Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Much Ado About Nicholas Payton

Nicholas Payton
I first heard Nicholas Payton many years ago;he was one of two trumpeters (the other being Scotty Barnhart, if memory serves) with pianist Marcus Roberts' band at Blues Alley in Washington D.C. (I believe he was 16 years old at the time.) He didn't make that much of an impression on me, except that he sounded very good for a 16 year old trumpeter. Years later, I heard Payton with his own band, and by then, he was a true virtuoso, unquestionably one of the greats on the scene. I also discovered that he played upright bass; not "sorta", but really played as if bass was his main axe. Then I heard him play drums; he effortlessly smoked a roomful of "real" drummers during a jam session on a jazz cruise. And then, I was asked to sub in his band for a week at Jazz Alley in Seattle, and during a sound check, got to hear him play more piano than most "real" piano players(including ME, arguably...)! As if all of that weren't enough, I worked with the Nicholas Payton Big Band, and got to hear Payton sing! Indeed, Payton brings new meaning to the word "multi-talented." (And I haven't even mentioned his compositional or arranging skills.)

Payton's latest album, "Bitches" is probably a surprise to those who are only aware of Payton as a mainstream jazz trumpeter. I was aware of Payton's move into a singer-songwriter territory when I was fortunate to be asked to sit in with his group for a concert in Grenada, Spain, in 2008. "Bitches" is, on a technical level, extremely impressive; Payton sings, plays all the instruments(I'm imagining some real and some digitally; it can be hard to tell these days) and wrote all of the lyrics and music. I'm especially amazed by Payton's vocal prowess; he clearly has an "instrument" in his voice, and not only shows that he has vocal "chops", but he has a lot of vocal expressivity  and flexibility as well. In a nutshell, if you listen to "Bitches" and remove the preconception that "this is a CD by a jazz trumpeter from New Orleans", then you close your eyes and hear a great R&B singer. 

From a production and compositional standpoint, the music on "Bitches" draws on many influences which are common to many of today's musicians: Herbie Hancock, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Stevie Wonder, D'Angelo. There are reminiscences of these artists, however, Payton has made his own statement on "Bitches". You could say, for example, that the first track, "By My Side" is an R&B tune, however, the rhythms and bass figures are a little rougher around the edges than most smoothly polished radio friendly R&B. And lyrics like this:

Don't ever want to look back
Keeps me from advancing ahead
Won't let the salt erode my spirit
Like a Zombie in Romero's Night of the Living Dead

Chinah Blac
-you don't typically hear lyrics like that in so-called commercial music. Most of the lyrics here are devoid of the banal; there's no "Baby Baby, I want to do it all night, make it feel right, out of sight" predictability.(Well, maybe with the exception of "Don't I Love You Good", but there's so much hip stuff going on musically on this track that the hook/title is just a small part of the story.)  There's an honesty and a search for truth in Payton's lyrics, as well as a sly sense of humor. And for more obvious lyrical humor, check out the New Orleans Second Line-ish title track, which features Chinah Blac:

The night before Christmas Eve
I know it must be true
'Cause I heard it from Rudolph himself
He said he got so fed up with Mrs. Claus' bull
that he cheated on her with an elf

It's cool to hear the final production from a musician with so much skill and experience (all too lacking in much of today's so called "contemporary music"). Many "jazz" musicians shy away from things like electric keyboards, or drum beats that are from later than 1959, or writing lyrics, or using sequencers and computers. I think we end up stifling our own creativity; "Bitches" above all, is a creative work, that comes from an extremely thoughtful and fearless musician. 

In an interview with Asha Brodie, Payton mentions that there was "controversy" regarding the title of the CD. The Concord label wouldn't release it, so they gave it back to Payton, who then secured a better deal with the In and Out label. I find it hilarious that the title, "Bitches" would create any controversy, since Miles Davis "Bitches Brew" has been out for over 40 years, not to mention all the other so called "obscenities" that are marketed in the U.S. without anyone batting an eye. It makes me shake my head that Concord would essentially judge a book by it's cover; while the word "Bitches" obviously might not be included in polite dinner conversation, this CD "Bitches" has so much depth musically that should far outweigh the title. (Concord is a pretty conservative label; you will see a lot of Dave Brubeck and Vince Guaraldi and various jazz singers in their catalogue. Nothing against those artists, of course, but my point is that Concord markets music to the typical American mainstream jazz audience, which is, let's face it, a lot of older white people; They probably thought that their consumers might take offense to the word "Bitches", but also would possibly listen to "Bitches" and completely miss the boat. Oh well, their loss.)

When I first met Payton personally, I thought he was rather quiet, which I mistook for shyness. I think Payton is actually quite confident, however, he is careful with his words. And he is clearly not afraid of controversy. His blog is a forum where he is regularly and eloquently writing on various issues related to music and culture. Recently, there has been much controversy around a blogpost in which Payton explains why jazz isn't cool anymore:

Jazz has nothing to do with music or being cool.
It’s a marketing idea.
A glaring example of what’s wrong with Jazz is how people fight over it.
People are too afraid to let go of a name that is killing the spirit of the music.
Life is bigger than music, unless you love and/or play Jazz.
The art, or lack thereof, is just a reflection.
Miles Davis personified cool and he hated Jazz.

My PSU colleague Darrell Grant sent me a link to this blog and wanted to know my opinion.  I think Payton is mostly right. Labeling music will ultimately limit it. I posted something a while back regarding the issue with "the name" of the music( There's a lot to think about on Payton's post, and I urge you, dear reader, to go read the entire post and form your own opinion. But I think it's clear that Payton is not saying that the music is dead, he's saying that the preconceived name and concept of "what jazz is" has clearly been dead for a long time. Unfortunately, this seemed to spark some controversy, which Payton answered in his next post(

Let me make one thing clear.
 I am not dissing an art form.  I am dissing the name, Jazz.
 Just like being called Nigger affected how Black people felt about themselves at one time, I believe the term “JAZZ” affects the style of playing. 
I am not a Nigger and I am not a Jazz musician.

What do Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gary Bartz and myself share in common? 
A disdain for Jazz.
 I am reintroducing a talk to the table of a conversation that my ancestors wanted to have a long time ago. 
It is on their shoulders that I stand.

”Jazz” is an oppressive colonialist slave term and I want no parts of it. 
If Jazz wasn’t a slave, why did Ornette try to free it? 
Jazz is not music, it is an idea that hasn’t served any of us well. 
It saddens me most that some of my friends can’t see that. 
Some of y’all who know me and I’ve even employed, stood on the bandstand with, know how important tradition is to me.
 My work speaks to that.

Again, I think Payton is on the money here; it's just the labeling that's at issue, not the music. I suppose some white folks, maybe some black folks, have trouble calling their music Black American Music. I don't have a problem with that. I do think that it might actually make things more confusing, since the vast majority of people in the world don't have a clear idea of what jazz is anyway, and if we were to all of a sudden replace "jazz" with "Black American Music", then someone watching an all white jazz band in the middle of Ohio, or even the middle of Denmark, might be scratching their heads. Obviously, there's always someone who gets sensitive when RACE enters the conversation. I also wonder whether Payton is suggesting the acronym BAM(as in , "I play BAM music"?) as an alternative. I think that's as good as calling music "jazz" or "bebop" or whatever. Words can't really describe music accurately anyway. Again, I have no problem as a musician, and especially as a teacher of history(I am not a jazz historian, by the way), recognizing that the African-American experience was crucial to the development of jazz. As long as I, a white person(see my website for photos), am still allowed to play, I don't care what it's called. (I think though, just to have perspective, if Toby Keith started calling his music "White American Music", then we might have a little problem......)

