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No. 13, January 2001
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Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

Nicholas Payton Quintet
biography & CDs Nick
@Night, Payton's Place, Gumbo Nouveau
concert at the Kaufleuten, Zurich, January 11, 2001
Nicholas Payton, trumpet
 Tim Warfield, soprano and tenor saxophone
Anthoney Wonsey, piano
Reuben Rogers, bass
Adonis Rose, drums


Nicholas Payton.
 

Nicholas Payton: Nick@Night. Verve, 2000. 
Nicholas Payton: trumpet, flugelhorn, harpsichord, celeste. Tim Warfield: soprano and tenor saxophones. Anthony Wonsey: piano, harpsichord, celeste. Reuben Rogers: bass. Adonis Rose: drums. 
The album offers eleven melodic post-bop tunes and two interludes. The quintet has played together since 1995 and their blind understanding pays off. Anthony Wonsey plays not only the piano, but on some tracks the harpsichord and the celeste, which are very unusual instruments in jazz. Payton's music has still a Wayne Shorter-edge, adapted to the taste of the year 2000. Melody, swing and, according to the times, some Latin flavor, are the album's ingredients. Beyond The Stars lives up to its title, as well as the funny
Captain Crunch (Meets the Cereal Killer), with the joyful and flamboyant trumpet playing by Payton as its highlight. Faith is an introspective ballad, Pleasant Dreams a joyful and entertaining tune, like the title song Nick@Night. Somnia is a ballad which perfectly illustrates its title. Exquisite Tenderness is a calming ballad. The last title, Sun Goddess, is the only tune not written by Payton or another member of his Quintet. Wonsey plays the harpsichord on it. Prince of the Night was written by Adonis Rose, Blacker Black's Revenge by Anthony Wonsey (and therefore, the piano plays a vital role). The two short interludes are swinging and funky. Get it from:
- Amazon.com,
- Amazon.co.uk,
- Amazon.de,
- Directmedia Schweiz.
 

Nicholas Payton: Payton's Place. Verve, 1998.
Recorded with his Quintet and, on The Three Trumpeters, together with to Roy Hargrove and Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, besides Payton himself. The tunes composed by Wayne Shorter and others are more convincing than the post-bop originals written by Payton. Still, this effort to try to stand on his own feet is positive. With Joshua Redman, another "young lion" is part of the album. Get it from:
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
- Directmedia Schweiz.
 

Nicholas Payton: Gumbo Nouveau. Verve, 1996.
It contains freshly arranged traditional New Orleans music in a modern vein. Get it from:
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
- Directmedia Schweiz.
 
Added on February 12, 2002:
Nicholas Payton: Dear Louis. Verve, 2001. Get it from Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Directmedia Schweiz.
Biography
 
Nicholas Payton was born in 1973 in a musical family. His father is a jazz and classical bassist, his mother is a former opera singer and classical pianist. Both graduated from Xavier University. His father began to teach Nicholas the trumpet when he was 4. At 9, Nicholas had the opportunity to play with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band. At 12, Payton impressed Wynton Marsalis, who was calling his father, with his trumpet over the phone. Later, Wynton recommended Nicholas to other bandleaders and Payton even joined Wynton's band. Nicholas played in the historic French Quarter and at Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans.
 
Wendell Brunious influenced Payton and his fusion of traditional New Orleans music with bebop. Other musical inspirations include Clyde Kerr, an instructor at NOCCA, Leroy Jones, Teddy Riley, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Payton feels attracted by musicians who transport emotions. At the same time, he is attentive to his melodic playing.
 
Payton graduated from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and studied with Ellis Marsalis as well as with Harold Battiste and Victor Goines at the University of New Orleans. Another influence on Nicholas was trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, whose band Payton later joined. At 16, Nicholas played with pianist Marcus Roberts. Clark Terry, Art Blakey and Carl Allen are other musicians with whom Payton worked. In 1992, Payton toured in the United States with Marcus Roberts and in Europe with Jazz Futures II. In 1991, Jazz Futures had united some "young lions" like Roy Hargrove, Carl Allen and Benny Green.
 
