New Music: George Cables, Mike LeDonne and Erik Fratzke of Happy Apple



There’s no hip way to say this: High Note Records, the brainchild of the late impresario, Joe Fields is the tomato bisque and grilled cheese of record labels. You know? Comfort food. There’s absolutely no shame in that whatsoever. Sometimes you want Escargot, and sometimes a P. B. and J with the crusts sliced off fills the void nicely.

Veteran, (actually a fitting word for the entire stable) pianist George Cables just released “Too Close For Comfort.” He explains the thread: It could just as easily have been called “Circle Of Love.” All songs, not all necessarily romantic are tied to important people in his life. Including himself. “This Is My Life.” is loosely autobiographical and reflective.

Mike Ledonne’s “It’s all Your Fault” finds the prolific keyboardist in a big band setting. When you release several things a year, you have to mix it up, I suppose. This is about as close to funky as a big band can get. His eponymous group is crammed with star sessionists: Steve Wilson, Eric Alexander, John Weber, etc.  Meanwhile, His “Groover Quartet” is the typical B-3 led soul fare.

Twin Cities based multi-instrumentalist and composer Erik Fratzke is best known as the bassist of the local cult-group Happy Apple. alongside drummer Dave King and saxophonist Mike Lewis.
But for his debut as a leader, Fratzke’s band Fake Accent , performs compositions inspired by “divergent streams of 20th Century Music distilled into the language of small group jazz.  The recording is 4 pieces and it’s called “For Serious Allegations” Nathan Hanson (Clarinet, Saxophone), Cooper Doten (Bass) and Cory Healey.

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