It's interesting how controversies spread like wildfire across the internet and social media: I was able to find this statement posted by saxophonist Marcus Strickland:

There's no need to equate personal struggle with death of an art form, it is a part of life - suck it up!! There's no need to equate popularity with life, either - isn't that what teenagers do?... The notion that 'jazz is dead' is an opinion. Well, here is a fact: if jazz were dead I and many of my friends (some of who say 'jazz is dead') would be dead or doing something else with our time, but we are not. There is very little need for analysis to prove death, yet the notion that 'jazz is dead' has been taking place for years. Why? Because there is no proof. If something died in 1959, it would not be up for debate in 2011. The jazz community has the potential to accept loss of what we love (we aren't fanatics) - we lose and accept the loss of loved ones day in and day out. . So if jazz were lost there would be no debate about it. Lets stop the moanin' n' groanin' and just play this music.

  I can now see why the next post on Payton's site was defensive(

You can be mad, but they are trying to steal this music away from Black people. Many of you just can’t see it. Y’all are going to wait until it’s too late to do anything about it before you realize what’s going on. Those who know me know I am generally a man of few words, but when I speak, it’s of importance.

I’m putting my ass on the line for you. Not for me. It’s you who don’t realize what’s going on who are my sharpest critics. I ain’t angry. I am trying to fight for what Duke Ellington wanted to do for this music years ago, call it Black music. Why? Because he knew back then that if we didn’t label it in a way that spoke of its origins, that years later, White folks would try to lay claim to it like it was a collective invention.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some brilliant, genius White cats that have played this music, but it’s ultimately a Black art form. What’s wrong with renaming the music in a way that puts that argument to bed once and for all? Do you think I’m the only person that ever wanted to do this? Hell no. Miles, Max, Mingus, J-Mac, Dr. Donaldson Byrd and so many others have wanted to do this for a while. They gave up because they got tired of the backlash from Blacks and Whites alike that it caused. Well you know what? As Roy Haynes says, “The time for hesitation is over.”

Later in the post, Payton acknowledges that many people besides Blacks have added to jazz. But:

Black American Music was created by Blacks, but it belongs to everyone.

I think it mostly boils down to semantics. But Payton is astute in many ways; I, being an American, even a white American,  think that certain European's notions of somehow co-opting the ownership of jazz to Europe is upsetting.(See Stuart Nicholson's" Is Jazz dead? Or Has It Moved To A New Address?", A book with which I has serious conflicts with.)I think that, like most things in America, jazz is inextricably linked with our racial history. In a way, Payton is too correct; I think Jazz was in a sense stolen a long time ago. Well, stolen......I'm not sure. But whether the music has been co-opted, or "shared", is a subject for more lengthy debates. Again, let's be real; jazz is listened to and played by a lot of white people. Blacks have deserted jazz as listeners and players in favor of more contemporary forms like R&B, Hip Hop, and Modern Gospel. 

But I believe Payton's Point is that the name Jazz limits the influence of more contemporary influences such as R&B, Hip Hop and Gospel. Indeed, I can say as a jazz educator that I can't help but notice that we are teaching kids a frozen-in-time way of looking at jazz. For example, calling a "modern" tune at a jam session means playing "Speak No Evil", which is a Wayne Shorter tune from the 1960's! So according to jazz education, Jazz stopped in 1969. 

Here's where it gets interesting;when I started playing with artists like Vanessa Rubin, Cassandra Wilson, Lonnie Plaxico, Robin Eubanks, Lenny White, Christian McBride, Stefon Harris, and Don Byron, I noticed that they were all very influenced by Black music other than Jazz of 1920-1969, particularly post 1970 to now. And they incorporated that influence into their music. And I believe that this is the NEW JAZZ; today's jazz musician should welcome R&B, Hip Hop, Gospel, and anything else that tickles their fancy. 

It might be an over generalization to say that oftentimes jazz critics(who are primarily white) miss this connection. And yet, a band like The Bad Plus(white guys, and friends of mine, I went to Banff with Ethan Iverson in 1990) or Brad Mehldau(white, I'm fairly certain) get lauded with praise if they play "rock" tunes. Believe me, I have no problem with that as well. But I do think that some white people have their limit as to how much overt blackness they can handle. The good news is that it's changing. I think it's important to acknowledge the issue. And that is EXACTLY what Payton has done with "Bitches" and his blog.

Proving my point right on schedule, a writer who I was previously unfamiliar with named Brent Black(I have no idea of his race but it's surprisingly not relevant) decided to critique Payton's philosophies and his CD in an overly defensive and shoddy way:

Concord Records made the right call in passing on the latest project. Not because Payton says things that make people uncomfortable, not because Payton attempts to stir the pot, but because the record is a horrendous train wreck. If Miles Davis could not make it work then game over. i.e. this record lacks originality.

This is just ridiculous and unfair; Payton's "Bitches" while logically could not possibly be everyone's cup of tea, shows WAY too much ability to be dismissed as a "train wreck". Payton is arguably one of the baddest musicians on the planet, and a mere jazz writer has no business talking about Payton in such a manner. It shows little understanding of the skill involved in making music, and other comments he made shows that he has no understanding or empathy of musicians:

I guess no major record deal since 2008 would make me a tad tight as well.

 There are almost no major jazz artists with major record deals for about a decade. And as Payton rebutted, a major record deal is "slavery". The music industry has been  referred to as "modern sharecropping." (That's the topic for another blog, but maybe check out Walter Yetnikoff's book "Howling At the Moon" about his tenure at Columbia Records, and how record companies keep three sets of record books to MAKE SURE that they screw musicians.)

 [Payton] uses the indignities suffered by the true pioneers of this AMERICAN art form in order to gain attention for his less than notable career.

OK, this is just pathetic. This is a great example of a jazz writer who has gotten too big for his britches. As should be clear by now, Payton is an undeniably great musician, and deserves respect.Even if he wasn't, he still deserves more respect than that. This and the other statements are purely disrespectful and meaningless. 

Here is Payton's full rebuttal ;if you have the time, read as much of Payton's posts as you can(he is an articulate and engaging writer, regardless of whether you agree with him) and make up your own mind. My mind is made up; Payton's latest CD is a tour de force of artistic importance, as well as symbolic of how we should evolve past the mid- 20th century idea of Jazz... and into the 21st century. I personally don't care what the music is called, I just want to PLAY it and LISTEN to it.....


  1. I'm not sure what Payton really thinks would change if we called what we now refer to as "jazz", Black American Music. I suppose it could result in some greater sense of solidarity amongst black musicians.

    I don't believe it would change how the black community itself participates in jazz to any great extent though. I recognize that it's probably a strange and even alienating experience to be a black musician performing for many white faces and so few black faces. It shouldn't be that way. Knowing the history of the music and all of the great black pioneers who've made the music what it is, it ought to be more celebrated in the black community. Unfortunately I don't think there's much of a concept of "art for art's sake" in the black community. Economic conditions that don't allow much leisure time make this idea an abstraction. And yes, you can say that this is a Western value anyway--- but to ask jazz musicians to play only music you can dance to or music that has some kind of R&B tinge, I say you're asking too much. Call in some funk musicians for that. People are drawn to playing jazz because it involves both emotive and intellectual capacities, not one or the other but both resting in balance.

