New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York are bona fide jazz capitals. You can add Minneapolis to that illustrious list, thanks to groups like Madhouse, The Bad Plus, and Happy Apple that town's non-traditional trio consisting of bassist Erik Fratzke, soprano-alto-tenor saxophonist/keyboardist Michael Lewis, and drummer David King with Back on Top, the long-awaited follow up to their 2005 Sunnyside release, Peace Between Our Companies . On this eleven track recording, their genre-busting, take-no-prisoners approach to the tradition continues to change the shape of jazz to come in the twenty first century.
Think of Happy Apple as a hyper-band, created from the DNA of the Sonny Rollins Trio, Dreams, Tony Williams Lifetime, and the Police, and you'll begin to comprehend how this towering triad, moulds, shapes, constructs, and deconstructs jazz, rock, fusion, avant-garde, and Latin genres. The New Bison, is the midtempo opener awash with dark and lovely, industrial-style improvisations, followed by the rockish ostinato driven number, Very Small Rock. 1996 A.D is perhaps the freest track on the date, with a spirited drum/sax dialogue, contrasted by the urban backbeats on Rise! Marc Anthony and the Dr, Dre grooved Calgon for Hetfield. Lefse Los Cubanos, shows that not even the Cuban clave remains unscathed from their transformative touch. He s Okay is a twilight-toned ballad, and Hence the Turtleneck is a selection that gives the aural imagery of Pharaoh Sanders backed by Led Zeppelin on a slow drag!
In today's age, when every type of musical genre, from "fusion" to "jam band" has been reduced to marketing cliches, it is a rare occasion to hear an ensemble like this Minneapolis trio. Writing for the website Allmusic.com, Steve Leggett writes, "... led by Lewis amazingly lyrical tenor sax playing and solid melodies written by all three members, Happy Apple keeps out of the fusion trap by implying rock dynamics without actually surrendering to them, giving the group a fresh, bright, and totally unique sound. Things can get hot and searing, certainly, and there is no aversion to sonic and free jazz experimenting, but the band always retains a strong melodic center".
Happy Apple has built a loyal and diverse fan base from their hometown, to Manhattan and France. The New York Times wrote that they are "one of the best new jazz groups," while Down Beat hailed them as "intelligent, freewheeling fusion with rock energy." Whatever side of the musical spectrum you come from, Happy Apple will radiant you with their bopish licks and byte-happy beats. Put another way, this trail blazing trio uses jazz improvisation to drive from the gritty downtown dance beats to sonic suburbs of the New Thing!
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Added by indietickets on April 11, 2008