Nicholas Payton: Smoke Sessions
Label: SMOKE SESSIONS RECORDS
For a young Nicholas Payton, Miles Davis' 1966 album "Four & More," recorded live two years earlier at Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall, provided a template for what music could - and should - be. Now established as one of the most renowned musicians and composers on the scene himself, Payton enlisted two of the legendary musicians, bassist Ron Carter and, as special guest on two tracks, saxophonist George Coleman, to record an album of originals with them himself. Far from being a tribute or a throwback, "Smoke Sessions" is an entirely contemporary new album that vividly captures Payton's "open-eared" blend of swing, funk, soul and hip-hop influences with drummer Riggins' expansive fluidity on drums and Carter's famed rock-solid majesty on bass. Payton seizes the opportunity to engage with this recognizable voice in a variety of ways, taking on both the Miles and Herbie roles as trumpeter, pianist and keyboardist, all as a multi-instrumentalist, which has become an exciting trademark of his approach.