American culture in the north.”
Ghost Train Orchestra takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Dré Pavilion (or up in Club B10 if it rains) on Saturday, July 2, at 8pm. Dinner is available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $12 in advance and for students, $18 day of, and $24 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays through June 24, 2016. Beginning June 25, the box office will be open 10am to 6pm every day, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA. All events are held rain or shine.