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Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra: Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II

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Nel 2006 il compositore, arrangiatore e polistrumentista Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra ha fondato a Brooklyn la Gost Train Orchestra, con la quale si è adoperato per recuperare e dare nuova vita ad alcuni momenti non molto frequentati del jazz delle origini. Questo Book of Rhapsodies Vol. 2 (il vol. 1 è del 2013) è il quarto disco dell'ensemble: il lavoro si concentra sulla fine degli anni '30 del XX secolo, e propone brani del settetto di Hal Herzon, dell'ottetto di Alec Wilder, del sestetto di John Kirby, del quintetto di Raymond Scott e di Reginald Foresythe, alcuni dei quali presentati dalla voce narrante di Carpenter.

Il merito principale della sua operazione è di suscitare riflessioni sul significato (verrebbe da dire sull'opportunità e sull'efficacia) di simili riletture. I musicisti della Gost Train Orchestra hanno un retroterra multiverso: la violinista Mazz Swift, ad esempio, ha esperienza tanto nel pop (Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Common) quanto nell'avanguardia (William Parker, Butch Morris); Brian Carpenter è coinvolto in progetti sperimentali di derivazione free, come i suoi Beat Circus, e ha suonato al fianco di Marc Ribot e Roswell Rudd; il clarinettista Dennis Lichtman è specializzato nel jazz tradizionale. In questo lavoro, va però detto, si avverte la mancanza d'un tentativo di sintesi tra i diversi percorsi. Certo gli arrangiamenti di Carpenter non sono mai semplici riproposizioni degli originali. Lo sforzo di riscrittura sembra tuttavia oscillare tra due poli: da un lato l'adesione rigorosa al sound del jazz primigenio, come accade con i frequenti accenni alla caotica polifonia New Orleans; dall'altro l'inserzione d'elementi spuri, di rottura, come l'avvicendamento di tuba e contrabbasso a scandire i tempi di marcia, o—ancor più manifestamente—le chitarre distorte ("Deserted Ballroom"). L'orchestra pare ferma a un bivio, incerta tra la strada della filologia e quella dell'elaborazione d'un linguaggio distintivo, per mezzo del quale risemantizzare i brani affrontati.

Al netto di quest'interrogativo di fondo, è però indubbio che il secondo volume di Book of Rhapsodies sia un disco divertente e colto, nel quale spiccano in particolare le esecuzioni delle pagine wilderiane, su tutte la complessa "Kindergarten Flower Pageant," restituite con maestria e immedesimazione.

Track Listing: Confusion Among a Fleet of Taxicabs; Hare and the Hounds; A Hymn to Darkness Part 1: Deep Forest; Pedigree on a Pomander Walk; Walking Home in Spring; Deserted Ballroom; A Little Girl Grows Up; Fantasy Impromptu; Kindergarten Flower Pageant; A Hymn to Darkness Part 2: Lament for Congo; The House Detective Registers; Garden of Weed.

Personnel: Brian Carpenter: trumpet, voice, tape loops, toy piano, arrangements; Dennis Lichtman: clarinet; Ben Kono: alto saxophone, flute; Petr Cancura: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet; Mazz Swift: violin; Emily Bookwalter: viola; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Ron Caswell: tuba; Avi Bortnick: guitar; Michael Bates: double bass; Rob Garcia: drums; Gita Drummond: girl's voice on "A Little Girl Grows Up"; Evan Price: violin; Rob Reich: accordion on "Kindergarten Flower Pageant". Book of Rhapsodies Adult Choir: Aubrey Johnson: soprano; Katie Seiler: mezzo-soprano; Mazz Swift: alto; Tomas Cruz: tenor; Brian Carpenter: baritone, narration; Joe Chappel: bass.Book of Rhapsodies Children's Choir: Boston City Singers Cambridge Children's Chorus Directed by Wendy Silverberg - Lucy Alexander, Lucas Berman, Anisa Brown, Gita Drummond, Hannah Erickson, Nina Mazereeuw, Ava Posiko, Layla Posiko, Kiera Putrih, Annie Stone-Peterson.

Title: Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Accurate Records

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