Nicholas Payton at the Ent Center show preview 

click to enlarge Saturday, March 7, 7 p.m., 5225 N. Nevada Ave., - $20-$69.75, 255-3134, uccspresents.org
  • Saturday, March 7, 7 p.m., 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $20-$69.75, 255-3134, uccspresents.org

Nicholas Payton has a blog called “The Cherub Speaks,” but his observations aren’t always that angelic. The groundbreaking, Grammy-winning trumpeter/singer/composer’s formidable talents go hand-in-hand with an iconoclastic attitude, both musically and personally, that rejects conventional wisdom about the genre with which he’s most commonly associated.

Payton’s posts have been known to take aim at musical purists, for whom he has some sympathy but little patience. “Our whole purpose on this planet is to evolve,” he writes. “The Golden Age of Jazz is gone. Let it go. Too many necrophiliacs in Jazz. You’re making my case for me.” Yikes.
Payton has called his own work “Postmodern New Orleans Music,” a style flexible enough to incorporate an eclectic array of genres, including hip-hop, R&B, blues and, yes, jazz. While other artists have taken that kind of approach with varying degrees of success, Payton has the vision and talent to make it work every time.

At the Pikes Peak Center last October, he premiered his six-movement Black American Symphony with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. This time out, expect his more stripped-down ensemble to reprise a number of selections from his recent album Relaxin’ With Nick. A double-disc live set, it finds Payton setting aside his trumpet from time to time to take on vocal and keyboard duties, as he and his rhythm section mix original compositions with adventurous renditions of classics like Benny Golson’s “Stablemates” and Victor Young’s “When I Fall in Love.” Of course, Payton does specialize in defying expectations, so pretty much anything is possible. 


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