Trumpeter Nicholas Payton started out years ago as a musician known for being steeped in the traditions of his New Orleans origins. The young lion" of about fifteen years ago had a brash, bold sound. He even produced a Luis Armstrong tribute--Dear Louis
(Verve, 2001)--and did an album working with the classy Armstrong contemporary Doc Cheatham - Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton
(Verve, 1997). But he continued to grow and explore other avenues, showing contemporary influences with the release of Sonic Trance
for Warner Brothers records in 2003.
While continuing to explore musical avenues, his playing got better and better, consistently placing him among the favorites in polls of fans and critics. Now, with the release of Into the Blue, on Warner's Nonesuch imprint, Payton says he is displaying various approaches in music that he enjoys. It's a solid disc of ten tunes, mostly from the pen of Payton. Even thought he admits going into the project with no specific direction in mind, Into the Blue emerges showing Payton as a thoughtful composer and a player who pays as much attention to his sound as his plentiful technique. It's a very solid album.
AAJ contributor R.J. DeLuke spoke with Payton about the making of Into the Blue, as well as his earliest days and meteoric rise to become one of today's top trumpeters.
Check out Nicholas Payton: Playing Strong and Playing Blue at AAJ today!