Hothouse Stomp:

The Music of 1920s Chicago and Harlem

  • 1 Ghost Train (Orchestra) ((B. Carpenter, B. Seabrook))
  • 2 Mojo Strut (T. Parham)
  • 3 Stop Kidding (J. Nesbitt)
  • 4 Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You? (D. Redman, A. Razaf)
  • 5 Voodoo (T. Parham)
  • 6 Blues Sure Have Got Me (D. Redman)
  • 7 Hot Bones And Rice (C. Johnson)
  • 8 Dixie Stomp (B. Tremain, F. Williams)
  • 9 Lucky 3-6-9 (T. Parham)
  • 10 The Boy In The Boat (C. Johnson)
  • 11 Slide, Mr. Jelly Slide (F. Williams)
  • 12 Hot Tempered Blues (C. Johnson)

News & Reviews

Hothouse Stomp Named Among NPR's Best Jazz Albums of 2011

14th December 2011

Hothouse Stomp, the debut album by the Ghost Train Orchestra, has made NPR Music's list of the ten Best Jazz Albums of 2011. "The Ghost Train Orchestra, an initiative of the trumpeter and composer Brian Carpenter, plays music scored by largely forgotten composers and arrangers of the late 1920s. It's fun music; there's a peppy, charged, vaudevillian feel, and you could dance to some of it, too. It's also weird and unfamiliar music; not quite big-band swing, not quite early New Orleans polyphony, it rewards the close listener with unexpected twists and turns. Carpenter largely plays it straight, at least as he discerned it from the original recordings, though some strings and a musical saw bolster his vision. Whatever he's done, it's a neat trick: It's old music which somehow sounds new.."

Read NPR's top ten list for 2011 here.


Boston Phoenix

16th November 2011

"This is music from the heart of the Jazz Age that still has a raucous immediacy. In fact, just about every track on the band's Hothouse Stomp (Accurate) has the hookiness of a pop hit... the solos take off in directions decidedly post-Swing — in fact, post-everything. What you get are tight ensembles and some gorgeous arrangements that glide from bold stomping themes to lyric, high-reed laments, and concise "outside" digressions. Caswell's tuba, beautifully recorded, leaps out the speakers." -- Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix

Read the full article here.



30th July 2011

"Brian Carpenter’s band of Brooklyn renegades reinvestigates the potency of music from the 1920s. Alto saxophonist Andy Laster adds a Downtown edge to the proceedings..” -- Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times.

Full review here.


Hothouse Stomp featured on NPR's All Things Considered

10th July 2011

The Ghost Train Orchestra's album Hothouse Stomp will be featured on NPR's All Things Considered on Sunday July 10. Patrick Jarenwattananon speaks with host Guy Raz on the subject of jazz tribute albums. You can read and hear the segment here.


Downbeat review (July 2011)

1st July 2011

"Carpenter leads a suberb band of New York-based vanguardists and while most of the solos ditch period authenticity and employ a vocabulary that contains ideas from the next 90 years of jazz history, his sharp arrangements retain the contrapuntal flash, sweet voicings, and fiery rhythms of the original era..." -- Peter Margasak, Downbeat

Full review here.


All Music Guide review

18th May 2011

"The music gathered and interpreted on this thoroughly winning disc all comes from a period before the emergence of the big-band jazz sound.Just about every track is full of those kinds of musical treats and surprises, and it all adds up to a relentlessly rollicking good time." -- Rick Anderson, All Music Guide

Full review here.


Hothouse Stomp Editor's Pick in April 2011 Downbeat

15th April 2011

"Brian Carpenter is a multi-faceted artist, musician, composer, arranger, film director, radio producer and more. In short, he's a guy who follows his muse. In this case, that muse is jazz of the 1920s and I'm mighty thankful he took this detour. Hothouse Stomp is a loving tip of the cap to some of the unsung greats of Harlem and Chicago's South Side...the only thing better than hearing this recording would be seeing the band live." -- Frank Alkyer, Downbeat


All About Jazz review

6th April 2011

"These pieces heat their surroundings with a radioactive warmth, infectious, and viral in the modern-media sense of the word." -- C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

Full review here.


Brian Carpenter on Fresh Air with Terry Gross

6th April 2011

On Thursday April 7 2011, Brian Carpenter was interviewed NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. You can read the transcript and listen to the interview here.


Hothouse Stomp reviewed in Boston Globe

14th March 2011

"A trip through 1920s Chicago and Harlem...Carpenter selected, transcribed, arranged, and conducted tunes made semi-famous by bands that have faded into semi-obscurity...one must stop and remind oneself: This crazy-beautiful living-history lesson sprang from Brian Carpenter's mind. Wow." -- Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

Full review here.


About This Album

Before the emergence of the big-bands of the 1930s, following the models of Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bennie Moten in Kansas City, a variety of visions for the larger jazz ensemble developed all over the US.  Featuring smaller horn sections and less standardized rhythm sections than the later big-bands, these units had colorful and often eccentric sounds. With Hothouse Stomp, their debut release, Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra. performs new arrangements of music by four such seminal bands from 1920s Chicago and Harlem: Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Orchestra, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Fess Williams’ Royal Flush Orchestra, and Tiny Parham and His Musicians.

Full of loving attention to period detail combined with utterly contemporary energy and attitude, not to mention state-of-the-art production, Hothouse Stomp delivers the rich experience of transporting the listener to the past and using that past to transform the future.  The album was produced by Grammy award winner Danny Blume (The Klezmatics, Sex Mob). Artist Molly Crabapple, best known for founding Dr. Sketchy’s in NYC, created the lovingly detailed illustrations of the bandleaders in a CD booklet which evokes yet updates the graphic style of the 1920s.

The Ghost Train Orchestra was formed in 2006 after Carpenter was selected as the musical director for Voltaic Vaudeville, an event marking the 90th anniversary of the historic Regent Theater in Arlington, MA. Since then the band has performed regularly in New York City, home of all its members except the leader, a Boston resident. Hothouse Stomp was recorded at Avatar Studios in Manhattan after a string of monthly shows at Brooklyn’s intimate club Barbes. Carpenter arranged the music with added strings, voice, and musical saw, all inspired by the haunting beauty of the original compositions.




Brian Carpenter, trumpet, harmonica (1), vocals (5)
Dennis Lichtman, clarinet (1-12)
Andy Laster, alto saxophone (1-12)
Matt Bauder, tenor saxophone (3-9, 12), alto saxophone (11), clarinet (1, 2, 10)
Curtis Hasselbring, trombone (1-12)
Mazz Swift, vioiln (1-12), vocals (4, 6)
Jordan Voelker, viola (1-12), saw (5, 6, 10)
Brandon Seabrook, banjo (1-12)
Ron Caswell, tuba (1-12)
Rob Garcia, drums (1-12)

Production Credits

Produced by Brian Carpenter and Danny Blume
Recorded November 2009 at Avatar Studios, Manhattan
Recorded and mixed by Danny Blume
Assistant Engineer: Fernando Castagna
Mastering Engineer: Allan Tucker
Association Producer: Russ Gershon


Arrangements and transcriptions
by Brian Carpenter
Design by Heung-Heung "Chippy" Chin"
Illustrations by Molly Crabapple