Bad penny Nicholas Payton returns with the finest release of his career.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
NICHOLAS PAYTON PRESENTS ‘SKETCHES OF SPAIN’ WITH THE SINFONIEORCHESTER BASEL ON BMF Records™
Yes...You read it correctly, Sketches of Spain is perhaps the embodiment of everything that is artistically brilliant about a trumpet player that until now has never realized his complete potential. The 1960 release from Miles Davis is reworked as a live concert with a 19 piece orchestra and includes long time running mates Vincente Archer on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums and Daniel Sadownick on percussion.
What makes the Payton "riff" on Miles work? Payton does what Payton does best, he plays trumpet. While I have remained one of a handful of writers that has never chosen to worship at the self indulgent alter of either Miles or Nicholas Payton, Sketches of Spain has never sounded better and Payton's performance is superb. You have no idea how bad it hurts to admit that.
What makes this Payton recording special is the amazing ability to take everything that is #BAM and place it on the back burner in favor of simply performing a musical exploratory on one of the greatest selling albums in modern music...and the key word being music not #BAM. While a visceral artist from the word go, Payton does an amazing cerebral take on perhaps where this music could have gone and perhaps where it can go in the future.
There is little need to break down the work into pseudo intellectual bits and pieces as only Payton knows his true artistic intent but to the passive listener this is truly old school made new cool once again. Nicholas Payton and I have had our ups and downs, mostly downs. After the smoldering wreckage over the misogynistic disaster that was "Bitches" we find Payton back in his own wheelhouse, doing it his way and at an incredibly proficient level. Love him or hate him you got to give it to him: