Saturday, October 24, 2009

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Three views of Nicholas Payton

This week, we've got three video clips featuring trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who will be in St. Louis on Saturday, November 7 to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. A New Orleans native, Payton covers a lot of musical bases, from funk to bop to the traditional styles of his hometown. He's been to St. Louis before, most recently in February of this year, when he played the Sheldon as part of the Blue Note 7, and also has played at Jazz at the Bistro a couple of times in recent years.

For those who may just be getting to know Payton, these three clips show trumpeter in three different musical contexts. The first was recorded in November 2008 at Widder Bar in Zürich, Switzerland, and features Payton's quartet performing "Nida," a song from his CD Into The Blue. He's joined by bassist Vicente Archer, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and drummer Marcus Gilmore, who spurs on Payton, puts some real stank on the funk groove, and gets a little second-line feel in there in places, too.

Down below is a clip recorded in September, 2007 at Piety Street Studios in New Orleans during the sessions for Into The Blue. The song is "Drucilla," a ballad written by Payton's dad, bassist Walter Payton, for which the trumpeter uses a mute, dialing down the volume but retaining intensity. It's the same band as in the live clip above, with the addition of pianist Kevin Hays.

Finally, in the third clip you can see Payton playing a modern bop/blues on a funk-to-swing version of the classic Milt Jackson tune "Bags' Groove." There's no date indicated, but from the look of it, I'd say it's from the 1990s. Hearing how a musician approaches a well-known tune can often provides useful insight into their musical personality, and here Payton shows off a bright tone and a high energy level while getting around the horn quite nimbly.

A couple of additional notes: Back in 2001, Payton fronted a centennial tribute to Louis Armstrong that toured around the country with new arrangements of songs associated with Armstrong written for a 12-piece ensemble. YouTube has three videos of the tribute group that, while very different from what I'd expect Payton to do here in St. Louis, are worth a look and a listen. Check 'em out here.

Also, the Sheldon is offering a half-price special on tickets for Payton's concert; for details, check out this post.

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