Ghost Train Orchestra

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Ghost Train Orchestra
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
Avant-garde jazz
Years active2006–present
MembersBrian Carpenter
Matt Bauder
Ron Caswell
Rob Garcia
Curtis Hasselbring
Andy Laster
Dennis Lichtman
Mazz Swift
Emily Bookwalter
Avi Bortnick
Brandon Seabrook
Michael Bates

Ghost Train Orchestra is a Brooklyn-based jazz and instrumental band led by Brian Carpenter. The band formed in 2006 when an historic theater in Boston commissioned Carpenter as musical director for its 90th year celebration. For the commission, Carpenter transcribed and arranged a set of overlooked music from late 1920s Chicago and Harlem and formed a side project from his regular band Beat Circus to perform it. The following year the group started performing under the name Ghost Train Orchestra. The band first recorded in 2009 at Avatar Studios in Manhattan and released Hothouse Stomp in 2011 on Accurate Records.[1][2][3]

The band's repertoire features Carpenter's rearrangements and often avant-garde treatments of obscure music from the 1920s and 1930s. Much of the source material is culled from found 78s and rediscoveries by music historians and collectors such as Mitchell Kaba and Irwin Chusid.[4][5]


  • Brian Carpenter – trumpet, harmonica, arrangements
  • Curtis Hasselbring – trombone
  • Ron Caswell – tuba
  • Andy Laster – alto saxophone
  • Matt Bauder – tenor saxophone
  • Dennis Lichtman – clarinet
  • Mazz Swift – violin, vocals
  • Emily Bookwalter – viola
  • Avi Bortnick – guitar
  • Brandon Seabrook – guitar, banjo
  • Michael Bates – double bass
  • Rob Garcia – drums


  • Hothouse Stomp (2011) - Music from late 1920s Chicago and Harlem
  • Book of Rhapsodies (2013) - Carpenter's reimagining of chamber jazz from the late 1930s
  • Hot Town (2015) - More music from late 1920s Chicago and Harlem, with guest Colin Stetson[6]
  • Book of Rhapsodies, Vol. II (2017) - More rearrangements of chamber jazz from the late 1930s for orchestra and choir[7]


  1. ^ Lynch, Dave (2015-04-25). "Allmusic Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  2. ^ "Brian Carpenter: Eclectic Jazz, Rooted in Americana : NPR". NPR Music. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  3. ^ "Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra - Chart History". 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  4. ^ Garelick, Jon (2014-03-27). "Ghost Train Orchestra delivers an unclassifiable mix". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  5. ^ Gilbert, Andrew (2011-09-11). "Ghost Train picks up speed". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  6. ^ Elman, Steve (2012-12-27). "Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra". ArtsFuse. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jerome (2017-10-09). "Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra: Book of Rhapsodies, Vol. II". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2017-10-10.