sabato 29 ottobre 2011

Intervista a Nicholas Payton

Il trombettista Nicholas Payton pur essendo stato catalogato tra i tradizionalisti, essendo stato uno dei principali protagonisti del movimento dei Young Lions, sta cercando gradualmente di allontanarsi da questa etichetta.
Ciò è particolarmente evidente nel suo ultimo album, Bitches, un progetto infuso con profonde sonorità R&B, che viene alla luce solo ora dopo anni di travaglio, completamente rimixato dopo essere stato rifiutato dalla celebre etichetta Concord.
Nell'album, che sarà pubblicato il prossimo 8 novembre dall'etichetta tedesca In and Out, Payton prende una strada completamente differente da quella che ha caratterizzato la sua carriera finora; per questa occasione egli canta, suona tutti gli strumenti, ha composto tutte le musiche, ha scritto le parole e prodotto l'album.
Per presentare l'album Payton ha concesso una lunga intervista al sito Something Else! di cui pubblichiamo un'estratto:

Nick DeRiso: Bitches moves around within the black-music aesthetic, sounding at times like soul, like jazz, like quiet storm, like funk. That’s clearly surprised some people who like to pigeonhole performers who come out of the jazz tradition.
Nicholas Payton: As always, my desire is to reach as many people as possible. Regardless of whatever type of record I’ve made, I’ve always had that in mind. I always tried to create what I thought was very beautiful music, something that felt good — something that inspired them to dance or to be reflective, if they wanted to. That was always the goal, so the new album is something I have been working toward for quite some time. For me, it’s not quite a surprise. It seems like the natural progression from where I wanted to go. If you look at certain elements of my records, in terms of my love for R&B in the past, I have recorded songs and covered songs within the idiom. I have included lots of different textures on my records. To me, this is the natural progression from where I have been headed for a while. It’s very groove-oriented, sensual, feel-good music. I can see the idea of it being not a so-called “jazz record” might be jarring to some, but I think it’s within the tradition of Nicholas Payton records.
DeRiso: You were originally part of the so-called Young Lions movement, though, which seemed to value that traditional approach over all else. Did you feel closed in by that?
Payton: I’ve always shunned that movement. It was nothing we decided to be a part of of. It was thrust on us. Even then, to me that always seemed silly. There was all this attention garnered around us because we were young and novel. It was kind of cool to see this kid on stage playing music perhaps for an older demographic. My whole thing was to cultivate longevity, though, not just being appreciated because it was cute that I was 20 something. I studied with the masters and learned as much about music as possible so that my career had longevity. There was a certain time where I had an intense focus on the tradition, because the older cats did not make it easy for us. They were extremely detailed in their craft, and to get a glimpse at what they did requires an intense amount of study. In order to do that, I actually put a lot of the things I loved on the back burner for number of years. I wanted to give the tradition at lot of attention, but it never made me a traditionalist — which is why it took me forever to do the Louis Armstrong tribute record (2001’s Dear Louis). Out of the gate, there were all of these comparisons. I was humbled to be thought of as an ancestor to him, but I never wanted to be pigeonholed in that way. I always wanted to dispel the notion that this music is some kind of museum piece. I do believe that I am upholding the tradition, but in my own way.
DeRiso: You ended up remixing Bitches, after the original label apparently balked at its R&B flavor and street-level subject matter. Now it’s set for release on the German In + Out label. What changes can listeners expect?
Payton: My feeling is, if you are going to do a record like this, it’s best to get the people who work within this idiom, so that’s what I did. The original was cool, but I wanted a different mix. There were certainly things that I felt could be better. I recruited Tom Soares, who’s worked with Erykah Badu (New Amerykah, parts one and two) and John Legend. It’s more beefed up; there’s a lot more bottom — and that’s indicative of this music. Frankly, it sounds like a completely different record. I think it was a good move. Not that it was bad before, but now that it has been mixed this way, I can’t imagine it another way.
DeRiso: “Freesia” from the new record, featuring Esperanza Spalding, is an older song — one that goes back to your early New Orleans band the Time Machine. That shows how R&B has been a part of your music from the first.
Payton: I don’t know if it’s the best example. Go back as a far as “When the Saints Go Marching In” on (1996’s) Gumbo Nouveau and there are R&B kind of sounds. I love sus chords; that was the prominent sound of 1970s’ R&B — and that was the first chord on the first record. That’s how it all started (on 1994’s From This Moment). I’ve always favored that. When I reharmonize tunes, I do so with that sensibility. That’s what I love. I was heavily influenced by guys like Herbie (Hancock) and (Wayne) Shorter. They were not credited with it, but they are the ones who wrote the first R&B chords — those sounds now associated with guys like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
(continua a leggere l'intervista sul sito originario)

Ecco il video di Give Light, Live Life, Love tratto dall'album Bitches

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