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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 lines into a mix consisting of the rhythm sections’ reverberating undercurrents along with the trio’s seamlessly rendered micro-themes. Overall, the ensemble effectively rattles your senses.
The band engages in controlled explorations via unassuming deviations, hard-rock straight four rhythms, difficult to perform time signatures and tightly coordinated arrangements, although they periodically tone the proceedings down a few notches. Besides the rather eccentric song titles, “Happy Apple” offers a heated mix, teeming with razor sharp soloing, whirlwind intensity and bountiful storylines. Hence, this outfit skirts the bleeding edge of modern jazz, amid a few steamy nods to progressive rock. Recommended.
Track Listing: Take Wes Chandler For Instance; You & Mattel vs. Me & Coleco; Who Is your Midwest Representation?; November; The Invitation Has Become; A Waltz For The Few Remaining; Homage Ritchie Valens; Acknowledge The Ascot; Koala Bear Wearing A T-Shirt With Your Corporate Logo; Buffalo
Personnel: Erik Fratzke; Fender bass: Michael Lewis; tenor, alto & soprano saxophones: David King; walkie talkies, drums & cymbals
Year Released: 2001
| Record Label: Happy Apple Music
| Style: Modern Jazz
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.