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Nicholas Payton

One of the brightest new trumpet stars to emerge in the 1990s, Nicholas Payton combines references to his New Orleans heritage with the Young Lions' brand of hard bop and a warm sound. His father Walter Payton, a top bassist, and his mother (a classical pianist) encouraged his interest in music and he received his first trumpet when he was four. Payton developed quickly and at age nine he had opportunities to sit in with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band. One day when Payton was 12, Wynton Marsalis called to speak to his father; Nicholas spontaneously played his trumpet over the phone, impressing Marsalis who in the future would recommend him to other bandleaders. Payton worked steadily in New Orleans while in high school; he graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and studied with Ellis Marsalis. In 1992 he toured with Marcus Roberts, in 1994 he toured Europe with Jazz Futures II, and in addition Payton toured with Elvin Jones and worked with the Jazz at Lincoln Center program. He has recorded with Jones, as a leader on Verve, and with the New Orleans Collective on Evidence. Payton's Place, which featured cameos by Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, appeared on Verve in 1998; Nick@Night followed two years later. A commission to explore the works of Louis Armstrong resulted in the 2001 recording, Dear Louis. Scott Yanow

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