  2. I am Brent Black. Payton equates the validity of my opinion with my race. That is racism 101. I dont pander to anyone. Not a black trumpet player, not a white record label. It is called an opinion. Payton and I agree - if you dont like it dont read it. To say an Independent deal is better than a major label deal from a business perspective is absurd and music is a business like it or not. My critique of bad r&b is just that. Payton cant sing. Its rehashed Miles Davis from 1990. It goes no where. Payton is good, not great. Real genius doesnt need to advertise. Arguing with someone that views everything in terms of race is pointless. I was turned down at a black radio station because I am white. Like Strickland said, I sucked it up and got a gig at the rock station down the street. If Payton WAS one of the baddest on the planet and a self proclaimed genius (laughable-even the reigning king of ego Marsalis doesnt go that far ) he wouldnt be so defensive. Marsalis, Harrell, Stafford, Rava, Sean Jones are five people off the top of my head that are better are far less vile, vulgar and profane then Payton. Real genius can hold a conversation on something more than a profane level. Once again - he equates the validity of my opinion with my race - racism 101. case closed. next case please. He is a sad and angry man. A troubled soul. Its sad.

  3. This piece is hilarious on a certain level because it’s so not true. It’s a clear reflection of the writer’s obvious jealousy and anger. I mean, the hubris of a White man to give me a history lesson on a music that I’m an established master in.

    this is the paragraph from payton which is clearly racist...unlike you, i publish in context. and to close in final - when someone releases an album that is a post mortem on a failed marriage and calls it "bitches" you bet a critique his so called "philosophies" there is nothing philosophical or deep about sexism and race baiting in an attempt to draw attention when you can not find publicity any where else. good luck with your site. ive never heard of you either.

  4. Thanks for sharing your opnions on the matter, and on the new record by Payton. Looking forward to checking it out later today.

  5. Well Brent, I was going to respond with a general comment here, but since you showed up in person I'll address some of your points.

    "Payton equates the validity of my opinion with my race."

    Really? I must have missed that, and if you'd point me to the relevent quote I'd be much obliged. Personally I'm inclined to question the validity of your "opinion" for other reasons, which I'll get to in a moment.

    "To say an Independent deal is better than a major label deal from a business perspective is absurd and music is a business like it or not"

    I know Nicholas personally (I live and work as a professional musician in New Orleans and he is currently a visiting lecturer at Tulane, where I taught up until last spring) and I can assure you that he's very up on the business aspects of music. Are you? It sounds like you have some misconceptions about what the reality of a "major label deal" is, especially when you play music outside the mainstream. It's true some artists (Miles Davis springs to mind) have done well financially from them, but this is more a result of sales revenues large enough that a significant portion is left over for the "talent" after the company has charged back everything possible as well as lopping off 10% for "breakage" (a practise dating back to the days of shellac 78s) and bogarting half the artists publishing and mechanical royalties. I could go on, but this has all been well documented in any number of tell-all insider books, including the one George just recommended in this post. I foget who said that the REALLY creative people at record companies are the accountants, but truer words were ne'er spoken.

    True, releasing product independently is not necessarily a passport to riches, and one is deprived of the expertise and institutional structures record companies have in placing "product." Given the current realities of the record business though, one could convincingly argue most "majors" no longer know shit about doing this either.

    "My critique of bad r&b is just that. Payton cant sing. Its rehashed Miles Davis from 1990."

    Um, no it's not, actually. In terms of construction, composition, and execution, it's very different. As a professional musician I can easily hear this. As a professional reviewer, you should be able to as well.

    "It's called an opinion."

    Exactly. A totally subjective opinion. And while everyone is entitled to one, in writing a review, one should back it up with some analysis as well. As I tell students, just saying "this sucks" is not enough.

    "Arguing with someone that views everything in terms of race is pointless."

    I'd counter this by saying that race is at the back of absolutely everything in America, so I guess we have a fundamental disagreement there. By the way, your boy Wynton is given to saying very similar things. Why do you find that acceptable coming from him and not from Nicholas? Is it because he's considered an "emminance grise" now, and is no longer a threatening you black man? because there was a time, 25 years or so ago, when he got a lot of white people's noses out of joint too?

  6. "when someone releases an album that is a post mortem on a failed marriage and calls it "bitches" you bet a critique his so called "philosophies" there is nothing philosophical or deep about sexism and race baiting in an attempt to draw attention when you can not find publicity any where else."

    I eagerly await similar critiques of Marvin gaye's "Here My Dear," the aforementioned Davis album "Bitches Brew" and of course Jelly Roll morton's Library of Congress versions of the "Murder Ballads" as similar race-baiting, sexist abominations.

    "good luck with your site. ive never heard of you either."

    Here's where you really lose me. You're a jazz critic and you've never heard of George Colligan. Doesn't speak well to issues of credibility.

  7. evidently you miss or ignore the paragraph i posted in context where he says " the hubris of a white man to tell me..." why is my race an issue? racism 101, case closed. i never said wynton was "my boy" read what was written not what you want to see. wynton is a better trumpet player and while has a massive ego issue at least speaks with an intelligent non vulgar approach that right wrong or indifferent does not cloud his message. i respect that. i review 60-75% independent releases. i happen to think this one is a train wreck. weak vocals ( he cant sing ) and a similar sound miles davis tried and failed at over twenty years ago. i find "bitches" totally offensive. perhaps "bitches" profanity and vile vulgar language is how you roll. who am i to judge but educated people should be able to have discourse without playing a tired and worn out race card. fact - no major deal since 2008. payton is good but there are plenty BETTER. real genius does not need to advertise. as i stated before, i dont pander to race, gender orientation or record label. im on no ones payroll. so i specifically address and knock down your points but i feel sure because ol nick nutz is "your boy" you will continue to defend his radical racial cyber drive bys and thats fine. as he says - if you dont like mine. dont read it. i have seen numerous people and face book publicly state that have unsubscribed to him. and based on the link he added to my site he is claims like 80,000 hits on one blog when he "may" have a little over 1000 followers. sorry...i think he is playing fast and loose with the truth. swing and a miss. you actually think he can sing? taste is subjective. tone deaf lasts forever.

  8. and for the record. i am done here. ol nick is wasting far too much of peoples time. he recently had a cyber meltdown on twitter with marcus stickland so its more people than just me that takes issue with him. i wont be checking back. dont need to. unlike payton, i dont need to justify my opinion to anyone. if you like it fine. if you dont im sure this blog will take good care of you. merry christmas.

  9. Yes, GC. There should be a movement to block the participations and opinions of (particularly) Brent Black and others that serve to divide, assault, diminish, and disrespect musicians in OUR music. The ignorance, ego and fanaticism of self-proclaimed "jazz critics" (and some so-called fans, alike) has always been astounding. These are the people we continue to allow a front row seat to our events, the access to our neighborhood, the keys tp the place next door. I remember having to step to a "highly touted(why, I could never tell you) jazz writer" that cast off the musicianship and ability of the great alto saxophonist Sylvester "Sonny Red" Kyner. He lacked such respect and hostorical perspective, that he attempted to tell me that Red wasn't as good an altoist as Greg Osby and Bobby Watson. Then, I ha to tell him that he is the type of guy that calls in to ssports talk radio, bitching about the team he claims to love, lambasting players that dedicate their lives to the game which they never have played and in most cases, only watch on tv, never attending it in a stadium. If you don't play it, you shouldn't have much to say or writte about it. You don't know what it takes to physically, mentally and spiritually produce the music we make. For those that think they do, come grab my bass and play Countdown, Giant Steps, Cherokee, or even just a Db blues. I assure you, it will sound like s**t and there will be nothing happeneing. You should get them on stage fill the audiencefor free and see how much they'd be willing to pay to be let out of that show! Brent Black is a pathetic waste of human protoplasm. Funny, how he appeared within the last year on Facebook and never put a picture up yet all ofthe musicians whose recordings he reviewed favorably were too stupid and trusting to see through his crap that they added him as a friend and then once he tried to wreck the careers and livelihoods of fellow musicians like Orrin evans and JD allen with his ignorant vitriol, some still can't see the devil for who he is and have kept him around. So here he swoops in to take swipes at Nicholas. I defriended his punk ass after he repeatedly kept writing me to compliment me on a set of liner notes I penned for Jeremy Pelt's Recording, "The Talented Mr. Pelt" and posting commentary on my wall in an overly friendly manner.

