Title - ‘Sonic Trance’ (Warner Bros.)
Artist - Nicholas Payton
With his new release, Sonic Trance, Nicholas Payton has gone as far as anyone in the direction of a genuinely new approach. Interestingly, Payton appears to be in it for the long haul. This disc is a kind of documentation of what's happening with him and his working band (Payton, trumpet, flugelhorn, effects; Tim Warfield, tenor and soprano sax; Kevin Hays, keyboards; Vicente Archer, bass; Adonis Rose, drums; Daniel Sadownick, percussion; Karriem Riggins, sampler). An interesting mix of players, to be sure. For example, Karriem Riggins, himself a young drummer of note, in this band is relegated to sampled sounds. Kevin Hays, who started out as just another young-lion post-bop pianist, is heard almost exclusively on electric keyboards. Daniel Sadownick, a percussionist of note, provides a much richer percussive underpinning than I've ever heard from him before. So, what does it sound like? A heady stew of tradition and wild experimentation. Take "Blu Hays," the closest thing to a straight jazz number. It cooks along with a traditional acoustic walking bass, but Hays tweaks his piano with weird effects, Sadownick lays down a killer percussion base, and Payton solos with wild abandon. Other numbers, such as "Stinkie Twinkie (remix)," venture much farther into musical hinterlands, with equally startling effect. All in all, there's a suite-like thing going on as songs tend to fade into one another. Maybe not the last word in the ‘Nu Jazz,’ but certainly a bold statement from a band to contend with.