61

Nicholas Payton: Sonic Trance

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Nicholas Payton: Sonic Trance “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 value of this record is clearly its aesthetic journey through the fusion of many ideas framed in many styles. Some songs are mixed together as are disparate sections within a whole. The album’s compositions range from 47 seconds to over 7 minutes and if you really dig this music you won’t know the difference. It all works together.

Sonic Trance is largely built on pleasing contrasts: between sax and trumpet voices; between dislocated rhythm and rhythmic horn parts; between groove and spatial abstraction. We feel one part in able to discover the other, and the process feeds back on itself. This is especially true on three tunes that Payton divided into reprisals: “Fela,” “Cannabis Leaf Rag” and “Tantric.” The record opens ambitiously with an all-encompassing three-minute blend of musical tangents and sampling environments.

Numerous songs in this collection beg to be seen live: “Fela 1,” “Tantric” and “Two Mexicans on the Wall” – a three movement suite with a hilarious beginning of punch-drunk Mexican warblings.

Lest we forget, Nicholas Payton knows how to laugh. The first 90 seconds of “Cannabis Leaf Rag 1” bastardizes Scott Joplin enough to put the listener on the floor. The sounds in "Tantric: Lewd Interlude" step all over themselves. “Shabba Un-Ranked” makes for nice rap, although the lyrics are not exactly for a family audience. It is nice to know that Payton’s music can giggle too.

The midway mark brings us a little closer to jazz ensemble work and here, Payton’s group shines. Although the Romantic Reprise of “Séance” finds Adonis Rose in rhythmic displacement, the horn tandem of Payton and Tim Warfield soothes our ears. Rose and bassist Vicente Archer combine on “Fela 2” to provide Payton a chance to trip out on the scales of harmonic improvisation. “Tantric” provides a primal yet exploratory 4/4 feel with Kevin Hays shining on keyboards. Karriem Riggins is felt more than heard throughout this record; much of its sonic environment is owed to the taste with which he applies samplers and synthesizers.

Sonic Trance emphasizes its mission to explore the tasteful use of electronic sound in a distinct jazz foreground. “Two Mexicans on A Wall” includes a completely fluid musical backdrop from which Nicholas Payton extends his technical prowess. On “Toys in Babeland,” trumpet is used as a voice of abstract cognition – perhaps a most fitting end to a record that reaches so high.

Listen to the whole record and stay seated briefly afterwards. You may feel a bit stretched.


Track Listing: Praalude (Sonic Trance); Fela 1; Velvet Handcuffs; Cannabis Leaf Rag 1; S

Personnel: Nicholas Payton (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, bass, drums); Tim Warfield (soprano and tenor saxophone); Kevin Hays (vocals, recorder, keyboards, piano); Vicente Archer (bass); Adonis Rose (drums); Daniel Sadownick (percussion); Karriem Riggins (sampler and synthesizer).

Title: Sonic Trance | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Warner Bros.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Atticus Live!" CD/LP/Track Review Atticus Live!
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 20, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.