Ghost Quartet

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Ghost Quartet
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<p>Ghost Quartet is an anachronistic delight. Sharp, tactile, and playful, this Northfield, Massachusetts quintet (yes, you read that right&mdash;there are actually five members, none of whom are ghosts) offers up a new self-titled live EP that feels like something out of a smoke-filled 1920s nightclub. In 1975. In New Orleans. On Mars. Cacophony, chaos, and experimentation sit at the center of the five tracks on this jazz-funk treasure, transforming <em>Ghost Quartet</em> from a jazz recording into a piece of living, breathing art. Josh Powers weaves nimble bass lines with surgical precision under some seriously smooth vocals by Hilary Graves, whose Ella Fitzgerald-esque agility lends the group a winsome vibe with mass appeal&mdash;the same vibe, some might say, that lead singer Jenny Lewis offers Rilo Kiley. On &ldquo;Catch the Funk,&rdquo; guitarist Zach Holmes pays homage to 70s funk bands like Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind and Fire by digging grooves so deep, he hits rock bottom. On &ldquo;Freeloader,&rdquo; Graves shows off the band&rsquo;s goofier side as she sarcastically taunts, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really like you much&rdquo; over tubist Kevin Smith, who haphazardly blares away. <em>Ghost Quartet </em>sparkles not only because it embraces the unexpected; what makes it so unique is that it is a rarely-seen celebration of the raw, the unpolished, and the unperfected. While other bands reach for shiny new trumpets and fancy guitar pedals, you get the sense from these five live recordings that Ghost Quartet would rather play rusted instruments they found in an antique store. There&rsquo;s something charming and wholesome about a band that sounds like it&rsquo;s having fun when it performs, and by the end of <em>Ghost Quartet</em>, there&rsquo;s no doubt that these guys (and girl) love every moment. With one foot in a speakeasy and the other in a garage, this quintet has struck a unique balance of old-timey nostalgia and youthful modernity. <em>--Stephie Coplan</em></p>