Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

NICHOLAS PAYTON

Bitches

2012-01-15

Nicholas Payton, the extraordinary New Orleans trumpeter, throws us a little curve ball with this release, full of soul-funk vocal numbers that feature his singing, not his horn. Oh, and by the way, he wrote every song and played every instrument in the process. He's joined by a few guest vocalists, including Esperanza Spaulding and Cassandra Wilson. There's a funk groove on some cuts and a slow, soulful sound in others--the danger being that some come off as retro-Earth Wind and Fire outtakes. Not that I dislike EWF; I remember that funky group's string of hits well and they are fun. But it seems a shame that a jazz talent such as Payton relegated his trumpet to so few appearances. I think the best songs on this record are the ones in which he gives the horn decent airtime ("Freesia," "Indigo," "You Are the Spark" and the sassy title track), plus the Cassandra Wilson number because her voice is amazing. Can't fault a guy for branching out, but I'd have rather heard a more equal trumpet-voice ratio. 1/12 Michael J.

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