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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: Happy Apple Back on Top

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Before becoming synonymous with self-indulgent excess--or worse, smoothed-out pap--fusion offered the excitement of joining jazz improvisation and harmonic sophistication with rock energy and driving rhythms. Though they may not self-identify with fusion, a growing number of musicians raised on both rock and jazz feel no compunction in drawing influences from and blending both. One such group is the Minneapolis trio Happy Apple: saxophonist (and occasional keyboardist) Michael Lewis, electric bassist Erik Fratzke and drummer Dave King, better known for genre-tweaking with The Bad Plus. On their seventh CD, they mine a seemingly inexhaustible vein of grooves to support their catchy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: The Peace Between Our Companies

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Minneapolis-based Happy Apple is big in the Midwestern United States and Europe--the rest of the world, particularly other parts of America, is sadly still sleeping on the powerful jazz/rock/improv group. Featuring bassist Erik Fratzke, David King (who also handles percussion duties in Happy Apple cohorts and Columbia Records recording artists The Bad Plus) and Michael Lewis on saxophones, Happy Apple is currently celebrating the release of its sixth album, The Peace Between Our Companies.

The trio of Fratzke, King and Lewis combine freewheeling improvisation with highly stylized composition and rock 'n' roll-meets-jazz sensibilities. The eight tracks which make up The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: Youth Oriented

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Jazz needs albums like this. Youth Oriented eschews everything that we usually associate with the jazz couture and replaces it with pop culture motifs. The cover art reminds one of the angst ridden, whiny boy images favored by Korn or Limp Bizkit. The song titles seem like Frank Zappa cast-offs. The first sound you hear on the CD is akin to a Speak and Spell with gastritis. The first musical notes tend to remind the listener more of early '90s art-rockers Morphine than Thelonious Monk. But make no mistake. Youth Oriented is a jazz album. And a damn good one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: Please Refrain From Fronting

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Just imagine if drummer, Keith Moon (“The Who”) and bassist, Jaco Pastorious (“Weather Report”) were still alive and had decided to align their acute and chops heavy rhythmic wares for a modern/free jazz outing. Well, these are the far flung notions conjured up while listening to the Minneapolis-based trio, “Happy Apple.”

Following up the band’s well-received, Body Popping, Moon Walking, Top Rocking recording, this new release proposes somewhat of an extension to the musicians’ now customary high powered rhythms, swiftly executed shifts in strategy and mood-evoking themes. With, “You & Mattel vs. Me & Coleco”, saxophonist Michael Lewis injects Bop-ish ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: Body Popping - Moon Walking - Top Rocking

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“Happy Apple” is a Minneapolis based modern jazz trio featuring multi-reedman Michael Lewis, drummer David King and electric bassist Erik Fratzke. On Body Popping - Moon Walking – Top Rocking the band articulate somewhat of a blood and guts approach. With the lengthy opener titled “The Barstow Sizzler” the trio advance through subtle microtonal passages while concurrently working the free-jazz side of the spectrum and exploring delicate themes, yet climactically pick up steam via rollicking and downright explosive interplay. Hard funk/free-bop/jazz prevails throughout, as the band’s imperious sense of verve and pulse pay huge dividends! Saxophonist Michael Lewis generally spearheads ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Happy Apple: Body Popping - Moon Walking - Top Rocking

Read "Body Popping - Moon Walking - Top Rocking" reviewed by

“Happy Apple” is a Minneapolis based modern jazz trio featuring multi-reedman Michael Lewis, drummer David King and electric bassist Erik Fratzke. On Body Popping - Moon Walking – Top Rocking the band articulate somewhat of a blood and guts approach. With the lengthy opener titled “The Barstow Sizzler” the trio advance through subtle microtonal passages while concurrently working the free-jazz side of the spectrum and exploring delicate themes, yet climactically pick up steam via rollicking and downright explosive interplay. Hard funk/free-bop/jazz prevails throughout, as the band’s imperious sense of verve and pulse pay huge dividends! Saxophonist Michael Lewis generally spearheads ...



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