Happy Apple

Named after a child's toy from the 1960s, jazz trio Happy Apple was formed in Minneapolis, MN, in 1996 by saxophonist Michael Lewis and drummer David King, with bassist Erik Fratzke joining soon after.

Their clever and melodic small-combo improvisations have been termed "jazz punk," but Happy Apple has a grasp of the entire history of jazz, and the trio's elegant free-bop compositions are full of haunting melodies, delightful flashes of humor, and intelligent, coherent construction. 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 released four independent albums, Blown Shockward and Crash Flow (1997), Part of the Solution Problem (1998), Body Popping, Moon Walking, Top Rocking (1999), and Please Refrain from Fronting (2001).

Youth Oriented, the group's first commercial album, was released in 2003 by Universal Music and is distributed in the U.S. by Sunnyside Records. Happy Apple tours regularly and continues to use Minneapolis as a home base.
by Steve Leggett, All MUsic


Happy Apple To Appear at "Festival Dancing in Your Head"

On April 22nd, Happy Apple will pay tribute to Ornette Coleman at the three-day “The Festival Dancing in Your Head” in Minneapolis, MN. The festival will also include a performance of The Bad Apple – a one-time only collaboration between Happy Apple and close friends The Bad Plus. And yes, Mr. Coleman will also be present. For more information please visit the Walker Art Center at www.walkerart.org

, - April 2005     Read the full article

NPR Piece On "The Peace Between Our Companies"

The new album “The Peace Between Our Companies” from Midwestern jazz marauders, Happy Apple, was featured on the April 23rd edition of NPR’s All Things Considered. This trio was also featured in a recent concert celebrating the music of Ornette Coleman at the re-opening of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Here is a link to the NPR piece:

Both Happy Apple releases on Sunnyside are available in our online store.

, - April 2005     Read the full article

Happy Apple celebrates the release of its new recording "happy apple back on top"

at The Artist’s Quarter in downtown St. Paul. FRI AUG31, SAT SEPT1 & SUN SEPT2. we hope to see you there... 7th Place and St. Peter St. in the Hamm Building, dwtn st. paul, St. Paul, Minnesota

, - August 2007     Read the full article

Hot Box gives ***1/2 to Happy Apple

The more I spun it, the warmer it felt. Jim Macnie, DOWNBEAT - November 2007
read the full article

, - November 2007     Read the full article

Undead Festival in NYC!

Make sure that you don't miss the upcoming Undead Jazz Festival in New York City over the weekend of June 12th and 13th. There will be a plethora of Sunnyside artists present.

Performances by the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Happy Apple, Bill McHenry Quintet, Alan Ferber Nonet, Miles Okazaki /Dan Weiss, David Weiss & Point of Departure, Ben Wendel Group, and Roswell Rudd/Lafayette Harris.

, - June 2010     Read the full article


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