- Get on board now! Ghost Train Orchestra: Book of Rhapsodies t.co/IYGPofBU via @kickstarter
- Beat Circus fans, follow @bwcarpenter for latest confessions
- Love this photo by Mark Shelby Perry from Sunday's Beat Circus show at Highline Ballroom, our first show in over a year t.co/uSHV94ct
- Tonight! I'll be hosting my radio program "The Sound of Horror" on WZBC 7-11PM EST t.co/x5jNXWFw
- Beat Circus returns to NYC on Sunday October 30 at Highline Ballroom, don't miss it
The Beat Circus’s Ringleaders Revolt, is a great album. Imagine if you will an amalgam of circus music, funeral dirges, music for burlesque, tangos, and marches, with a serious edge. This is more than retro; it's much cooler than that. This is music from a fiction of the past, a crazy burlesque circus that would make Salvador Dali feel at home. Using accordions, banjos, samplers and turntables. It's music that would be as comfortable around the Squirrel Nut Zippers as it would be around Tom Waits.
The Beat Circus is chock full of great musicians. Really great musicians. Guys like drummer Jerome Deupree who was also the original drummer for Morphine, and the Either/Orchestra; Brandon Seabrook plays banjo/sampler and is also the guitarist of the critically acclaimed post-klezmer band Naftule’s Dream (also on Innova); Jim Hobbs rocks the alto saxophone and leads the Fully Celebrated Orchestra (hey they’re on Innova too).
Of course it's all ring-mastered by Boston stalwart, documentary filmmaker and slide trumpet player Brian Carpenter. Instrumentalist Ron Caswell played with the Flying Karamazov Brothers. And last, but by no means least, accordion daredevil Alec K. Redfearn who is also led the infamous Amoebic Ensemble for ten years. Oh yeah did I mention they're from Boston?
Like I said this is a great band, and the album? Well it's great too. Seriously. If you buy one circus- burlesque-tango-klezmer-improv record this year make it this one.
THE BOSTON PHOENIX
Jon Garelick's top 10 jazz records of '04 2. Slide-trumpeter Brian Carpenter and his three-ring-theater-jazz troupe the Beat Circus emerged as a formidable virtuoso ensemble with their first CD, The Ringleader’s Revolt (Innova). Working with Jim Hobbs (saxophone), Brandon Seabrook (banjo), Ron Caswell (tuba), Alec K. Redfearn (accordion), and Matt McLaren (drums), Carpenter created a band with a decidedly Fellini-esque bent who allude to Nino Rota, Kurt Weill, and the American circus music of Karl King. They even deconstruct Rodgers & Hammerstein’s "The Lonely Goatherd." A show at the Middle East with One Ring Zero, Rev. Glasseye and His Wooden Leg, Curtis Eller, the Sob Sisters, and comedian DJ Hazard turned out a true left-of-Dresden-Dolls menagerie.
By Jon Garelick
The Beat Circus’s Ringleaders Revolt, is a great album. Imagine if you will an amalgam of circus music, funeral dirges, music for burlesque, tangos, and marches, with a serious edge. This is more than retro; it's much cooler than that...Seriously. If you buy one circus- burlesque-tango-klezmer-improv record this year make it this one.
By Editorial Review
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
If one were to cast Howard Stern’s Wack Pack as the band members of the traveling carnival of the outstanding HBO show Carnivàle, the music on Ringleader’s Revolt could be envisaged with some ease as a soundtrack. Hell, even the cover art offers an inkling!
The Beat Circus operates on a musical boundary hardly ever performed live or even heard on record. Their performances on this release, however, have a jumping dramatic flair with a clear—almost visual—goal that corresponds with the individual titles, as well as the overarching subject matter, which stands for salient moments during a circus show. As such, longer compositions are intersped with shorter ones. Both, however, have an important effect in a work that must be heard in its entirety. Perhaps one way of recounting this oddly entertaining music would be as dissonant avant-jazz circus music with a tellingly aged approach nonetheless—as readily illustrated by the alto sax solo in “Mandalay Song,” the banjo playing throughout the record, and the lunatic wistful discordant melodicism of “Big Top Suite Part 2: Clowns.”
Ringleader’s Revolt, one of my preferred releases of 2004, is a premiere example of musical wittiness and unpredictability. After all, where else are you going to hear the metaphorical use of phrases such as “…aphids on a martini shaker…” or “…Like an army of living pogo sticks, they jack hammered their way to a new life…” but in a performance of “Escape From the Big House”?
By Javier Antonio Quiñones Ortiz
...an entire album of brilliant circus music, demonstrating the power, the flexibility, the sheer awesomeness of good circus music, is an act of minor genius. When all's said and done, you're just going to want more.
By Mike Meginnis