  10. LMAO! wow. talk about out of context. SORRY but I had to field this. I never tried to wreck anyone's career but thanks for giving me that kind of power - nice. I dont pander and I call out all reverse racism for what it is. Pseudo-Intellectual bullshit hiding behind race as a tired excuse. JD Allen called me an asshole for simply expresing an opinion. Orrin Evans spoke of the bad evil white power in the music business especially club owners saying there are no black club owners when he has a you tube video featuring a black club owner so which is it? yep - you wrote fantastic liner notes. and yes i think you are a world class bass player. you defriended me because of my conservative politics. man up and tell the truth. i dont give a shit about your politics, your race or your orientation. can you play? you can play its that simple. tell a half truth to justify a racial chip on your shoulder if that makes you feel good but you dont contact me personally and tell me what the issue is? thats fine your call. i couldnt care less. "our" music? i have always acknowledged the roots. i simply dont roll with the racial seperartist mentality that you do. even your boy obama doesnt do that...hypocrite. if you cant tell the whole truth you shouldnt say anything. i dont pander. not to reverse racism, white record labels or with it. away. im out because you obviously are the snake if you cant talk to me like a man. wont be back so fire away! lmao!!! ( like "i" could wreck a career,) if an artists posts something they need to be ready willing and able to defend themselves as some could take offense. cry like a "bitch" (insert an overt reference to ol nick here) cause you get called out? man up.

  11. john your opinion of my "credentials" are just that...allow me to clarify since you struggle with context. heard of george; dont follow him. i find columns that are pandering in nature boring and to the other releases you mention - that are not the topic of discussion. ol nick nutz is...nice try at deflection when your argument has so man holes a bad para-legal could kill it....later. you folks have fun patting each other on the back and telling each other how enlightened you are., that does it for me.


    Here is the title track from Payton's album. At first listen, it has the artistic value of a Cee Lo track. IMHO.

    I don't take issue with his point about race, though. I truly have no idea what it is like to be black in America, being white and Argentine. But I completely agree that jazz is a Black American art form that was born of the triumph of creativity and freedom of African Americans against an oppressive society. Historically and culturally it is so, no matter how important the contribution of a handful of white musicians to it's development.

    I get Payton's point that the name Jazz was given to it from the outside. But this music has transcended it's origins and roots, and has inspired people from all walks of life. Perhaps we should have started calling it something else at some point...


  13. Wow, this is very intriguing but I am in Japan, and I really should be asleep. All I wanted to say is that I didn't mean to place a value judgement on saying that "a writer who I was previously unfamiliar with named Brent Black." I haven't heard of a lot of people. I'm not in any way saying you are invalid because you were previously unknown to me. And I'm not surprised that you haven't heard of me. I'm a jazz musician! Even musicians I have played with haven't heard of me. Ha!
    No, my issues with you are just because your "critique" of Payton is ignorant and wrong and unfair. I will actually read some of your other writing because I would like to have something to compare. I like to at least try to see another human beings point of view. After all, like Art Blakey said, "Maybe WE'RE wrong!"
    Sorry, pal, but I think your musical impressions are way off, and you are just attacking Payton and I guess you're attacking me now. But hey,in the end, I'm still teaching and playing music, and so is Nicholas, and that's what's important.

    It's strange because I'm noticing on your site some reviews of musicians that I like, for example Anne Mette Iverson, David Smith, and McBride of course. Why so mean to Payton? I actually PLAYED with Payton, and I also played with Tom Harrell, Terrell Stafford, and Jeremy Pelt, and without diminishing those great trumpeters, I think Payton is easily holding his own and more.
    Anyway, this stuff is getting crazy and I'm jet lagged like a dog. Last note, in an argument about racism, saying "your boy Obama" is PROBABLY not advisable. I'm just sayin......

  14. George, you have a lot of class, without a doubt. Saw you play with Charles Fambrough a few years back and you were really workin' it. Went out a bought one of your CDs immediately and another since. Love you blog, too, a real class act.
    Followed a bit of the Nick Payton dust up, and I seem to share Jon Wertheim's POV: can't disagree with the substance of NP's beef, it's his tone that provokes. Of course, he may just be having fun with folks such as Mr.Black, but I think you would agree that Nick would serve his case better if he presented it with some of the classiness that you write with.

  15. ignorant? its called an opinion. you dont have to agree to respect it. like i said, i dont pander, payton cant sing. he is a terrific player but cant sing. the point you continually miss is his vulgarity and racist mentality that you pander to. is that ignorant? im not going to insult you. payton is cutting no new ground and using race baiting posts to generate interest he couldnt get any other way. its that easy. i take no offensive at your opinion of me; that would constitute caring but your own words show i am open to the music of all - i simply have different standards and as a musician you should appreciate that. when "your boy marsalis" is used towards me by the other person then "your boy obama" is appropriate in context. if you want to read into it then you are again pandering and dont get the difference between literal and figurative. did ellington, dizzy, or trane toot their own horn? nope. didnt need to because their music spoke for them. payton doesnt have that going for him. he is a great player for sure but an angry troubled soul if he looks at life in a racial seperatist view 24/7. things are perfect but if you want to live in the past you cant move forward. so thanks george. i have no issue with you. if you want to stoop to the level of a 6 year old and call me names then thats right up their with ol nick nutz and his new single cry me a river from the forth coming release have you seen my career lately......i dont like the new record, he cant sing and it sounds dated. that is not an grand jury inditement its simply an opinion...if you dont like it cool. youve proven im an open critic. i like some other of paytons earlier work a great deal - that is where i wish he would go back to but thats his call not mine. just like my opinion is what it is and i dont pander and i dont apologize....o.k. now that i have addressed you i wont bother you anymore because i just dont roll on your level. get your pander on and have a safe trip.

  16. Wow, Brent, I thought you "won't be checking back, don't need to"....... If anything you need to man up and stop indulging in "cyber-courage"
    ....seems like you doth protest too much......Seems like Dwayne Burno really has your number.....and yes, using the phrase "your boy OBAMA" in this forum says more than you perhaps are aware of!

  17. Pat Buchanan Redux! Great blog, George. And I always love reading Mr. Burno's commentary.

  18. jim you are so right....gosh i wish i could be more like you and be such an insightful eloquent genius...i should take my own advise. true. this is like watching a car crash; the carnage seems to draw one in so i'll give you some points on that. not protesting. stating a fact which evidently bothers you. those that scream diversity the most practise it the least or only want it on their own terms. over generalize on the obama phrase all you want if it lets you feel better about yourself. dwayne is an excellent writer and performer. WE AGREE!! he just is not an honest man. he defriended me over politics. i know and he knows it. period. i dont pander based on race, i dont care. even obama doesnt play the race card; you and nick nutz should try im truly away. lmao! nice to see im in your head. plenty of leg room.

