Happy People

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Coming to fame as a sideman with Miles Davis in the late 1980s, Kenny Garrett has evolved into one of the finest young saxophone stylists of his era. Like his former boss, Garrett is open to different avenues of jazz, and with Marcus Miller, another of Davis's late-period associates, handling the production, Happy People is informed by both traditional and funky attitudes. What never gets lost is Garrett’s fluency and warmth on the alto and soprano horns; you can hear the bebop and modal jazz proficiency in all he plays, even when the environment speaks more of today than of earlier jazz eras. Although the saxophonist’s sharp quartet -- with the ace bassist Charnett ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Coming to fame as a sideman with Miles Davis in the late 1980s, Kenny Garrett has evolved into one of the finest young saxophone stylists of his era. Like his former boss, Garrett is open to different avenues of jazz, and with Marcus Miller, another of Davis's late-period associates, handling the production, Happy People is informed by both traditional and funky attitudes. What never gets lost is Garrett’s fluency and warmth on the alto and soprano horns; you can hear the bebop and modal jazz proficiency in all he plays, even when the environment speaks more of today than of earlier jazz eras. Although the saxophonist’s sharp quartet -- with the ace bassist Charnett Moffett -- shapes the tracks, room is found for special guests to enliven various performances, including the legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and singer Jean Norris, whose vocal scatting on the title track is a delight. There’s plenty of meaty improvising from all involved, but still, the show is never stolen from the leader. Garrett may have come up under Davis’s shadow, but as he proves here in solo after solo, he’s become his own man.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
As of 2002, Kenny Garrett had spent a decade recording for Warner Bros., with Happy People being his seventh release for the major label. That was a remarkable accomplishment in an era when, to succeed, it seemed that jazz musicians either had to adopt pop-oriented contemporary jazz as their style or, if they stayed in a traditional mode, be, uh, dead. Garrett remained very much alive, but Happy People demonstrated the strategies that the alto saxophonist had developed to maintain his precarious status. Basically, he took a little from both of those successful approaches. As on his previous album, Simply Said, he employed Marcus Miller on a selective basis as an electric bassist, also promoting Miller to co-producer. Miller, who knew his way around contemporary jazz, helped turn the opening track, "Song for DiFang," into the kind of number that potentially could be played on smooth jazz radio stations. And those stations probably also would feel at home with the title track, slotted second in the album's sequence, which featured vocals by Jean Norris. Indeed, if you stopped listening there, you'd classify Happy People as a contemporary jazz album. But Garrett turned gradually more traditional as the album went on, and he also supplied signposts to his illustrious and dead predecessors, humorously imitating former employer Miles Davis' harsh whisper of a voice at the start of "Ain't Nothing but the Blues," dedicating "Monk-ing Around" to Thelonious Monk, and, in the closing track, "Brother B. Harper," which nominally concerned saxophonist Billy Harper, actually sounding much more like John Coltrane. What kept Happy People from being a compromised effort was Garrett's always-impressive playing, but it was certainly a record that carefully touched a lot of bases.
Downbeat
Beneath its somewhat slick surface, Kenny Garrett's latest Warner Bros. release delivers some rough-and-tumble blowing.

Beneath its somewhat slick surface, Kenny Garrett's latest Warner Bros. release delivers some rough-and-tumble blowing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/12/2002
  • Label: Warner Bros Mod Afw
  • UPC: 093624775423
  • Catalog Number: 47754
  • Sales rank: 72,905

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Song for Difang - Michael "Patches" Stewart (5:26)
  2. 2 Happy People - Michael "Patches" Stewart (5:12)
  3. 3 Tango in 6 (5:52)
  4. 4 Ain't Nothing But the Blues (5:11)
  5. 5 Song #8 (3:42)
  6. 6 Halima's Story (5:32)
  7. 7 Monking Around (4:43)
  8. 8 A Hole in One (5:59)
  9. 9 Thessalonika (4:50)
  10. 10 Asian Medley: Akatonbo/Arirang/Tsubasawo Kudasai (7:03)
  11. 11 Brother B. Harper (7:59)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kenny Garrett Primary Artist, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Vernell Brown Jr. Piano
Chris "Daddy" Dave Drums
Bobby Hutcherson Vibes
Marcus Miller Bass Guitar
Charnett Moffett Acoustic Bass
Jean Norris Vocals
Michael "Patches" Stewart Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Randy Razz Guitar
Marcus Baylor Drums
Technical Credits
Greg Calbi Mastering
Kenny Garrett Arranger, Producer
Marcus Miller Producer
Bill Schnee Engineer
Stephen Walker Art Direction
Taka Honda Engineer
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