Nicholas Payton ~ Live In New York 24 January 2004
After five albums preaching the gospel according to Wynton Marsalis, Payton committed musical apostasy with 2003’s Sonic Trance, an album that stirred a number of mercurial solos into a strange brew of jazz, hiphop and psychedelia. With no visit to the UK since that album, this concert recording provides an opportunity to check out what the group sound like outside the studio. From the get-go they play sharp and confident: Payton and Warfield have a lot of fun with rapid unison lines and the rhythm section is as tight as an overturned screw. Scott Kinsey plays a fair amount of athletic Rhodes, but Payton’s the star here, his trumpet alternately clean and clear and squeezed through various filters is as fleet as blue-tinged quicksilver. Live and without the polished sheen of the studio, the group come over as a little less radical than the impression conveyed by Sonic Trance, but this band remains a pleasure.