In 1992, Payton became a member of Elvin Jones' band and, very soon, at the age of 19, became its music director, a position he held until 1994. Among the band members was Ravi Coltrane. Payton called these years his first experience with a regular touring band. At the same time, Payton was also playing and touring with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and appeared with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band as well as the Newport Jazz Festival All Stars.
 
Among Payton's recordings are albums with Elvin Jones as a leader and with the New Orleans Collective. In 1994 Payton's Verve debut album From This Moment was released, with standards and original compositions by Payton. Gumbo Nouveau followed in 1996, with its reference to the traditional New Orleans music. Payton was part of the film as well as the soundtrack of Robert Altman's Kansas City (1996). Payton's live album with the late trumpeter Doc Cheatham, who was over 90 years old when he recorded it, came out in 1997. For Stardust, they won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo in 1997. In 1998, Payton's Place with Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, another young lion, was released. The same year, together with Christian McBride on bass and Mark Whitfield on guitar, Payton recorded the album Fingerprints, dedicated to the music of Herbie Hancock. Payton's latest CD is the 2000 release Nick@Night. Payton's next album will be dedicated to the music of Louis Armstrong, whose centennial of birth we are about to celebrate in 2001. It will consist of original arrangements. (check the short reviews on the left).
 
Concert at the Kaufleuten, Zurich, January 11, 2001
 
At the Kaufleuten, the Nicholas Payton Quintet had to deal with some acoustic problems when it presented its traditional and post-bop jazz. During two hours, Nicholas Payton, trumpet, Tim Warfield, soprano and tenor saxophones, Anthony Wonsey, piano, Reuben Rogers, bass and Adonis Rose, drums, played eleven compositions, including two encores.
 
They started off with Zigaboogaloo, recorded on the album Payton's Place. It set the mood, nothing excitingly new or unusual, but entertaining and melodic tunes were to come. For the first half of the concert, the structure of the songs remained the same: the quintet first featured the trumpet, then the saxophone, followed by a trio part including only piano, bass and drums, in the end, the quintet presented itself again in full strength. On Zigaboogaloo, Warfield's saxophone sounded pale.
 
Second came Wild Man Blues, a standard by Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Payton had recorded it for Robert Altman's film with the same title and with the quintet on their 1996 album Gumbo Nouveau. In the beginning, Payton showed off his qualities with a brazen sound. He was the only one who added a flamboyant touch to a sometimes lukewarm performance. When piano, bass and drums played their trio part, their profound understanding of each other became evident. But it was Payton who added character, color and force to the sound.
 
Blacker Black's Revenge, written by pianist Anthony Wonsey and recorded on the quintet's latest release, Nick@Night, was next. Tim Warfield played the soprano and not the tenor saxophone for the first time, which allowed him to step out of the shadow of Payton and perform on the same level of virtuosity as the trumpeter: a highlight of the evening. Piano, bass and drums also contributed their fair share to the success of the tune with their fast paced middle section with a clear cut sound.
 
After this hot playing came a cooler and calmer tune with the warm, but at times also aggressive trumpet at the center. Payton's virtuosity came with ease. Then, the quintet turned to an elegant composition with a melancholic touch written by Ramsey Lewis in the 1970s. Thereafter, the musicians turned again to one of their own compositions, Concentric Circles, recorded on Payton's Place. For the first time, the tune had a different structure than the one outlined above. Besides a drum solo, there was little melody until Payton's trumpet joined in, when it made sense again. Another entertaining drum solo followed towards the end.
 
Love Walked In, a standard featuring a thoughtful pianist and, later, an elegant trio play with bass and drums joining in, was the only tune performed without the wind section. Bass and drums had their solo moments too. Warfield's The Magic Bag and Payton's Sun Goddess (from Nick@Night) were other compositions played that night. Especially the melodic Sun Goddess, in contrast to the version on the album played without a harpsichord, convinced with dreamy and warm saxophone and trumpet sounds.
 
As the first encore, the quintet offered the elegant Night Train. It was less the evocation of the distinctive sound of a train that fascinated than Payton's forceful playing. In the second encore, it was again the trumpeter who added some magic to the performance. At the Kaufleuten, The Nicholas Payton Quintet presented itself as a homogenous group, with the trumpeter as the man adding a touch of glamour. As expected, it was no evening of groundbreaking jazz, but certainly an entertaining one.
 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 13, January 2001
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.