JAZZBO NOTES RECOMMENDED RECORDING
It is not always necessary to innovate. There is a place for straight ahead renderings of existing styles, especially if they are played with energy and taste. That’s where Payton’s Place fits in.
As it’s title would suggest, Zigaboogaloo is a straight up boogaloo tune that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Wayne Shorter gig from 35 years ago, albeit updated with more modern R&B rhythms. After the head, Tim Warfield (tenor), pianist Anthony Wonsey and Nicholas Payton himself on trumpet take turns improvising over the form, just like in those Blue Note dates of yore. The soloists all acquit themselves with tasty, melodic, gutsy improvisations. These guys would make a hell of a bar band.
The Three Trumpeteers, with guests Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, goes even further back to 50’s era bop.
We get some late 60s style post bop with a Payton original, Back To The Source, but that’s about as modern as Payton wants to get.
That’s okay. There was plenty going on in the 60s, as long as you don’t limit yourself to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, like another conservative jazzer I could name.
Take the Nicholas Payton original, Concentric Circles. Payton explores the ramifications of Wayne Shorter’s composition Pinocchio far more thoroughly than the Miles Davis Quintet did back in the 60s. Back then, Miles was content to just play the tune straight. Payton and company dig into the guts of the tune — it’s invigorating.
Lastly, Payton throws in a restrained cover of one of my favorite pop tunes, the Stylistics’ People Make the World Go Round.
The rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Adonis Rose swing in whatever style they’re asked to cover.
Payton’s Place hardly breaks new ground, but that’s not really the point. Nicholas Payton is having fun playing tribute to the music he loves, and pointing out that there’s still plenty of gold in them thar hills — nothing wrong with that. Payton isn’t a pedant like Wynton Marsalis. These tunes don’t have the musty feel of museum pieces. Payton brushes off these styles and makes them feel current without resorting to anachronisms like hip hop drumming on a standard bop tune. This is not as easy as it sounds.
Payton’s Place is never less than pleasant. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s okay as a place to hang out for an hour or so.