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Happy Apple

Happy Apple is an American jazz trio from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Initially formed in 1996 by David King (drums), Michael Lewis (saxophone), Anton Denner (saxophone) and Cully Swansen (bass), since 1998 the lineup has consisted of King, Lewis, and bass guitarist Erik Fratzke.

All three members compose music for the group, which places equal emphasis on improvisation. Happy Apple plays a brand of jazz music drawing on several other genres; the group's members play in other bands ranging from indie rock and heavy metal to free jazz and electronic. The best known of these is The Bad Plus, in which King also plays drums.

The name Happy Apple comes from a Fisher-Price toy from the 1970s which King often uses as an auxiliary percussion instrument.


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417
Album Review

Happy Apple: Happy Apple Back on Top

Read "Happy Apple Back on Top" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell


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 ...

333
Album Review

Happy Apple: The Peace Between Our Companies

Read "The Peace Between Our Companies" reviewed by James Taylor


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 ...

280
Album Review

Happy Apple: Youth Oriented

Read "Youth Oriented" reviewed by Paul Abella


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 ...

163
Album Review

Happy Apple: Please Refrain From Fronting

Read "Please Refrain From Fronting" reviewed by Glenn Astarita


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 ...

287
Album Review

Happy Apple: Body Popping - Moon Walking - Top Rocking

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


“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 ...

147
Album Review

Happy Apple: Body Popping - Moon Walking - Top Rocking

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


“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 ...

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band / ensemble / orchestra

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Happy Apple Back on...

Sunnyside Records
2008

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The Peace Between Our...

Sunnyside Records
2005

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Youth Oriented

Sunnyside Records
2003

buy

Please Refrain From...

Happy Apple Music
2001

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