Nicholas Payton: Chinatown




Nicholas Payton (trumpet)


Into The Blue (Nonesuch 439100)

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Nicholas Payton (trumpet),

Kevin Hayes (piano, Fender Rhodes), Vicente Archer (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums), David Sadownick (percussion)


Composed by Jerry Goldsmith


Recorded: New Orleans, released 2008


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Nicholas Payton, hailed by some as a young lion of jazz trumpet, takes a fresh approach in this offering. Predominately blues-based, Into The Blue is true to its name. "Love Theme from Chinatown," as originally titled, was the centerpiece of Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated score for Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974) starring Jack Nicholson. The soundtrack featured a memorably haunting trumpet solo played brilliantly by the underrated studio musician Uan Rasey with orchestration.

Nicholas Payton unabashedly takes on this challenge and confidently navigates the song's bittersweet sensibilities, creating a sensuously delicious mood of sultry, slow-steamed blues blended with the mystery of a Raymond Chandler novel. Conjuring up a shadowy back alley, Payton luxuriates in the mood with a deeply evocative tonal range that remains sparse yet elicits great feeling. No technical gymnastics here, just a soulful sound reminiscent of Terrence Blanchard's best scores. The subtle rhythm backing is marvelously in keeping with Payton's sensitivity, a quality too rarely displayed by today's trumpeters. Payton shows great savvy in choosing such subtle but penetrating music that somehow has been overlooked by others. It makes a wonderful vehicle for his artistry.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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  • 1 LARRY C. RUSSELL // May 10, 2009 at 05:01 AM
    The trumpet solo from the first time I saw Chinatown reminded me of Bobby Hackett, and for many years I wondered if it was, though I didn't think it was him for no credit for the haunting trumpet was given, only the orchestra/music direction of Jerry Goldsmith. Your comments regarding the outstanding trumpet play by Uan Rasey could only be an understatement without a doubt. This individual should have been a solo act as Hackett or Severensen.