• Nicholas Payton's Into the Blue

    July 18, 2008. Posted by Angelika Beener.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

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    Here's an album I'm recently checking out. Jazz trumpeter and Crescent City native Nicholas Payton has a new CD out called Into the Blue. It's been five years since the trailblazing trumpeter put out his Sonic Trance which left me, for one, looking for the next thing. That album was so different from everything he had done before, so I was really curious to see what was next (there was a tribute album in between, but I'm referring to Payton's original music). Needless to say, I'm happy he's back in the spotlight.

    I checked him out at the Jazz Standard last month, playing tracks from the new record, and it was really cool. Not what I would have expected...but then again, I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a road less traveled that was paved with certainty, purpose and spontaneity all at the same time. The band included rhodes and percussion. Nicholas was singing more than a handful of tunes (yes, entire tunes) and did really interesting covers - Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" for one (yeah 80s!).

    I recently read that this is the first album Payton has recorded in his home town of New Orleans. He had always recorded in New York - far away from the distractions of home. When I listen to this album, though I don't hear overt New Orleans influence, I can still feel the inspiration of home. It's a romantic and really feel good album. Nothing contrived, or regurgitated, like some groove-oriented jazz albums. It feels fresh, even in its familiarity. My favorite tune is the ballad "The Backward Step." It almost sounds like a meditation - but with a form, which I find really interesting. The melody is extremely poetic.

    I am happy to say that I am really enjoying this record. Well worth the wait.

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