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Nicholas Payton Performs in One of "Most Exciting Sets" at Jammy Awards (AP), Featured in "All About Jazz"

Nicholas Payton trumpet foreground

Last Wednesday, Nicholas Payton performed in what the Associate Press calls one of "the most exciting sets" at the seventh and final Jammy Awards, honoring the best in improvised music. It was an event that made headlines for reuniting all four members of Phish, who picked up a lifetime achievement award at proceedings at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Payton joined former Phish keyboardist Page McConnell and fellow jazz luminaries Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, and James Carter in a jazz tribute. For more on the evening's events, visit

Payton recently spoke with All About Jazz contributor R. J. DeLuke about his career and the making of his newly released Nonesuch debut, Into the Blue, which the site says shows the trumpeter "as a thoughtful composer and a player who pays as much attention to his sound as his plentiful technique."

Here, Payton offers his take on the challenge facing contemporary jazz musicians: that of honoring the past while still forging something new:

We as musicians of today have to negotiate in this great legacy we come from. When you talk about guys who have done so much with the music, like Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Bill Evans, Chet Baker ... I think the challenge for the younger musician is to learn from and understand what's come before, but not be bound to that as the only means of expressing what you have to say ... I think that's what a lot of guys from the current generation are negotiating. What we love and what is considered jazz music. Only time will tell where this is going and how this will all pan out.

To read the full interview, visit