Happy Orchestra, produced by drummer Tarik Abouzied, is an award-winning band that puts smiles on faces and lights fires under feet. Its members are drawn from some of the Northwest’s most highly regarded funk, jazz, and soul bands including McTuff, Skerik’s Bandalabra, Richie Aldente, and more. The band, voted Alternative Jazz Group of the Year by readers of Earshot Jazz, combines instrumental and compositional firepower with a determined effort at crafting an intensely happy musical experience.
“Smoking-hot music from top-notch talent.” – CityArts Magazine
Abouzied was awarded a 4Culture Arts Project Grant in order to develop, record, and perform with Happy Orchestra. The band was conceived from his gratitude and experiences as an established musical force in Seattle: “The level of talent in this city is astounding, the community that supports this music scene is as strong as I’ve ever seen, and contributing to that has been incredibly life affirming. … I want more, and so Happy Orchestra is born.” Their debut album, Baba, reached #5 on the KEXP NW Music Chart and was nominated NW Recording of the Year.
“Rocking soulful horn-powered grooves…” – Abe Beeson, KNKX 88.5FM Seattle
The genre-mixing sound of Happy Orchestra can best be described as “American groove,” an amalgam of the jazz, rock, funk, and soul birthed by American artists from the 60s through today. Listeners will recognize the refined groove of D’Angelo, the raw energy of Soundgarden, the synth-driven fusion of Weather Report, the syncopated tightness of Tower of Power, and other cues rooted in music that’s deeply imbedded in the subconscious of the American music-lover.
“The music gets intricate, but never loses sight of the gritty, soulful truth inherent in a deep groove.” – Earshot Jazz
Earshot Golden Ear Award collector Thomas Marriott and tenor saxophonist Stuart MacDonald join as the horn section, bringing decades-refined improvisational might and intensity. Richie Aldente front man Tim Kennedy and guitarist RL Heyer fuse effortlessly with renowned bassist Damian Erskine and McTuff drummer Tarik Abouzied to create an unshakeable foundation built from years of camaraderie and virtuosic musicianship. Frequent guests include Skerik, Andy Coe, Dan Balmer, and more. This combination of stellar human beings, instrumental mastery, and a grin-inducing compositional palette is what makes Happy Orchestra an unmissable act.