PREVIEW: Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon (Grand Union Orch at the Jazz Cafe Nov 8th)

Shanti Paul Jayasinha and Jyotsna Srikanth

Tony Haynes writes about "Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon" featuring musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra at the Jazz Cafe:

Previously played to packed houses in the more intimate setting of the Vortex, the Grand Union Orchestra is delighted to be bringing Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon to the larger stage of the Jazz Café under the auspices of the eclectic and fascinating London International Arts Festival.

One of GUO’s most colourful and inventive projects, this show brings together internationally-known musicians from China and South Asia with great jazz soloists. Gu zheng (Chinese harp) virtuoso Zhu Xiao Meng, tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan and the extraordinary Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth are joined by two of the UK’s most celebrated improvisers Shanti Paul Jayasinha (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Louise Elliott (tenor saxophone/flute), with multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hunt, Andres Lafone on bass guitar and Paul Clarvis drums.

In Grand Union shows over the years, I have at different times blended ancient Chinese classical show-pieces and folk-songs with the ragas and time-cycles of India and Bangladesh, together with African, Caribbean and Latin rhythms, adding unexpected harmonic twists and allowing for plenty of improvisation.

Bengal Tiger, Shanghai Dragon is the latest, and most concentrated, manifestation of this obsession, occasionally unpredicable, but – in the hands of these masterly musicians – always brilliant!

LINKS: Grand Union Orchestra

 Tickets (8th November)

 LIAF at the Jazz Café

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