About half of Happy People, the new CD from alto-saxophonist Kenny Garrett, sounds like a complete waste of talent. Garrett’s passive melodies on the opener, “Song for Difang,” are instantly forgettable. The title track is mired by awkward vocal scats from Jean Norris (formerly of early-’90s group Zane) and more timid playing from Garrett. But Happy People also has moments that hint at Garrett’s greatness. Despite its saccharine intro, “Song #8” shines brightly as it kicks into bebop high gear. The spunky “Monk-ing Around,” featuring legendary vibist Bobby Hutcherson, is a burst of aural sunshine. And the closing “Brother B. Harper” burns with Coltranelike intensity. In concert, Garrett is never sparse with heat and friction. A scintillating live player known for bristling improvisations and visceral wails and screams, Garrett dances around in up-tempo pieces—and can stroke a ballad with the utmost tenderness. Garrett performs at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, May 31; at 8 p.m., 10 p.m., and midnight Saturday, June 1; and at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday, June 2 at Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $24. (202) 337-4141. (John Murph)