Audio Selection

Grand Union has been recording its work for over 25 years. This selection of tracks displays the amazing musical range and distinctive sound of the Grand Union Orchestra. Most have been drawn from our published CDs, themselves largely compiled (with permission) from our BBC Radio 3 live broadcasts.

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For a selection of video clips, go to our Video page.

Grand Union Orchestra shows are built around a range of songs by Tony Haynes in different languages, and glorious voices performing them...

1. High energy reggae alternating with samba with guttural baritone sax solo

2. Soulful love-song in Portuguese, reminiscent of fado

3. Setting of the great Biblical lament of an exiled people with an impassioned trombone solo

4. Up-tempo song in Bengali with brilliant flute and tabla

5. Haunting evocation of travel along the ancient Great Silk Road

...sometimes telling stories that are chillingly contemporary...

6. Powerful, highly dramatic song, featuring Bengali singers and an incandescent baritone sax solo

7. Satirical view of global corporate culture with rich orchestration and blistering jazz solos

8. Energeticnumber with lyrical interludes, describing life on the relentless motor-car production line

...or combined to create spine-tingling vocal ensembles...

9. Fragmented voices floating over panpipes, vibraphone, steel pan and bells

10. Nostalgic lament of exile for three voices, giving way to defiant alto sax and big brass

11. Beautiful setting of a poem by the Portuguese writer Manual Alegre, duet with flugelhorn solo

12. A trio of unusual women’s voices blended with exquisite instrumental backings

...with virtuosic brass, saxes and percussion...

13. Call and response brass, saxes and drums based on a Yoruba chant

14. Big band take on the popular dhol rhythm powered by drums and bass guitar

15. High octane electric guitar and spine-tingling vocals over Indian rag-based harmony.

...featuring great jazz soloists in unusual musical structures...

16. Brass ensemble based on West African 12/8 rhythm with two contrasting trumpet soloists

17. Two fiery jazz soloists, trumpet and alto, in dramatic conflict with powerful big band backing riffs

18. Four great jazz soloists go head to head, spurred on by powerful big band riffs

...and a radical approach to big band writing...

19. Based on the Indian classic Rag Marva and 12-beat time-cycle Ektal

20. Implacable drums and fiery trombone driving the iconic song of the French Revolution

...showcasing less familiar instruments from around the world...

21. Gu zheng (Chinese harp) in a richly harmonised Chinese folk-song

22. Dramatic version of a folk song, featuring Chinese instruments, rhythm section and jazz solos

23. Sitar and soprano saxophone freely intertwined in 7-beat Indo-jazz workout

24. Kora, djembe and voice lead in a typical West African Mandinga tune, with punchy brass riffs

25. A gentler take on the same tune with West African guitar, kora and drum patterns for brass and saxes

26. Turkish baglama (saz), Anatolian vocal and plangent flugelhorn solo

The Grand Union Orchestra's music is written and arranged by Tony Haynes, with lyrics written by Valerie Bloom (1), Manuel Alegre (2,11), Masud Ahamed (4,6,15), David Bradford (5,8), Colin Sell (7), Sara Clifford (6,12,15) and from traditional sources (3,10,19,21).

Many of the tracks above are described and analysed, with notated examples and full scores, by Tony Haynes on his monthly composition blog

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