  19. I thought Nick's posts have better than classiness, they have historical truth. It is true that the record corporations and the establishment that surrounds so called "Jazz" music, including critics, entrepenuers have adopted and prolonged every white supremist colonialist's view and attitude towards black people and black musicians that existed from the beginning of black people's contribution to American culture. True, that American black people created a music so great that it has expanded to become a "world" music, but I still prefer the label BAM to "jazz", just in terms of accuracy and so its origins are never stolen by whites in the historical view of the music.
    Can we just go play now and thank Nick for his many contributions to this music ?. I think his singing is beautiful beyond just a horn player who sings, though that tradition also exists in New Orleans. You know, Billy Higgins who played on my 1st record was telling me that when Ornette first played in NYC, fights would break out near the bandstand over the music's validity or not. Ornette would just shake his head sadly and say "It's just music, not war or something". Anyway, thank you Nicholas Payton for your un-altered self and wisdom. BAM !

  20. @Brent, "this is like watching a car crash"

    Wow, it sure is. Mr. Black, for a guy who has nothing further to say, you're sure taking a long time to say it. and as for "race baiting," you've used the term racial this and that and "playing the race card" more just on this string than Nick ever did in his original post. Apparently these terms are applicable simply because Mr. Payton points out that you're white and he's black, which I thought would be fairly obvious. I can certainly understand that, were I in his position, having some pompous white critic lecturing me on the history of African-American music in an allegedly "post-racial" society would be pretty damned annoying. apparently his mistake was in saying so. In this area I'd suggest you stop digging, here and elsewhere, before the hole you're in gets any deeper.

    On the macro side, you haven't refuted or addressed any of the points I brought up. You haven't offered one scrap of musical analysis to back up your "opinion," and that's all it is really, an opinion. And you're majoring in Jumping to Conclusions 101 by assuming I actually like 'Bitches" when I haven't expressed an opinion either way, though you can bet if I did I'd damn well back it up with some factual discussion of the actual music.

    I hate to get all ad hominem on you, but I'm afraid you're the personification of all those qualities which piss me off the most in some critics, plus you're one of those thin-skinned white guys who wouldn't last two weeks on the scene here in NOLA. You're opinionated without the hard knowlege and the writing chops to back it up.

  21. john - take a chill pill buddy and stop pandering. i never assumed you liked or disliked anything. i expressed my opinion and specifically why i did not like so cheew on it. you never addressed my specific point that payton equated the value of my opinion based on my race and i posted payton's own words. your points dont concern me and i did address them but not to your liking. tough. deal with it like a man. keep on pandering because i know that makes you feel oj some good inside. and nick CONSTANTLY brings up race - its the only way he get get attention and sadly i am giving him some. he is profane and vulgar. "bitches" disrespects all women of all color. chew on that you pompous self righeous person. "thin skinned white guy"? are you serious? what a hypocrite- a walking contradiction. your opinion of me or my writing does not mean squat to me or anyone else. nick nutz and i agree on one thing. if you dont like it dont read it. you also have no REAL knowledge of my qualifications so dont let your mouth write checks your ass cant cash. done with you. your like a cyber bowl movement. work on your comprehension jethro this isnt burger king. not gonna get it your way. re-read my posts and you were addressed accordingly but you refuse to acknowledge nick's racist post. nice!

  22. and to close john - not ONCE did i say we lived in a post racial society - not ONCE. post it if i did! i said we still had problems but to look at everything through a myopic racial bent and bias 24/7 like nick nutz does is counter productive so you and your buddy need to get your facts straight. now chew on that...swing and a miss!

  23. @Brent,

    I guess I'll close with this then. I've tried (and admittedly failed on occasion) to keep from getting personal with you, but you really make that difficult by being such a nasty little man. I'm starting to wonder if you're even the real Brent Black, since it's hard to believe any serious critic would show his ass in such a manner in a public forum.

    "dont let your mouth write checks your ass cant cash."

    Pot, meet kettle.

    "your like a cyber bowl movement. work on your comprehension jethro this isnt burger king"

    no it's not it's just some internet bullshit but jesus christ man, do you go around talking shit like this in real life? If so I'm glad I don't have to pay your dental bills.

    Somehow I've got a feeling you aren't this chesty in person though, which puts you squarely in the internet blowhard camp. If you ever come to New Orleans we can continue this debate in person. Until then, if I want any shit out of you I'll squeeze your head.

  24. lmao! threatening me? now i know im in your head. i walk it like i talk it. your the one talking shit because you dont like the fact i simply gave your buddy i bad review. grow the fuck up. i love his early work. his 24/7 "nick nutz" rants are what i dont like because they are vulgar and rude. and you still skip on the bitches title question and on nicks racist comments to me...thats o.k. cause he's a black man right? go pander....i give as good as i get; you think i have showed my ass? i dont do anything unless provoked so obviously you did the same. suck it bitch.

  25. Sidestepping around the content of most of these comments, I just want to respond to a comment of Mr. Burno's, "If you don't play it, you shouldn't have much to say or write about it." I understand (or think I do) the context for this comment (and similar ones), coming from frustration and deserved anger at some of the bullshit written and spoken by critics. I think most arts criticism in our society has a ton of problems, and jazz criticism has some special ones, which is probably why I gravitate towards reading folks who are professionals, or at least semi-pro.

    That said, statements like this do bother me, as a fan, and I'll try to explain why. First off, I don't "play it". At one point, when I was in high school, I thought I was trying to get to the point where I could play it, but in hindsight I realize I wasn't putting in nearly the kind of work I would've needed to. I wish I could play this music well, but I most likely will never get there. That's OK. But I'm still a listener, a fan. I try to be an educated one - given that this wasn't the popular music of my childhood, given that I'm personally coming out of a social background that wasn't steeped in jazz, I'm continually trying to expand the scope of my knowledge of the music (both in knowing more players, and in understanding more about the music they play). I love this music, and I have opinions about it, too! I love many of the universally acclaimed greats, but a few of them leave me cold. I'd never seriously put them down, I don't think that's appropriate (though I have caught myself saying some snide things about the aesthetic choices of some heavy, heavy players).

    The point is, I'd be an idiot to try and tell Dwyane Burno something about how he should play the bass. (Or, since I was hacking at a keyboard, tell George Colligan something about the piano.) But I hang on a forum where if someone says "you know, I just don't really like [Player X]'s music," they're swamped with "let me hear clips of YOUR playing," and I don't get that. The music needs non-musicians to love it too, and their opinions as listeners have to be valid - not in a lesser way than the players, but in a different way than the players. Again, telling a musician that he, or another musician, "can't play" is stupid at best. But if I say that some great saxophone player never clicked for me, or that I find something deficient in a lot of young pianists, I don't mean to say "you can't play," I'm making a statement about what music moves me and what doesn't, same as I would about paintings or movies or food or anything else that could be an artistic endeavor, at none of which am I close of a professional level practitioner. One of the functions of critics at their best, I think, is to be a kind of interface, in this regard, between the fans like me and the musicians like you. That so many fail at this activity doesn't mean it's without merit, I think/hope.

  26. Brent Black, I've got your "man up", bitch. My reasons for unfriending you were more than clearly stated in my post. Nic's recording must have been about or dedicated to you. Those that KNOW me, know... it's on, wherever, whenever. It'll be training day.

  27. john is now emailing me personally under a different what a psycho!

  28. wow! another threat!!! yeah you said cause you thought i was too friendly? you are a talented bass player and a great writer but you defriended me because of politics and you know it. careful dwayne, if i am so powerful as you say you may never record again....tell the truth dwayne; you found out im a conservative and i dont like obama and you bailed. thats cool. i have no issue with that. just dont lie like a girl.

  29. im out george. best to you. no issues with you. john is really emailing me under a different name and dwayne is just a straight up lying piece of shit. gone....

  30. Thankfully, we have it all on record-- so any notion of whites somehow being able to erase the black primacy of the music would face a very massive wall of evidence. To me this kind of thinking, taken to (il)logical extremes, gets into "nefarious conspiracy theories" that aren't at all helpful; they're just a catch-all explanation that absolves someone from trying to positively rectify the situation.

