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Nicholas Payton – In Conversation


If there is one artist who has never conformed to anything or anyone, and never changed himself it would be the trumpeter from New Orleans by the name of Nicholas Payton. If you read any of his Facebook posts or tweets, you could see that for yourself. He is someone who will always speak his mind, and when others may try to challenge his views, he will always retort. This same outspoken nature of his is what allowed him to create the great material with most likely the most controversial title and tracks that he has ever created in the name of “Bitches”.

Now, you may be thinking that “Bitches” would be hard to listen to. However, what a listener can expect to hear is a pleasant and unique take on Jazz that will not conform to the traditional boundaries this genre would expect. The trumpeter does not stick to his famous instrument and instead uses any and all within the collection of music provided in “Bitches”, while also bringing on many others to be featured on the track. Artists and singers include Chinah Blac, N’Dambi, Cassandra Wilson and even the Grammy award winning Esperanza Spalding, making this probably one of the greatest listens that I’ve ever had.

It is a mixture blend of Funk, Jazz, Neo Soul and R&B with the inclusion of pop music to create such an enthralling listen, you would be surprised to have loved it so much. It is a mixture of music with a hint of love, and you cannot possible hope to listen to anything else once it has begun, with songs such as “By My Side” which is shades of 80’s funk, it is surprising you haven’t heard this track before. There are others such as “Freesia” which was clearly made with groove more in the mind, becoming a catchy number that features Esperanza Spalding. It is definitely considered one of the catchier and probably better tracks on the album. The song “Togetherness Foreverness” includes N’Dambi and is definitely the best song on the entire album. It is so melodic and sexy, letting Jazz become what it truly is. A collection of instruments designed to tug at a musical chord in your heart and mind that you cannot truly grasp.

“Shades of Hue” is a song on the album that features Payton’s classic trumpet solos. This is the most classy, elegant and attractive solo you can imagine, which is his signature style. Perhaps that is a bit hyperbolic, but you can imagine what I am trying to convey about this solo. Before we hit the middle of the album we also have “Indigo” and “You Are The Spark”. While they are eloquent and wonderful numbers, as good as they are it is easy to say they are the worst numbers on the album. What I need to stress however in this case, is the worst on this album is definitely the best on other Jazz albums.

Jazz Song Book ensures to show as much love to jazz songs as possible, so one incredible song I must not skip is “The Second Show (Adam’s Plea)”. This goes almost beyond a true jazz song, almost turning into a synth song with a mixture of early 2000’s R&B. What I can say is just how much I love this song. It is so inorganic but in an almost organic way. It is incredible. It is a song that I would listen to anywhere and I would always take the same mood out from it. And that mood is thrilled and delighted. Another song on this album that is an under looked gem is “Flip The Script”. I am sure I have heard a hundred remixes of this song since it came out, but this is by far one of the more modern jazz songs I’ve heard in a while.

This album is wonderful, and us here at Jazz Song Book cannot recommend it more! Listen to this album! 5/5