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Artist Profiles

Grand Union Orchestra: Music and Movement

By Published: April 3, 2012
So much jazz seems to look only to the past for inspiration. There's nothing wrong with that per se, of course, but there is a danger with it of turning the music into a museum exhibit. It's an issue that continually concerns Tony Haynes and his confederates. Their work describes a number of possible evolutions for the music that will allow it to remain vital and relevant. Theirs is a very different approach from that of some key figures across the Atlantic, as Haynes makes clear,

"We have Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
coming to the UK on a regular basis, and Wynton represents a kind of strange institutionalization of jazz. So, for example, in his hands the works of Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton
1890 - 1941
might be lovingly recreated and there seem to be this idea that jazz has a repertoire. I simply think that's wrong. The essential thing about jazz is that it constantly reinvents itself—it has to. It moves on. It also seems to me to take a narrow view that defines jazz as, 'This is the only jazz tradition. It was born in New Orleans.' I'm saying, 'Hang on a minute! I love all that and I respect all that but here in London things are different.' What we've done is to create something that allows that difference to be celebrated."

Jazz is, after all, a migrant itself.

Selected Discography

Grand Union Orchestra, If Paradise (Redgold, 2011)
Grand Union Orchestra, Bhangra, Babylon & The Blues (Redgold, 2005)
Grand Union Band, Around The World In 80 Minutes (Redgold, 2002)
Grand Union Orchestra, Now Comes The Dragon's Hour (Redgold, 2002)
Grand Union Orchestra, The Rhythm Of The Tides (Redgold, 1997)

Photo Credit

All Photos: Courtesy of Grand Union Orchestra

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