Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Nicholas Payton: Into the Blue

Trumpeter Payton came up in the early ’90s as a much-hyped 20-something Young Lion from the Crescent City-an obvious disciple of Wynton Marsalis. Over time he has engaged in all manner of experimentation, from hard-boppish takes on New Orleans staples (1995’s Gumbo Nouveau) to a heartfelt Louis Armstrong tribute (2001’s Dear Louis) to a wah-wah-inflected paean to electric Miles Davis (2003’s Sonic Trance). Into the Blue shows the 35-year-old trumpeter dealing with seasoned authority as player, composer and bandleader.

On the moody opener “Drucilla,” he luxuriates in the ultra-slow tempo like Miles Davis on “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” playing off of Kevin Hays’ sparse piano accompaniment with a beautiful, fat tone and deliberate phrasing. Drummer Marcus Gilmore underscores the atmospheric proceedings with gentle brushwork and melodic touches with mallets on tom-toms in the down section, while also swinging effervescently beneath solos by Hays and Payton on the energized up-section that emerges midway through the piece. Payton demonstrates great command in the high register on this uptempo swing section.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published