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Happy Apple: Body Popping * Moon Walking * Top Rocking
Happy Apple: Body Popping * Moon Walking * Top Rocking
turnover time:2024-06-25 04:38:14

Despite its obvious connotations, very little free jazz actually operates free from structure. Instead, the individual players generally work around various themes, playing off each other as much as the composition at hand. Minneapolis' Happy Apple, named after a popular children's toy, has become increasingly adept at bucking conventions without abandoning the benefits of musicality. As with the best jazz outfits, the trio continues to grow creatively as its members become ever more comfortable with one another. Album number three, titled with a hint of old-school hip-hop chic, is Body Popping * Moon Walking * Top Rocking, and it's Happy Apple's best. Throughout the record, saxophonist Michael Lewis, drummer David King, and bassist Erik Fratzke establish an appropriately telepathic rapport: King's "The Barstow Sizzler" contains some sudden shifts from free independence to swinging drum-and-bass allusions, while Lewis' "Marvin Says" occupies the vague ground between atonality and chordal unison. King's muted drumming gives the ballad "Where Does A Stranger Go On Christmas Eve" its sense of longing, but easily adds an element of exotic excitement to "Wishing Book." Considering Happy Apple's roots, the progress is heartening, as the band flirts with Ornette Coleman's theory of funky harmolodics and the more modal work of Miles Davis. At this rate, it can hardly remain a secret for long.

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