05.08.09CD Review of Fred Knapp Trio's "More Happy Jazz" May 2009

Are you stuck in traffic? Bummed out about the economy? In need of warmer weather? I’ve got a cure for you… listen to the latest CD from The Fred Knapp Trio. “More Happy Jazz" was recorded in January and is a fine complement to the group’s 2003 production, “Happy Jazz." The 12 tracks give you a taste of everything from Richard Rogers to Fats Waller. The trio shares credit for their arrangements, which adds to its variety. In asking Fred about the song selections, he said some are tunes the trio has been playing for awhile that are frequently requested by their
audiences. Be forewarned, though, this CD does not include any vocals (a disappointment to our esteemed editor, who loves Dave Proulx’s vocals), which was a conscious decision by the group to appeal to fans who prefer instrumentals. Let me assure you, it’s not a loss: Fred, Dave Proulx and Dave Rosin make the drums, piano and bass sing. The first track, “Takin’ a Chance on Love," begins with a drum roll and includes a distinctive solo by Rosin on bass, who is also featured on a later track of “If I Should Lose You." The Fats Waller classic “Honeysuckle Rose" is next, presented at a beat that tempts you to do the cha-cha AND offers a range of rhythms that end in a flourish. I’m not a big Chick Corea fan, but the trio’s arrangement of “The Loop" is subtle, airy and melodic. Antonio Jobim’s lesser known “Look to the Sky" is a bouquet of notes with Fred providing a Latin beat on the drums. “Too Marvelous for Words" will surely get your toes tapping, unless you need your reflexes checked. And for those fans of the trio who are beginning to miss Dave’s vocals, just sit back and listen to him give the keyboards their own voice on “Teach Me Tonight." “Sweet Georgia Brown" is given a ragtime intro and then swings out in a jamming pace, while “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was" made me wish I had given more attention to those rumba lessons. The trio’s arrangement of “All the Things You Are" is another excellent example of the group’s versatile stylings. The last track, “Frenchie Goes to Church," is based on a French folk song with the melody of “Amazing Grace" at the beginning and ending, with a boogie woogie feel in between. This is the trio’s fifth CD, and it contains something for everyone. They are considering a Christmas CD next, with future plans for a new production each year. Fred expresses his thanks to their fans for their enthusiastic
support, and we say thanks right back. What would West Michigan Jazz be without this trio? If you are not More Happy after your first listen to this collection, take two aspirin and hit “replay."
Reviewed by Dona Raymer

11.07.06October Gumbo: The Fred Knapp Trio

The West Michigan Jazz Society's Jazz Notes for Nov.-Dec. '06

The Fred Knapp Trio with Fred on drums, Dave Rosin on bass and Dave Roulx on keyboard, gave the audience a night that will be long remembered.

Fred and Dave collaborated to come up with a very good program. Over 80 percent of the program was Cole Porter songs that we are familiar with, but many were done with fresh and interesting arrangements.

To give you an idea, Fred was playing the Ahmad Jamal Trio's drum background from his great hit "Poinciana" while Dave was playing "Love for Sale." Also they played "I Love You" as a samba, and "Delovely" as a songo (Afro-Cuban).

After doing a great swingin' job on Blue Monk, the evening came to a rousing conclusion with "Anything Goes." Dave said, "Since this is a Jazz Gumbo we'll do are last song in a New Orleans-style," and what a job he did. He was seated and then standing and then bouncing up and down on his bench, while his fingers were flying all over the keyboard. Intermixed were great drum solos by Fred. When the last note was played the audience all jumped to their feet in rousing applause.

I should not forget to mention what a great touch Dave Rosin has on his bass solos, and the great drum solos performed by Fred on such tunes as "Delovely" and "Anything Goes."

Walking out the door, I heard many people, still excited, make such comments as "This is the best gumbo I've been to," or "You can go anywhere in the country and you will not hear a jazz trio any better than this." Yes this was a special evening! - Jack Morrison

02.01.06Jazz Gumbo Recap

The West Michigan Jazz Society -"Jazz Notes" February 2006 Vol.21 No.2

The January Jazz Gumbo was amazing...a full house poured through the Kopper Top Guest House doors to hear the Fred Knapp Trio "do" a night
of all Gershwin...and they were well rewarded. This group just gets better and better. Dave Proulx is a delight on piano and his voice is beautiful and expressive whether stroking a ballad or stroking a "hot" number. The trio's rendition of "Summertime" was spellbinding to a rapt audience.
Their new bassist, Dave Rosin, was an excellent addition, and was wisely given the opportunity to strum his stuff on several solos, while Fred kept
up with both of them on the drums and also got in some tasty solo licks.

