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Payton Brings the "Fun Ride" of "Into the Blue" to NPR's "Favorite Sessions"

Nicholas Payton: Into the Blue [cover]

Nicholas Payton sat down with WBGO-Newark producer Josh Jackson for a 40-minute interview and performance last fall, fresh from recording his Nonesuch debut, Into the Blue. With the album out this week, the show is now available at as part of the Favorite Sessions series, on which public radio hosts from around the country present their favorite in-studio sessions.

"I'm always looking for unique moments, times and places when musicians are creating at a high level, and try to bring those moments to anyone who will listen," says Jackson. "This was the moment to get them," he says of Payton and the band. "The iron was hot."

Jackson continues:

Into the Blue shows a creative musician who knows himself, working with band mates who truly understand each other. That combination makes for a fun ride. The music's underlying rhythms are another key to its friendly vibe ... This music is actually danceable, a rare treat for jazz that sounds like now.

Summing up their interview, Jackson reports: "Payton has a keen perspective on the mind of an improviser, and he lays it all out in this session."

To listen to this Favorite Sessions episode, visit