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Bebop Spoken There

Dayna Stephens: "I always tell them [students] there will never be anyone who will play it [EWI] as technically proficient as this cat [Michael Brecker] did." - (JazzTimes June 2019).

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Today Tuesday June 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, 59 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Trio Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

CD Review: Present Day The Original Unit

Stefan Walcott  (piano & keyboards), Neil Newton (double bass & electric bass) & David Carnegie (drums) 
(Review by Russell).
A jazz trio from Barbados. I can’t claim familiarity with the jazz scene on the island of Barbados but I do know the work of drummer David Carnegie. A few years ago on City Road in Newcastle, Dave Weisser’s Take it to the Bridge session was in full swing at the now demolished Egypt Cottage public house when in walked David Carnegie. He sat in. After a couple of bars I looked across the room to Weisser…a smile, a nod. Another great musician had announced his arrival on Tyneside (I guess this sort of occasion makes it all worth while for Weisser). Gig goers came to know David as a gentle, humble man who made a considerable impact on the music scene during his time in England
Circumstances decreed that he return to his homeland of Barbados

DC has been busy. One project has been the recording of a new CD. 
Present Day is a ten track recording by the Original Unit (described in the liner notes as a ‘Barbadian jazz trio’). All three musicians have contributed tunes to the CD; two from pianist Stefan Walcott, one from bassist Neil Newton and four from Carnegie. The mid-tempo opener – Sunshine Roxy – comes from the pen of Walcott and is described as a ‘calypso jazz work’ with excellent piano from the composer, a warm tone from Neil Newton on double bass and Carnegie typically contributes subtle light and shade. Present Day (Carnegie) was inspired by the composer meeting and hearing Gwilym Simcock in the UK (David – the brilliant Simcock performs at the Sage in October!). Post Modern Revisionist Soul (Carnegie acknowledges the somewhat pretentious title!) is, to quote the composer a ‘(much loved) neo-soul jam’. 
Repeated listenings have made this a much loved track for this reviewer. Taken at walking pace, Walcott develops the melody, electric bass and drums get into the laid-back groove bringing to mind the best of the Jazz Crusaders. Voice in My Head (comp.E.Yearwood), one of two tunes not written by the trio, is most lyrical, as are other tracks, suggesting words could well be written for some pieces. The other non-original piece is Monk’s Well You Needn’t (most recently heard live by this reviewer at Weisser’s night at the Chillingham with drummer Paul Wight swinging it mightily) featuring superb playing from all three musicians – effortless swing from Walcott, spot-on double bass playing from Newton and Carnegie’s work recalls his many great performances in the north east of England. Is there a reference to Tito Puente in there? A hint of Oye Como Va perhaps. Walcott’s Kensington New Road is intended to sonically portray the Muslim Asian community in Bridgetown. In the future the composer hopes to incorporate the tune into a Bridgetown Suite to celebrate the ancient city. The pianist’s playing is certainly most impassioned on this track. Newton’s Sounds Like a Love Song to Me sounds like a classic jazz ballad according to the composer. It is exactly that. Carnegie’s Post Modern Revisionist Soul (Reimagined) features dazzling piano, a great bass line and crisp percussion throughout. Bassist Newton’s Untied closes the set with Walcott’s piano drawing on twentieth century classical music; tentative, explorative sketches underpinned by the distant pulse of Newton’s electric bass.
 Present Day was recorded at Canefield Studio, Barbados on February 23, 2012. The Original Unit on tour in the UK sounds good to me. Let’s hope it happens. 
Check out www.originalunit.com (ready soon).
Russell                           

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