Sonic Trance (Warner Bros)

Nicholas Payton

Released September 9, 2003

Grammy Nominee Best Contemporary Jazz Album 2004




As bold and controversial as Miles opening for the Grateful Dead, Nicholas Payton blows his trumpet for the hip-hop generation with Sonic Trance, his seventh album and first for Warner Bros.

Track Listing:

1. Praalude (Sonic Trance) (Nicholas Payton) 2:46

2. Fela 1 (Nicholas Payton) 7:10

3. Velvet Handcuffs (Nicholas Payton) 3:48

4. Cannabis Leaf Rag 1 (Nicholas Payton) 3:43

5. Séance (Nicholas Payton) 5:31

6. Tantric (Lewd Interlewd) (Nicholas Payton) 1:14

7. Shabba Unranked (Nicholas Payton) 1:13

8. Séance (Romantic Reprise) (Nicholas Payton) 2:12

9. Fela 2 (Nicholas Payton) 5:42

10. Tantric (Nicholas Payton) 5:52

11. Blu Hays (Vicente Archer / Nicholas Payton / Adonis Rose) 7:09

12. Stinkie Twinkie (Nicholas Payton) 3:05

13. Spiral (Nicholas Payton) 0:36

14. Peeping Tim (Vicente Archer / Kevin Hays / Nicholas Payton / Adonis Rose / Daniel Sadownick / Tim Warfield) 4:21

15. Cannabis Leaf Rag 2 (Nicholas Payton) 1:57

16. Two Mexicans on the Wall: Too Much Tequila/Sleeves Too Long, Pants Too (Nicholas Payton) 7:28

17. Exorcism (Nicholas Payton) 0:46

18. Toys in Babeland (Nicholas Payton) 3:39


Nicholas Payton: vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, bass, drums

Tim Warfield: soprano and tenor saxophone

Kevin Hays: vocals, recorder, keyboards, piano

Vicente Archer: bass

Adonis Rose: drums

Daniel Sadownick: percussion

Karriem Riggins: sampler and synthesizer

Recorded at Right Track Studios, New York, NY

Producer: Nicholas Payton

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered: James P. Nichols

Recording Engineers: Joe Salvatto, Jay Spears, Chris Fama

Mastering: Mark Wilder

Mixing: Daryl Dickerson

Cover Illustration: Kiku

Photography: Adam Weiss


On the surface, Nicholas Payton’s Sonic Trance is a fusion band. The leader occasionally tricks out his horn with effects, pianist Scott Kinsey moves over to electric keyboard from time to time, and percussionist Daniel Sadownick does his best to establish an Agharta vibe on congas. But there is no electric guitar in Sonic Trance, and Vicente Archer lays down the groove over the course of this hour-long concert solely on acoustic bass. Every trumpet player is forced at one time or another to confront Miles’ legacy, and the better the trumpeter, the closer he can get to meeting it. Nicholas Payton succeeds with originality, clarity and a fresh eclecticism. 
Miles is quoted briefly by saxophonist Tim Warfield on “Blu Hays,” but the influences range much farther. Hugh Masekela and Fela Kuti on a track named for the Afrobeat legend, Scott Joplin and “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” on “Cannabis Leaf Rag,” and Monk on “I’m Trying to Swing as Little as Possible,” which if judged relative to its title, fails utterly; Warfield can’t help himself. “Two Mexicans on the Wall” begins by quoting “99 Bottles of Beer” mariachi-style and Payton turns in a guileless performance of “Stardust” before the tune is given over to Archer’s funky wormy bass line. Warfield, featured chiefly on soprano for the first part of the disc, lets go on tenor for “Silence” before Kinsey takes over with wah-wah trombone and trumpet-splat keyboard effects. “Silence” doesn’t last long enough.

Jeff Stockton (All About Jazz)