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#BAM Live at Bohemian Caverns: Nicholas Payton

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Nicholas Payton, now 40, has been on the short list of major trumpet players for half his life. In 2011, he achieved an incremental 15 minutes of fame when he publicly renounced the word “jazz,” proclaimed it “an oppressive colonialist slave term” and embraced “Black American Music” (“BAM”) as his preferred alternative.

Even those who did not find Payton’s self-imposed semantic crisis particularly interesting or relevant or well argued will not be able to approach his new album outside the context of the “‘BAM’ controversy.” Yet what is most remarkable about this live trio recording is how conventional and even bland it is. Payton has spoken of “launching a movement,” but there is nothing very ambitious here, let alone revolutionary.

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