09.01.05Recap of Jazz at the Zoo

West Michigan Jazz Society "Jazz Notes" Vol. 20 No.7

August 18th - The Fred Knapp Trio is a small group to produce such large sounds! Dave Proulx (pronounced Proo) is a marvel on the keyboards. How does he hit all those notes with only two hands? And his vocals..."Sweet Georgia Brown," "But not for Me," and rollicking "Down by the Riverside"... are sheer pleasure! Their newest addition on bass, Aaron Tully, was marvelous...more than filling the shoes of former bassist Joe Ayoub and Matt Heredia, who handled bass duties formerly and have now moved out of the area. Group leader Fred Knapp keeps the beat and swingin control at the drums, setting the perfect pace for this popular trio. They also "sold out" their CDs, but we will be booking them for a Jazz Gumbo series event after the first of the year, so those who missed out on them will have another opportunity.

08.21.05Last call for all that Jazz at the Zoo

The Grand Rapids Press.

Grand Rapids - ...The Fred Knapp Trio, composed of Western Michigan University gradutates, were the series' second to last performers and
(Betty) Forrest's personal favorite. They delighted the Aug. 15th crowd.
Dave Proulx, pianist and vocalist for the group, took a moment to
honor the West Michigan Jazz Society's efforts over the years, noting how the Jazz Society concerts helped the group decide to major in music at Western and , consequently, form their current trio. "That was nice to hear," Forrest said. "This is our 19th year, and to know that you've affected a generation already is very meaning to us, particularly me."
.... by Rachael Recker

03.10.05Discipline a key to talent

Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids- A nice guy may finish last, but with enough talent, the "nice guy" can make a good beginning. Drummer, composer, singer, and pianist Fred Knapp is on such talented nice guy making a name for himself. At 31, Knapp seems poised for a promising career. His debut album was favorably reviewed in Down Beat Magazine and his latest offering, "Happy Jazz", was nominated for a WYCE-FM (88.1) 2005 Jamie Award for best local jazz CD. His trio is in demand and his composititons are being performed in churches, bars, recording studios and ... at hockey games.
Those holding tickets to Saturday's Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game would be advised to beat the traffic to catch the Fred Knapp Trio (featuring Paul Lesinski and Rob Hartman) perform before the game. The trio has been well-received in previous pregame performances. Most professional musicians - particularly in jazz and classical - begin intensive training at early ages. Knapp's boyhood ambition, however, was professional tennis. The sport gave him the discipline to excel when
he decided to study music, starting from scratch at a point when most professionals are playing their first paid gigs. Knapp was familiar with how to train and how to be trained. He sought the best teachers and players - Duane Davis, Kevin Dobreff, Dr. Mary Scanlan, Lynn Asper, Rupert Kettle and Tim Froncek - and they readily thaught him. Sometimes they thaught him gratis. Jazz Diva Diana Krall was one such
example. "(Krall) taught me to get inside the music of the masters, transcribing everyone's part, from the bass line to the soloist. (She) was generous with her time and didn't even charge me," Knapp said. "It was an inspiring experience. That experience gave me ... insight into the language of music and how the pieces all fit together." Bassist Hartman, who performed with John Shea for more than a decade before
Shea's lamented departure for Phoenix last winter, is a computer consultant by day. "(Hartman) has what everybody wants in a bass player ... great time, tone and feel," Knapp said. Knapp also pointed out the virtues of keyboardist Lesinski. "Along with being a great jazz and classical pianist, (Lesinski) is in demand as an organist and keyboardist in many of the best funk and rock groups in West Michigan and Chicago," Knapp said. "Every time I play with (Knapp) I have more fun than the last time," Lesinski said. "That's how you know a cat has depth. He keeps growing and makes you grow, too." by Stephen Durst