    So, I happen to favor "jazz" that exhibits blues feeling and swings. At the same time, the fact is, most of the audience is white, and many of the musicians these days are white. Why would we expect that that this music, whether we consider it properly "jazz" or not, would not reflect the cultural background of its audience and its practitioners??? I see the white media bias toward people like Dave Douglas and E.S.T....and at the same time, if the vast majority of the audience relates to that aesthetic, then isn't that only appropriate?

    The white elephant in the room is that jazz can be easily re-defined by whites because there is no black audience to counter that with its own values and convictions. You can call it co-optation if you must, but on one level, it's too easy to be co-optation. No conniving and crafty manipulation is even necessary.

    On that note, I would say that anyone concerned about jazz being maintained as a black cultural heritage should be focused primarily on trying to develop and encourage jazz musicians and the jazz audience within the black community. Constantly trying to keep whites honest in their defacto stewardship of the music, is no solution at all. Furthermore I don't consider it a foregone conclusion that jazz will never have any substantial appeal within the black community ever again. I do think it takes some very proactive outreach though.

  31. Question is Brent Black and Digital Jazz News the same person?

  32. onward and upward to true dialogue... Thanks Alexander Rocha. I made that statement and I am not stating that per se non-musicians shouldn't feel or have opinions. They absolutely should. What I mean is that a fan orr listener should know their place. I don't tell pilots how to fly, chef's how to cook, brain surgeons how to cut because it's not my place or area of expertise, no matter my thoughts, opinions, or limited knowledge of those subjects. Fans shouldn't judge or critique any musician's abilities. what does a sometime listener or fan that's not educated enough ruly know about what it takes to make this music happen at its highest level? You know after trying to get there that it takes much more than even desire to know and make it happen by your own admission. I feel you should listen, like it or not and if you can put your opinions and thoughts into valid expression, great. I appreciate you being a lover of the music. Truly, I do.

  33. Hi Brent Black...."Orrin Evans spoke of the bad evil white power in the music business especially club owners saying there are no black club owners when he has a you tube video featuring a black club owner so which is it?" Here is my number for ALL to see and hopefully for you to use 267-243-5869. The You Tube clip featured the manager of the club AND I never used the term "bad evil whit power". I am though WILLING to rap whenever you are willing to talk. Peace Orrin

  34. Merely trying to keep whites honest and culturally sensitive in trying to safeguard the black primacy in jazz, is like patching a leak.

    The only thing that could SUBSTANTIVELY turn the situation around is for there to be a prolonged and effective campaign to develop musicians and audience members from within the black community. This may seem like a long-shot at present, but we tend to take a very short view of history, and don't see how something like music appreciation is totally shaped by social factors that change over time. Moreover, if there was ever a heroic cause, that would surely be one. Jackie McLean seemed to "get" this, that being involved in community arts was far more significant and meaningful than just playing gigs.

  35. Excellent point Dwayne. This a problem for me. Writers have too much power, and because of that, great responsibility. I think Black is acting a little irresponsibly in this case, which reduces his credibility. I think Black should have just NOT reviewed the CD or made some of the comments he made. At least the ones on his blog.(Although the ones he made here are, wow, pretty out there.)
    Dwayne said "What I mean is that a fan orr listener should know their place. I don't tell pilots how to fly, chef's how to cook, brain surgeons how to cut because it's not my place or area of expertise, no matter my thoughts, opinions, or limited knowledge of those subjects."
    This is exactly it. You could say," I don't care to listen to this," but if you are not a musician, and you start trying to analyze incorrectly why something isn't good, you are sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. I feel that Black, while clearly a jazz fan and knowledgeable judging from his site, crossed the line. I'm not a fan of James Cameron films, but I wouldn't try to say on a technical level that he's a crappy director. I'm sure that "Titanic" and those kind of films took a massive amount of work. Just didn't float my boat-----no pun intended. So this is what Dwayne is saying. Fans and writers should be more respectful of how much work we put into this music. Nick obviously has skills above most mortal musicians, and has devoted his life to this pursuit. Black, without hard evidence, is resorting to sweeping over generalizations, and name calling. Black, we KNOW you didn't care for the CD, just show some respect for what we do.

  36. The whole "major label" thing was really baffling as well. The big labels are commonly agreed to be a form of "modern day sharecropping". And that's regardless of the race of the artist! Jeez....

  37. Bye, Bye, Brent Black-bird! Remember, from this lying piece of s**t, "man up, bitch!". See you at the gig when you make yourself known... will happily oblige you with the whooping your daddy should've given you years ago.

  38. (What was I thinking trying to relate something thoughtful in the midst of a cock fight?? Seriously naive of me...)

  39. Hopefully we can all just simmer down.....great to see Dwayne and Orrin weigh in......

  40. Maybe in part it's a function of the internet; I've never told a chef how he should've made my dinner, but I've told the people I was eating with what I didn't like about my meal, sometimes comparing it to similar meals I've eaten. But if I post that same thing online, and the chef reads it and now we're in a dialogue, the dynamic is really different.

    I also try to make the distinction between saying what doesn't work for me and saying that it doesn't work because of ineptitude. I alluded to not liking a bunch of young pianists on the scene (basically the sort of folks who get scooped up in discussions of "heavily influenced by Brad Mehldau") but I try to preserve the distinction between not liking the choices they've made - even thinking they've made bad artistic choices, sometimes - and saying they're bad musicians, can't play, etc., when all that clearly isn't true.

  41. If Black is so concerned about the term "bitch" being used, why can't he stop saying "man up?" Or, "don't lie like a girl?" What the hell does that even mean?

    I don't know the context of Payton's record, and I don't know if he's using the term "bitch" in an offensive and/or ignorant manner. I hope not.

  42. GerardCoxBlog I liked what you wrote, know that someone reading this blog appreciated your sincere offering--your goal of finding a solution to the issue, instead of just dwelling in negative territory, is laudable.

    My question is this: why not run with it even further? What would it take for humanity--in this case the segment of humanity known as musicians--to move beyond the outdated and scientifically disproven myth of race, to move toward and even arrive at the oft mentioned "post racial society?" How do we get there? Who would benefit from such a society (I would say all of us), and what would happen to both the chronic exploiters and perpetual victims among us? Is our potential to be exploiters or victims dependent upon our physical appearance or cultural identity?

    It is really surprising to me that people, who have a choice to think and do otherwise, are still referring to each other as members of skin color groups. Didn't Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have a dream--in 1967?!! It's been 44 years since his profound words "content of their character" were beautifully uttered--words that he made the ultimate sacrifice for.

    Why are we still calling each other "black" and "white" when we have proof that we are all the same--HUMAN BEINGS?! Why do we continue to not only allow, but sometimes even promote our skin color as our sole defining feature? If we truly want our society to change, who among us will step forward and be the first to change our limited perspectives on what it means to be human?

    The undeniable fact is that there is no quantifiable definition of race. Look at all the research that has been done on DNA--the indisputable conclusion is that we are ALL THE SAME. Any difference in appearance, such as skin color and hair type, is statistically insignificant. Race is a myth, a social construction, an all too convenient and demeaning way of classifying ourselves and others into groups that in truth, don't even exist. The ignorance of race, in addition to the economic exploitation motive, was one of the chief justifications for slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. Why do we still willfully act as if race is a realistic, factual truth? (Incidentally, there are an estimated 27 million people of all colors around the globe living in conditions of slavery--TODAY.) Isn't it true if we continue to willingly participate in the myth of race, we are also perpetuating the myth?

