Happy Apple @ International House, Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, January 26, 2008.
Erik Fratzke: fender bass
Dave King: drums
Michael Lewis: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, keyboards, effects
Happy Apple is a happy collusion of its trio parts as the group sound that emerges is forged through a willingness to take the jazz trio into a wide range of territories. There is no "front man" in this group and the almost Coleman-esque harmolodic elasticity between players (not to mention some wide interval leaps) makes this something to sink the ears into.
Dave King demonstrated a willingness to peal off layers of groove with a wide dynamic range - sometimes using little more than bare hands on the drum kit. Michael Lewis stayed mostly with the tenor saxophone through this long set, at time expanding his expressive range with well timed vocalizations. And Erik Fratzke works a fascinating sound out of the fender bass, often strumming chords or deftly weaving something tight into the rhythmic bed.
Add Happy Apple to the engaging noise coming out of the Twin Cities music scene. Spearheaded by Dave King's "other" trio The Bad Plus, along with the Fantastic Melvins and George Cartwright, Happy Apple must be the forbidden fruit of the Minneapolis jazz Eden.