Friday, August 7, 2020

Nicholas Payton

Nicholas – GRAMMY award-winning trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and essayist – was destined to be among the most essential voices in the exploration of artistic and sociopolitical intersections. Born into a musical family, Payton had been reared in an atmosphere of elders. This affinity toward those masters who’ve come before him, would inspire him throughout his career, through touring with artists like Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes or paying tribute to Louis Armstrong, but also through his sideman credits, which, to state a few, are Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Milt Jackson, Abbey Lincoln, Jimmy Smith, and Doc Cheatham, with whom he whom a GRAMMY for Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton in 1998.


A youth of the hiphop era and the sound of ‘80s soul while simultaneously immersed in playing in brass bands and nightclubs around New Orleans, Payton has presented a vast array of works—from records featuring the likes of Joshua Redman and Roy Hargrove, to collaborations with the rapper Common and drummer-producer Karriem Riggins, as well as composing and performing a large-scale piece commissioned by Prague Proms entitled the Black American Symphony.

Payton’s latest release, Relaxin’ With Nick, features Kenny and Peter Washington and was recorded live at SMOKE in Harlem. At times playing trumpet and keyboard simultaneously, Nicholas curates a set from previously recorded works and places them in the club setting with two musicians he looked up to throughout his career. Relaxin’ With Nick both intentionally bridges the gap of aesthetic and beautifully showcases facets of the legendary rhythmic section not often heard.