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Happy People – Kenny Garrett

This song holds a special place in my heart. When I first heard it I was extremely nervous, sometimes playing jazz does that to you. Playing jazz around serious and talented musicians brings an element of excitement. It makes it harder to get into a groove, your rhythm, or the coveted ‘zone’, but its so rewarding once you do.

Last summer I attended a jazz camp where we were assigned to ensembles based on an initial audition, and I was fortunate enough to place into the top band alongside another pianist. The camp was a little under a week long, and we learned two full songs to play at a concert at the end of our time there. The song I played was Happy People.

I became very well acquainted with the song over the 3 hours we spent rehearsing each day. 3 hours of rehearsal for 2 charts may seem a bit excessive, but it allows for the type of tight cohesive sound that someone as serious and talented as our director professor Curtis Taylor expected.

I love this piece for its soul and funk sensibilities while still feeling like a jazz song. It lends itself particularly well to a quartal sound so typical of jazz music, but contains a traditional soul chorus that is oh-so satisfying.


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