Simon Brown visited Jazznights at The Cherry Tree on Sunday 24th June with his brand new quintet: Beyond Cantaloupe

(Click on images for larger pictures)

The band features the cream of Norwich’s jazz musicians at The Cherry Tree for a Jazznights Simmon Brown 290610 (16) Bnight of classic Herbie Hancock Blue Note tracks specially arranged by Simon. With a front line of trumpet and tenor saxophone and the resident rhythm section from the Norwich Jazz Club this is sure to be a great night.

The classic music that Herbie Hancock made for Blue Note Records in the 60 s is the focus of pianist Simon Brown band using arrangements written especially for this gig. Faithful transcriptions of Hancock s funky arrangements recreate all the probing, bluesy excitement of the originals. Also featuring Dan Friend (trumpet), Martin Eaton (tenor sax), Ivars Galenieks (double bass) and Brian McAllister (drums). jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (35)

Simon Brown is a highly respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs throughout East Anglia when he is not playing at Jazznights or with his own trio, quartet and quintet.

Simon’s piano playing has long been the sound accompaniment of first choice for nationally and internationally known jazz stars appearing at Jazznights as well as Norfolk’s two leading jazz venues, the Lakeside Jazz Club at Lyng and The Green Man at Rackheath. He is also an accomplished soloist in his own right, blending vivacity and creative attack with often gentle lyricism. His influences are Oscar Peterson, Nat "King" Cole and Bill Evans.

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For this evenings superb set of early Herbie Hancock Blue Note numbers we had the following standards:

1. Empty Pockets from  Herbie’s debut album Takin’ Off originally released in 1962 for the Blue Note label , the session included Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and veteran Dexter Gordon on tenor saxophone. The album was a typical hard bop LP, with its characteristic two horns and a rhythm section. Herbie wrote "I was in a sad financial state when I wrote this". Great intro for the firsst set featuring all the band.
jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (13)2. Three Wishes Three Wishes – the original recording was made with Donald Byrd in 1961. A classic in 3/d waltz time which also featured a superb solo from Ivars Galenieks on the double bass
3. Another number from the Taking Off album, the very popular standard  Watermelon Man. Herbie wrote  "In reflecting on my childhood, I recalled the cry of the watermelon man making his rounds through the back streets and alleys of Chicago’s south side. The wheels of his wagon beat out the rhythm on the cobblestones." This was a superb rendition by the band with a driving front line accentuated by Brian McAllister on the drums.

4. Empyrean Isles, Herbie’s fourth album 1964 which was a quartet album for trumpet and rhythm section for which Martin Easton left the front line to Dan Friend jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (25)on trumpet together with Simon on piano, Ivars on bass and Brian on drums.
5. From Wayne Shorter’s 1966 album Adam’s Apple in which Hancock played piano, we had 502 Blues, again they played as a quartet, Martin on tenor sax having replaced Dan playing the Wayne Shorter part.. A very sensitive bluesy solo from Martin Easton followed by Ivar’s scat singing along with his double bass.
6. A Tribute To Someone the 2nd track from Hancock’s "My Point Of View" album. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on March 19, 1963. My Point of View is the second album by pianist Herbie Hancock and was jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (30)released in 1963 on Blue Note Records – Herbie Hancock (piano); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Donald Byrd (trumpet); Grachan Moncur III (trombone); Grant Green (guitar); Chuck Israels (bass); Tony Williams (drums). A lovely medium tempo version with arrangement from Simon Brown.
7. Driftin’ Another number from the debut album Takin’ Off released in 1962 for the Blue Note. Featuring Simon, Dan and Martin on this medium tempo version. A very suitable finale to the first set which included for bar trades between drums, tenor sax, trumpet and bass.

Following the interval in which all glasses were suitably charged, we had the Jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 cJazznights raffle of the three jazz CD’s and a bottle of Merlot.
8. Oliloqui Valley opened the second set from the Empyrean Isles album which was a quartet number with Dan Friend on trumpet playing the Freddie Hubbard part.
9. Maiden Voyage from the fifth album Maiden Voyage released in 1965. It which was concept album aimed at creating an oceanic atmosphere refgerring to marine biology or the sea. A perfect vehicle for Ivars Galenieks use of the upper register of his bass.
10. Another number from the Maiden Voyage album was a medium tempo version of Dolphin Dance.
11. Cantaloupe Island, the jazz standard composed by Herbie Hancock and recorded for his 1964 album Empyrean Isles. ("Cantaloupe Island" was recently named number19 in the list of 100 quintessential jazz songs of all time.) Again played as a quartet with Dan Friend on trumpet again playing the Freddie Hubbard part.
jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (24)12. Speak No Evil, Wayne Shorter’s band is a quintessential 1964 session Blue Note group of the period combining Shorter’s most frequent and effective collaborators. The album and the track of the same name features Herbie Hancock on piano. This again proved the front line and Simon’s rhythm section  were a force to be reckoned with which also accentuated Ivars great scat singing with his bass lines.

13. Alone and I: from Herbie Hancock’s debut album followed. "I am very much interested in chord colour in music, and this tune displays much of what I have been working on in that vein." Hancock considered this piece the most interesting tune in the album and that it included his best solo." quoted by Herbie Hancock. This was a lovely ballad from the band featuring both tenor, trumpet and piano solos.
14. A far to quick (in time) last number from Herbie’s second album – the 1963 My Point Of View – a fantastic finale of Beyond Cantaloupe’s version of And What If I Don’t. Although played at a medium tempo we had a superb number featuring all the front line, Simon and Ivars using his bow on the double bass

The Interplay between the five members suggested that they had being playing together for years, not as it was, the first gig of this quintet! A tremendous evening with great arrangements from Simon Brown of the master, Herbie Hancock’s compositions (with a couple of equally great Wayne Shorter tunes.

jazznights Beyond Cantaloupe 240612 (9)Do not miss the superb Simon Spillett on Sunday 8th July. Having been strongly influenced by the great Tubby Hayes, Simon has long since developed his own approach to hard swinging modern jazz. With a repertoire of well known standards he always proves to be a popular draw at jazz clubs throughout the UK either as a single guest artist or with his own band.

Jazznights presents the best in modern jazz at:
The Function Suite, The Cherry Tree, Knowl Green, Belchamp St Paul, Suffolk, CO10 7BY.
Tel: 01787 237263       Admission £8.         Doors 7.30pm.       Music 8.00-10.30pm.

Reserve your table seating on 01787 237653 or email.  Pay on the night.
Food available and can be served before or during the performance.

Go to for details and future gigs.


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