    What is especially disconcerting to me is to see people of all skin colors from the same economic class--the poverty stricken lower class--arguing over the crumbs of society, when the wealthiest 1% continue to find ways to further exploit and divide us.

    As a matter of fact, there are learned scholars/historians that tell us the whole concept of a "white" race, which didn't even exist before America, was invented post 1865 by wealthy American ruling class exploiters as a means of brainwashing underclass people of a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds who happened to have similar skin color into believing they shared some sort of common culture, in order that they and newly freed slaves of African origin could both be more easily exploited by the upper class elite.

    Don't all of us, as human beings and musicians, share common dreams and aspirations?

    Finally, I pose this question: is there any definitive, incontrovertible, historical, factual evidence anywhere as to who invented the word "jazz?" What is the connection between the word "jazz" and colonialism?

  43. Wow, what a string!. I am a fan, purely a fan, though I can play a bass clarinet and piano, but only for my personal enjoyment. I also read up to about 25 or so jazz blogs each day so I have followed this and many other recent discussions of race in jazz, what is jazz, is third stream jazz, etc.

    As a fan reading this, I want to weigh in with a couple of thoughts.

    First, I think that having listened to/ purchased easily thousands of jazz albums I know what I like and do not like and given a forum would be glad to provide a "fan's" opinion. I do not think an opinion has to be given only by those who play or studied music and I hope that musicians at some level do want to hear what the public reaction is to their music. And others may want a heads up when they go to purchase music, and if they know where I am coming from and if I am conssitent, then maybe my opinions might be useful.

    Second, I too believe the term Jazz these days is almost meaningless in its expansiveness. Nice to bring everyone under the tent, but when jazz today covers anything from Colligan and Payton and Burno, to Steve Coleman to John Zorn, to Misha Mengeldorf, to Darius Jones to ....well I think you get my point. What is generically called jazz thse days was not only started and made by black americans and white americans, but now is made by asian and indian americans, by Europeans, by Africans, Asians, by everyone. Is it still Black American Music if it is made in Sweden, or Iceland? If it doesn't have the same harmonics and beat as what most people proably think of when the think jazz -- think Gillespie and or Armstrong or Goodman or Parker? A reasonable discourse on these thoughts might bring reasonable results to the table, results I think I recognize in the blogs of Nicholas Payton.

    Third, I listened to Bitches and it is not my cup of tea, but that doesn't make it bad (or good for that matter). It reflects my taste and if were writing a formal critque I would make sure to spell that out. But when I read the vitriol that was hurled during the past day or so, I am frankly apalled at everyone who got sucked into the whirlpool,and how what could have been a reasonale discussion devolved so quickly. Folks, anyone is entitled to an opinion, even a misguided one, but better to provide an opinion with some reasonable explanation, and better to not make assumptions about white guilt or black racism or bad taste or lack of education. (con't)

  44. Finally, I do think that Mr. Payton comes over as a very opinionated and angry musician, and fear his messaage does get lost in the swirl of f-bombs, et al. I have read the whole string going back about two or so weeks now and while I think the message could be better presented, I can still read and understand it, can think about it, and react to it. That doesn't mean I have to like how it is expressed, and it doesn't mean I cannot comment thusly about it. But I think there is much validity in the arguements worth considering and having a real dialogue.

    If one could move this string back to start, it might be nice to see areasoned debate about:
    What is JAZZ/ What does that term define? Is it outdated? Is there a better term? (BAM is already taken by the Brooklyn Academy of Music by the way).
    What consitutes proper criticism? Can anyone be a "critic" or does a critic have to have played an instrument? Are you alienating the average fan with these arguments? Are you thinking about your audience?
    How can Jazz be kept relevant? What are the new things being brought to jazz and incorporataed into the body of work -- hip-hop? rap? techno? classical/ rock? Will jazz go stale/Is it getting stale if it continues to rely upon the Great American Songbook? And if it does, can the songs be played differently to reflect today's culture.

    And my personal bugaboo -- what is the digital age doing to music today and how we listen? I still by every cd in hard copy, and still have a substantial record collection. I still rely upon a local record store with an outstanding collection of music, including a huge jazz section. What are self-production and independent labels doing for the average listener in terms of finding out about new players or developments, or even old playeers who are on the move from on label to another?

    Just a bunch of thoughts inspired by the dialogue. And maybe a bit of sanity restored to it as well? I can only hope.

  45. I just did some Google searching on the origins of the word "jazz." Turns out the only verifiable evidence on the origin of the word is that it's first known use was in California to describe a specific type of baseball pitch:

  46. wow...that's a lot of stuff. How come we didn't get all of these posts when you interviewed me, George? Well, it's the U.S. and nothing gets people going more than issues of race. I am pretty much in agreement with George, Dwayne and the other musicians I read in this post. The main point thing I learned from this thread was going to check out Bitches on youtube. How any critic could say this was jive or weak is incredible. Whether you are feeling all the lyrics or not (and on first hearing it didn't really speak to me, but I'm not the intended demographic for this) the playing is strong and interesting, George's description of the CD was right on the money-- everyone knows Mr. Payton is a ridiculous talent. I don't know why anyone would bother to attack this music--there is so much crap out there in the pop world and this is obviously from someone who can really play. AND might add Sly to the list of influences. When the rhodes came in, I was laughing. Most of the pop music I hear, the stuff that sounds industry generated, doesn't make me do that. I do think there's some intent to inflame and create controversy here, but I'm sure that's in response to a hysterical critical response that crosses the line into racism (and doesn't care about that line much to begin with).

  47. As usual, another great blog, George! Looks like a lot more comments stirred up this time than usual! ;)

    I had also read some of this beforehand (a few of NP's blog posts and a few responses) and I would just like to bring up one other thing that struck me as fodder for discussion. I had not heard about his record until seeing it here today but a few days ago I was discussing this topic with another musician and I said that it is good to read and consider the dialogue on race but we never really hear one about sexism in Jazz, which is undeniably a huge issue. In that light, I found it a little ironic that NP's album is called "Bitches" and after hearing the track, it seems it would be hard to defend the lyrics as not sexist. I am not sure if I am really making a point here, it's just that something doesn't quite add up for me there. I would never say his points about race are invalid but to be speaking out so strongly about those issues while releasing "Bitches" seems a little, for lack of a better term, off.

  48. Orrin - you said it on facebook about all the white club owners and no blacks and there you sit on you tube with a black owner...i noticed george has taken my feed which is why im back. orrin you sound rational. cool. thats all im saying. you said what you said on facebook to be specific. the context of which you spoke on facebook was of a very negative fshion in respect to the "white powers that be" was the phrase you used...then your video contradicts your statement. thats a fact. but i have no beef with you and would even love to do a kickstarter piece on you to help with the next record. i did one for avery sharpe, johnathan blake etc....i dont know what dwaynes deal is except is an angry troubled soul. i was too nice? i never gave him a bad review. i complemented his liner notes AND gave him good press on some records he played on so it proved he hates me cause i dont like obama. orrin - if i can do a kickstarter promo for you i would be happy to. johnathan liked it. avery liked it. i think you would like it too. its free pub. man. we could bury the hatchett. let me know...standing offer. and dwayne - threaten me again and i will go to every record label in this country and youll be lucky to play in a strip club when im done with you. chill the f*ck out. i did NOTHING to you.

