Copyright 2001 www.cosmopolis.ch Louis Gerber All rights
Nicholas Payton Quintet
biography & CDs Nick@Night, Payton's Place,
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: 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:
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
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
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
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).
at the Kaufleuten, Zurich, January 11, 2001
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.