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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

North East Jazz Celebration Part 2 – The Original Unit. June 25

Stefan Walcott (piano), Neil Newton (double bass & electric bass) & David Carnegie (drums)
(Review by Russell - photo by Jerry Edis).
The evening’s celebrations continued with the eagerly awaited return of drummer David Carnegie. Having lived in the north east for a number of years studying and working, Carnegie went home to Barbados a couple of years ago. It was quite something to see him on stage at Sage Gateshead in the company of band mates Stefan Walcott (piano) and bassist Neil Newton.
The likeable Barbadian received the warmest of welcomes and the trio’s debut CD Present Day suggested their set could be a 5* performance (using Downbeat’s star-rating system that is a rave review). The eponymous Present Day (comp. Carnegie) and Stefan Walcott’s Sunshine Roxy immediately confirmed the pedigree of all three musicians.
Neil Newton played five string electric bass and double bass (the latter on loan from Andy Champion). Possessing effortless technique, Newton played the coolest of grooves of which many an aspiring bass player could but dream. Pianist Walcott, leader of the 1688 Orchestra (a big band and steel pan group in Barbados), proved to be a revelation. Dazzling, joyous piano playing flowed from his finger tips. He reminded one of…what’s his name? Then, that was…? This was Stefan Walcott, a swinging piano player embracing the life-affirming qualities of Dr Billy Taylor and the real-deal blues mastery reminiscent of Junior Mance or Ray Bryant.
Carnegie’s neo-soul jam - Post Modern Revisionist Soul (Reimagined) - put the drummer in the spotlight. Drummers of the north east - you should have been there; in the pocket drumming, flick-of-the-switch turbo charge, simply brilliant. Monk’s standard Well You Needn’t crackled, the trio as one. Hum the tune. Go home happy. Ah, there was more. Neil Newton’s Untied free-wheeled around Hall Two. Award these boys five stars. They had the lot - Caribbean calypso, Tito Puente dance grooves, sanctifying Steinway blues, reggae rhythm, bop to free. A memorable occasion.  
Russell.                    

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