Nicholas Payton. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Nicholas Payton.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Nicholas Payton QuintetWBGO

Nicholas Payton Quintet in Concert at the Village Vanguard

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/124495054/124553195" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nicholas Payton found his footing in jazz through its hard-swinging main stem, another in a long line of trumpeters from New Orleans to splash onto the scene with superior dexterity. But after he'd proved his hard-bop mettle, he took a fork in the road, wending his way through a form of electronic experimentalism and driving with a hip-hop approach. Now that he's in his mid-30s, he seems happy with all of it, and then some.

In 2008, Payton released a record, Into the Blue, which cast his lot between sonic worlds: swinging yet spacey, acoustic and electric in equal part. He led a band with that aesthetic in mind at the Village Vanguard: NPR Music and WBGO hosted a live radio broadcast, online webcast and archival recording of the Nicholas Payton quintet on their Wednesday night early set.

Remarkably balanced and mixed, Into the Blue finds Payton in a sweet spot "true to who I am now," he says in a recent press release. His trumpet sound is clean and tonally pure, even through mutes and effects; he's written ballads and burners alike to show off his many sides. At the Vanguard, he chose more of the no-doubt-about-it flavor of jazz; Payton called a mix of originals and standards, played mostly straight but with edgy blowing, filled with individual idiosyncrasy. With him on Into The Blue, and on stage, were Vicente Archer on bass, Kevin Hays on grand piano and Fender Rhodes (replaced live with Taylor Eigsti, playing acoustic only), Marcus Gilmore on drums and Daniel Sadownick on hand percussion.

Payton was born into a musical family in New Orleans, and even picked two of his father's tunes for Into the Blue. He studied with Ellis Marsalis in New Orleans; he impressed Wynton Marsalis in New York. His early recorded output reflected this, whether moving along the straight-ahead mainstream or working with elder statesmen such as Doc Cheatham, Hank Jones and Ray Brown. In 2003, he wrong-footed some with Sonic Trance, which veered toward a modern sort of electric fusion, steeped in R&B and hip-hop. Of late, he seems to be after a hybrid of the jazz tradition as he sees it with the leading edge he's pursued.

"My bag is no bag," Payton told Ashley Kahn for NPR in 2006. "I don't like to be boxed into a certain type of thing. Musicians in New Orleans I find to be very, very open. It's about the music and the chemistry and the camaraderie. It's not about the genre."

He had another chance to pick and choose his own norms at the Vanguard.

Set List
  • "The Backward Step" (Payton)
  • "How High The Moon" (Lewis)
  • "Triptych" (Payton)
  • "Days Of Wine And Roses" (Mancini)
  • "Jasmine" (James Black)
  • "Moment's Notice" (Coltrane)
Personnel
  • Nicholas Payton, trumpet
  • Taylor Eigsti, piano
  • Vicente Archer, bass
  • Marcus Gilmore, drums
  • Daniel Sadownick, percussion
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Josh Webb, recording assistant
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Terence Blanchard is the guest on this week's Piano Jazz. Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

The Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer joins Marian McPartland to perform standards like "I Thought About You" with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530240350/530241963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Buster Williams performs at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Lawrence Sumulong /Courtesy of Jazz At Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong /Courtesy of Jazz At Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Buster Williams: The Low End Maestro

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The low end has always been terra firma for Williams, one of the all-time great bassists in modern jazz. Hear highlights of a recent set with his post-bop ensemble, Something More.

Buster Williams: The Low End Maestro

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/528918610/528942262" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

T.S. Monk performs at the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz hide caption

toggle caption Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

T.S. Monk On Piano Jazz

The percussionist dedicated this 1995 set with host Marian McPartland to his father, Thelonious Monk.

T.S. Monk On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/528135123/528136364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Carmen Cavallaro performs in 1971. Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Carmen Cavallaro On Piano Jazz

The pianist's tender style created an ideal atmosphere for romantics everywhere. In this 1989 session, he solos on his arrangement of a Cole Porter medley.

Carmen Cavallaro On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/527052788/527052981" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dee Dee Bridgewater performs at Jazz At Lincoln Center. Frank Stewart/Jazz At Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Frank Stewart/Jazz At Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Fearless And Free

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

In words as well as music, hear how seriously Bridgewater takes her role as a music mentor and how it connects to her own experience in the jazz lineage.

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Fearless And Free

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/525854612/525857247" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

2017 NEA Jazz Masters Dave Holland, Dick Hyman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Dr. Lonnie Smith (not pictured: Ira Gitler) at the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Dinner, sponsored by BMI, on April 2, 2017. Yassine El Mansouri/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center hide caption

toggle caption Yassine El Mansouri/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, In Their Own Words

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Hear how the artists honored by the NEA this year — Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dave Holland, Dick Hyman and Ira Gitler — earned their stripes and paid their jazz dues.

The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, In Their Own Words

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/524881192/524881250" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Trudy Pitts performs on this week's Piano Jazz. Andrew Lepley/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Lepley/Redferns/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

The organist performs Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" with Marian McPartland in this 1992 session.

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515756064/515756319" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barry Harris is featured in this episode of Piano Jazz. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Barry Harris On Piano Jazz

The seminal jazz pianist and educator joined host Marian McPartland in the fall of 2002.

Piano Jazz: 2/3/2017

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/513227454/513227735" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top