"Hot Town" CD Release May 22

6th March 2015

Hot Town is here in May and we've lined up an incredible CD release show on Friday May 22nd at our favorite Brooklyn haunt, the gorgeous Jalopy Theater. Opening the show is our clarinetist Dennis Lichtman's wonderful western swing band The Brain Cloud. Don't miss this incredible show with special guests. Tickets available here.

Hot Town is Ghost Train Orchestra's third album, following on the wildly successful Hothouse Stomp (2011) and the critically-acclaimed Book of Rhapsodies (2013). Produced by Grammy award winner Danny Blume, Hot Town continues with Hothouse Stomp left off, with sophisticated new arrangements of music by four seminal bands from late 1920s Chicago and Harlem: Cecil Scott’s Bright Boys, Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Orchestra, Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra, and Tiny Parham and His Musicians. Award-winning artist Jonny Hannah provides the eye-popping artwork and hand-drawn lettering for the album and the incredible poster above.

The Brain Cloud is the brain-child of multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman and vocalist Tamar Korn. Regarding the diverse influences in their sound, which could loosely be described as western swing, says Lichtman, “Western swing is a quintessentially American music – a meeting point of all American musics that had come before it – jazz (from ragtime through swing), bluegrass, Appalachian old-time fiddling, Tin Pan Alley popular songs, early country, Mississippi Delta blues, western cowboy songs... By embracing elements of all those styles, the great western swing musicians of the late 1930’s and 1940’s formed something new and thrilling, and which happened to reach an absurd level of commercial success.”



27th February 2015

Over the past 12 months, tracks from Book of Rhapsodies were featured over several episodes of the hugely popular NPR radio show produced by WNYC. Radiolab is an innovative radio program dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of science and philosophy, among other things.

While the weird and wonderful music from Book of Rhapsodies perfectly fit the quirky, inquisitive nature of the programs, the music wasn't credited. In fact, almost none of the music used in Radiolab was credited. Because much of the music played is so interesting, many fans of the show (including us) would write to ask what it was they were hearing but usually got no response. After hearing our recordings on several episodes, we contacted the programmers at WNYC directly to request crediting the music played on the show.

Thanks to many of our fans who reached out to Radiolab in support of musicians, Jad Abumrad called us to say he would not only credit Ghost Train Orchestra but make an effort to credit all of the music played on the show. In fact, Jad credits original music on the latest show from last week. Here's hoping they continue that trend.

Here are links to just a few of the best episodes where music from Book of Rhapsodies is played:

9-Volt Nirvana (6/26/14)

Hello (8/22/14)

Translation (10/21/14)

Buttons Not Buttons (12/12/14)


Jalopy Theater Friday November 14th

5th November 2014

We'll be performing our only fall show on Friday November 14th at the lovely Jalopy Theater in Red Hook. The 11-piece orchestra will be running the rapids through some brand new and very tricky arrangements of beautiful and surreal chamber jazz from the late 1930s. Also on the bill is the wonderful Carte Blanche.

Here's a video of us performing Beethoven's 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement reimagined for jazz orchestra. Brian Carpenter (trumpet), Petr Cancura (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Dennis Lichtman (clarinet), Andy Laster (alto saxophone), Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Ron Caswell (tuba), Mazz Swift (violin), Tanya Kalmanovitch (viola), Avi Bortnick (slide guitar), Michael Bates (upright bass), Rob Garcia (drums).


Book of Rhapsodies on iTunes

6th June 2014

Book of Rhapsodies received a great review from iTunes..."Carpenter leads GTO through this strange and beautiful world where humor, wit, and idiosyncrasy were given credence. The music is tight but flexible, crackling with energy. All killer and no filler." You can purchase Book of Rhapsodies on iTunes here.

Book of Rhapsodies received all kinds of praise, landing at #3 on the Burning Ambulance Top Jazz Albums of 2013 and on the Best Large Ensemble Releases by the New York City Jazz Record. Phil Freeman of Burning Ambulance writes "Carpenter is on a mission to make 21st Century listeners aware of just how much awesome music was being made in the early decades of the 20th by rooting out obscurities and tweaking the arrangements until they pop like fireworks." Andrew Velez of the NYC Jazz Record writes "This is an amazing ensemble, playing music like no others these days. There hasn’t been big band music as exciting as this since forever...GTO is creating its own electrifying musical gold."

In November's Downbeat Editor's Picks, Davis Inman writes "Carpenter and his collaborators find plenty of new life in these old charts and 78s...down a rabbit hole to a bizarre, charming world of nearly forgotten music from the 1930s." Bill Marx adds Book of Rhapsodies on the annual holiday gift wrap-up on ArtsFuse, writing "an impish excursion into the nooks and crannies popular music in the 1930s...a delightful trip through a retro aural funhouse." Lucid Culture describes it as a "joyous, vaudevillian ride...with a couple additional, absolutely killer tracks from the Raymond Scott catalog." Irwin Chusid, who led the rediscovery of Raymond Scott, describes Carpenter's new arrangement of Scott's composition "Celebration on the Planet Mars" (the epic 9-minute closing track on the album) as "out of this world, in every sense of the phrase...spectacular."