Nicholas Payton continues the tradition of Black American Music on his new album Drip. A fresh take on six previously recorded original compositions. Like most of his projects, Payton performed on several instruments, showing off his chops on the Fender Rhodes Keyboard and trusty Flugelhorn.
The idea for a sweet, slick reworking of the tracks came in 2021 when Payton found himself stuck in Atlanta after a show, his return to New Orleans stalled by Hurricane Ida. Making the most of his downtime and his location, Payton sought out a studio session with musicians who had the precision and soul to capture the energy of signature R&B classics pioneered there.
Released on September 28th, 2023 via Paytone Records, this marks Payton’s 26th album as a bandleader, and counting, as he seemingly drops an album every year. The last few years have been particularly fruitful to Payton as an artist, he’s released 5 albums since 2020, including Drip.
- Quarantined with Nick (Paytone, 2020)
- Maestro Rhythm King (Paytone, 2020) [limited edition album]
- Smoke Sessions (Smoke Sessions, 2021)
- The Couch Sessions (Smoke Sessions, 2022)
- New Standards, Vol. 1 with Terri Lyne Carrington, Kris Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Matthew Stevens (Candid, 2022)
Reimagined under the R&B genre, Payton’s added elements of hip-hop, neo-soul and modern fusion bring new light to the songs, along with the help of Robert Glasper (Fender Rhodes), Patrice Rushen (Keys and Vocals), and Michael Franks (Vocals). The latter collaborating for the first time on the final song of the album, “Visible Light“ a throwback of sorts to the R&B legends and the day’s of quiet storm radio.
Before visible light, listeners were treated to another rare collaboration between Payton and Glasper on the meditative and mantra-like tune “The Backward Step.” While not the first time the two collaborated, this marks the first studio recording between Payton and Robert Glasper. Despite having a connection that dates back decades, the track is a landmark in their musical relationship.
“I was one of the first people to take him on the road,” Payton says. “I’m proud to see what he’s doing for Black culture. As much music as we’ve made over the years, I believe this is our first time on a record together.”
Backed by Lil’ John Roberts (Drums), Phil Davis (Auxillary Keys), Derek Scott (Guitar), and Tres Gilbert (Bass), the result of Drip is a raw and soulful, but precise, execution of ideas, plied by masters of the format.