Trumpeter Nicholas Payton has distinguished himself over the decades as a continually evolving artist of significant vision, artistry and focus. He's a musician who knows, respects and displays his roots, knows where he's at now and where he's going creatively. Under his own BMF Records label, Payton recently released Sketches of Spain a new recording with Payton performing the Miles Davis/Gil Evans classic live--a daunting accomplishment. His original composition, Black American Symphony" is a forthcoming release. All About Jazz: Nicholas, on behalf of All about Jazz, I'd like to thank you for taking time today to speak with ...read more
Nicholas PaytonScullers Jazz ClubBoston, MAFebruary 24, 2011 Pressing the unmuted bell of his trumpet right up to the microphone, trumpet player Nicholas Payton invited, impressed, seduced and surprised the crowd at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston. Yet he never assaulted the audience, despite power and confidence to burn. Immense energy was being channeled, but never restrained. Thursday's 8:00 pm set began at the darkest ends of both register and mood. Payton's velvety low register purred into a rich free-form wash alongside Lawrence Fields on both acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes, Kris ...read more
Trumpeter Nicholas Payton started out years ago as a musician known for being steeped in the traditions of his New Orleans origins. The young lion" of about fifteen years ago had a brash, bold sound. He even produced a Louis Armstrong tribute--Dear Louis (Verve, 2001)--and did an album working with the classy Armstrong contemporary Doc Cheatham--Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton (Verve, 1997). But he continued to grow and explore other avenues, showing contemporary influences with the release of Sonic Trance for Warner Brothers records in 2003.While continuing to explore musical avenues, his playing got better and better, consistently ...read more
This is a strange mixture of an album. It includes passages of extraordinary and singular beauty and others of noodling anonymity. Practically all of the interest lies in trumpeter Nicholas Payton's performances; most of the blandness comes from his band. The two best tracks, Drucilla" and Chinatown," are so exquisitely gorgeous that they almost make up for the grey stuff. But they're outnumbered and it's a tough battle.
The approximate dividing line is keyboard player Kevin Hays. Along with bassist Vicente Archer and percussionist Daniel Sadownick, Hays was a member of the larger group featured on Payton's previous ...read more
On the surface, Nicholas Payton's Sonic Trance is a fusion band. The leader occasionally tricks out his horn with effects, pianist Scott Kinsey moves over to electric keyboard from time to time, and percussionist Daniel Sadownick does his best to establish an Agharta vibe on congas. But there is no electric guitar in Sonic Trance, and Vicente Archer lays down the groove over the course of this hour-long concert solely on acoustic bass. Every trumpet player is forced at one time or another to confront Miles' legacy, and the better the trumpeter, the closer he can get to meeting it. ...read more
The term young lion" has followed Nicholas Payton for the duration of his budding career. Fueled by urban legends of Wynton's personal involvement, pressure for Payton must now seem par for the course. Judging by Sonic Trance, his new album for Warner Bros., Payton has survived and more importantly, matured from the industry's unforgiving process. This bodes well for the trumpeter, whose purity in tone and dynamic attack testify to his technical facility. Coupled with a sense of swing that warrants Wynton's praise, Payton's roar is worthy of evaluation. More than a handful of recordings later, young lion" seems hardly ...read more
Nicholas Payton's Sonic Trance" Iridium New York City October, 17, 2003
Nicholas Payton put the Big Apple in a Sonic Trance" one cool October evening. Iridium is a delightful dining place, which also happens to host the best acts in jazz. When you're in New York, head over to 1650 Broadway at 51st Street to get the low-down in mid-town.
Trumpeter Nicholas Payton brought his latest quintet with him. He also brought some of the hippest thoughts in jazz today. His thoughts have been translated into an exciting journey of sound called Sonic Trance, ...read more
In some ways, Nicholas Payton's new Warner release, Sonic Trance, was inevitable: he says he was headed this way for quite some time. However, this record represents something of a highlight for the native of New Orleans ' a reach that grasps new uses of technology for aesthetic effect.
From the moment we first hear, 'Sonic trance, sonic trance echo through our headsets, we know we're in for something new made from something old. In Payton's case, sounds are produced in a group context using an entire age of special effects that we thought were dead and gone. ...read more
“I wasn’t interested in playing ‘tunes,’” says Nicholas Payton. “So the concept of ‘takes’ wasn’t going to work. We’d start something as I sketched it, then obliterate that and take it somewhere else. No one knew what to expect and that was what made it exciting.”
Sonic Trance firmly establishes Nicholas Payton in the jazz world of musical diversity. His first Warner release demonstrates how he has grown from traditional roots into a new escape of synthetic and acoustic textures. If art itself happens all around us, then 68 minutes of Sonic Trance sparks that art within us.
The greatest ...read more
The problem with tribute albums is that if you present a slavish recreation of an artist's style, you'll be criticized and if you try to put old wine in new bottles," critics will say you're not being true to the spirit of the originals. Classic catch-22, right?
Regardless, for his tribute to legendary, fellow New Orleans hornman Louis Armstrong, Nicholas Payton has chosen the later approach. Indeed, Payton's sprawling arrangements for his eleven-piece big band have little in common with Armstrong's landmark recordings. Payton turns Hello, Dolly" into a bossa nova, and puts a modern, almost bop spin, on classics ...read more
At the risk of stating the obvious, the best tribute albums involve musicians with their own personalities capable of interpreting the material in such a way as to bring something new and fresh to the table. That is exactly what Nicholas Payton does with Dear Louis.
And things could have come out quite to the contrary considering that on the surface this has all the trappings of a major label concept album. You know how that works, a rotating cast of characters, including some big name vocalists. Not that Dr. John or Dianne Reeves add anything all that considerable to ...read more
At the risk of stating the obvious, the best tribute albums involve musicians with their own personalities capable of interpreting the material in such a way as to bring something new and fresh to the table. That is exactly what Nicholas Payton does with Dear Louis. And things could have come out quite to the contrary considering that on the surface this has all the trappings of a major label concept album. You know how that works, a rotating cast of characters, including some big name vocalists. Not that Dr. John or Dianne Reeves add anything all that considerable to ...read more
Having been on the scene for over ten years now, Nicholas Payton has shed the “young lion” tag and evolved into one of jazz’s brightest trumpet stars. Nick@Night is another fine showcase for his lyrical tone, intelligent improvs and maturing compositional talent. A good leader has to have a good band and Payton’s regular group -- Tim Warfield (tenor sax), Anthony Wonsey (keyboards), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Adonis Rose (drums) -- have certainly developed a solid rapport over the years. Together they tackle the quicksilver bop changes of Blacker Black’s Revenge, the tender moodiness of Exquisite Goddess and the gentle ...read more
It's a promising sign to see that the revivalist movement once fronted by Wynton Marsalis has now given way to a manifold and healthier jazz outlook. A bi-product of the shifting mores, trumpeter Nicholas Payton could be considered one of a new breed of renaissance men, ready to carry the music to the next level. Like Marsalis, he hails from New Orleans. Unlike his predecessor, however, he seems to be more interested in moving jazz beyond the repertory or museum piece" syndrome, notwithstanding his propensity to dip into the Miles bag on occasion.
Nick @ Night again shows Payton's sense ...read more
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