Nicholas Payton

Payton's Place

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Nicholas Payton's third album as a leader is assuredly more commanding than his previous projects, and his technically flawless trumpet is right among the leaders in the neo-bop field. Yet he remains essentially a preservationist, a throwback to the hard bopping '50s and '60s and a staunch believer in the orthodoxies and rituals involved. There are exceptions -- a nice '60s Blue Note-style boogaloo for starters ("Zigaboogaloo"), a probing, driving, tempo-shifting workout on Wayne Shorter's "Paraphernalia" from Miles in the Sky (which is about as progressive as the record gets) -- but conservatism prevails elsewhere, even in the mild-mannered cover of the Stylistics' "People Make the World Go Round." In a takeoff on the Three Tenors, "The Three Trumpeteers" finds Payton joyously uniting and dueling with Wynton Marsalis and the ubiquitous Roy Hargrove; thankfully, one can tell them apart by ear despite the orthodox hard bop format. Pianist Anthony Wonsey, hard-nosed tenor saxman Tim Warfield, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Adonis Rose expertly do what is expected of them, joined now and then by the above two guest trumpeters and another stock member of the Young Lions cast, tenor Joshua Redman.

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