  49. george - noticed your comment. i have mad respect for what you do. ( even not having heard you play ). i gave an opinion. i have done a hard hitting review on larry carlton (plays the sounds of philly ) and did it in the same vein as payton. dont tell me what to respect when this clown uses a sexist title like "bitches"...its an opinion. a pointed opinion but an opinion ive leveled at black, white, male, and female. when you post you have to accept the fall out. when you make a record you have to accept the fall out. i love payton's early work. his career seems to be in free fall and so he is resorting to this, marcus stickland said for publicity. true? i dont know. i just know the record was awful and i did mention SOME be they few nice things in the piece but you dont win over a critic with the attitude and arrogance he displays when he is not even in the top 5 trumpet players right now. so if its black american music so be it. no issue. whats next? call all chinese food places - chinese american food places? i write from the critic/perspective view point. i have gone so far as to put links to artists web sites on their reviews so people could buy their stuff. not many in my position do that. ralph peterson jr had an instuctional dvd on playing the drums and i SPECIFICALLY mentioned that and where to get it. how many critics do that? roll like payton does and you gotta expect the fall out. i'll do a free promo piece on any jazz musician using kickstarter - you dont see that too often do you? i get hits on all continents, have been doing this for no pay for not even a year with over 200,000 hits and im now getting 10 artists a month from europe sending me their stuff. dont act like im the bad guy cause ive just proven how wrong that is. if i only ripped payton you may have a beef. i slaughterd larry carlton and jeff bridges so dont give me the psudo-racial horseshit cause thats what it is. i call em like i see and as the record and individual dictate. i dont pander. thanks for the few kind words on what you consider to be my knowledge but think about what ive just said...and to orrin evans - email me man, send me a link to the kickstarter deal and i'll do you proud. i dont know what dwayne deal is, dont care either. i have his comments saved, i can publish his threats if i so choose but the guy has a family so im gonna cut him some slack. thanks....and i would prefer you not link up to me you work your side of the street and ill work mine and good luck.

  50. To George, and all of you

    I agree in many respects with the things Nicholas P, has got to say, and a lot of us musicians have been away from jazz, or musical labels in general anyway. Think of how many cats dont want to call their music jazz because of what that label means..taylor eigsti and julian lage, tigran hamasyan..becca stevens, thats the general attitude. Besides that the old masters didn't dig the name either..duke, etc. The etymology of jazz is coming from the brothels it was a term with negative connotations to say the least...the name itself is very reflective of the racial dynamic in our country at that time.

    I think changing the name of the music makes sense...but then what do we call it? Black American too broad, because R&B, Soul, Funk, Hip Hop, even bluegrass and country music..basically any musical form gestated in America has had the hand of African Americans in its creation. American Classical Music gives old/stratified connotations. So I don't know what we would call it, although I know our music is at a crucial turning point in its identity. A name is just a name in the end and is limiting, but names are also necessary, and its not so difficult to be proud of a name or idea if it has positive connotations. Its very difficult to change the name of a musical genre when its been there for so long but I don't put any limit on what great artists and musicians can accomplish if we all wanted to we could do it.

    On the other hand you can also look at jazz like you do the word nigga, we all know the history of THAT word, but its been transformed by the black community into a term of endearment. So can't we think of the term jazz in the same way? If we keep the name jazz then the definition of what jazz is is going to have to be discussed at length and moved from the overly conservative static place that it is. What do you think about all of that?

    On how most jazz musicians and audiences are white, this is because there isn't enough jazz education in black people are cut off from their history because of this. Why was hip hop created? Inner city kids couldn't afford any instruments..they rapped and beatboxed, of course hip hop and other forms of urban music have totally become art forms in their own right drawing from the jazz tradition. But jazz isn't being shared or passed down see hip hop cats who trace the sample of a beat to ahmad jamal and would've never heard that record otherwise.

    And why isn't it happening? Well there are a lot of practical reasons, but racism is still a problem in our society, I don't get why some educators don't accept that jazz was created by black people, maybe those racial attitudes are why. Maybe thats why as you say its easier for critics to dig covers of rock tunes than robert glasper.

    I learned to play jazz in places where I was the only white guy in the room LOL in south central LA..its not that black people don't like jazz for some reason, its that the jazz education isnt easily available to a lot of people. On top of that there is that elephant in the room on how its all white people playing jazz and listening to it. Its so contradictory too..I am cuban american, imagining all the salsa musicians suddenly being white or asian is very strange. In my opinion returning a black audience to the music as well as musicians shouldn't be very difficult lol

  51. And for those of you getting mad at Nicholas p and calling him racist, some of what he is saying is having a pretty strong and sometimes bitter tone but can you blame him? If I were black I would be pissed too..ever since jazz was created white people have been trying to control it, define it, and make money off of it. Now all the educators and people in jazz are white as well, and the black jazz community has shrunk (roy hargrove, & ambrose akinmusire have been trying to fix that) also as a cause of racism creating a low income/difficult position for many black people and cutting them off from their culture. Then people want to say that jazz was not created by black people? Ha..there is no real "white" music in america everything is creolized, but for a comparison imagine if suddenly chinese people tried to take credit for writing the constitution and declaration of independence hahahaha. It might be a bit annoying sometimes to be faced with that kind of dialogue from a black person, but no one is saying white people aren't allowed to play jazz LOL, think about what he is saying is coming from and be a little empathatic you know?

  52. I for one admire those who show by example. Miles' Carrer is a perfect example of someone who got tired of mainstream jazz and did something about it. And not only did he do something he started to trends in music. This is music, not jazz. The whole labeling idea is what limits us. The more you see "jazz" as music and less jazz, the more you will create. But again my point is this, DO something. its nice to have a blog and have a discussion by all means, but lead by example. Otherwise its just masterbation :-)

  53. and george....your trashing of my review is fine. no worries. i even appreciate the style in which you did it. BUT...because of your first hand association with N.P. a pretty easy case can be made of bias on your part which in turn makes trashing me even easier. critics do have bias, i'll be the first to admit it. but my bias here is in terms of the overt sexism displayed by payton. i dont tolerate it. simple as that. i dont look at this in terms of race just a poorly thought out game of semantics where some people happen to be what they are. i dont dislike obama because of his ethinicity. i dislike obama because of his fiscal mismanagement or OUR money...white/black/latino - OUR money...hope that clears up some perspective. and in certain ways payton has been and probably will continue to be a victim of his own success and own worst enemy. he is very good. never ever said he wasnt but have you heard enrico rava quintet tribe on ecm? rava is i think 75 and could blow n.p. away with ease. just an opinion. not an inditement.

  54. I think Charles Mingus was years ahead of everyone here when he said he "plays 'Mingus' music". Everyone has their own tastes, and can be free to like or dislike this record. However, after having played and studied for years (including with George for a short time) I've come to understand that by playing in this medium, you will be held to a standard. One that Mr. Payton reaches and exceeds. I don't understand how there is any argument in terms of the musicianship on display here? Mr. Payton can play, there's no getting around it. And not just trumpet. The synth percussion sounds a little dated, but given how impeccable the production is on the track I heard, I'd lean towards saying that it was likely intentional and the desired sound. And in terms of the word "bitches", how can Mr. Black take issue with that, given the things he's said? Besides, there are bitches out there. It reminds me of the comedian Louis CK's bit on politically incorrect words. In a sense these words have taken on a colloquial meaning all their own: I don't think Mr. Payton is going to just go to any girl and call her bitch.. but a woman who will fuck you over and use you is a bitch. What else are you gonna call her?

  55. I don't know why anyone is trying to have a logical conversation with Mr. Black. He is clearly unhinged.

  56. I had no idea Internet trolling happened on jazz blogs!

    I can't believe multiple people actually spent time out their life to validate Nick Payton's playing as better than "good, not great" to a "jazz critic"? smfh

    Now I've seen everything lol...

  57. I agree he's the Charile Sheen of Jazz...looking for attention...that's all...plain and simple, the jazz festivals should stop booking him and see what he has to say when he's broke.

  58. I finally checked out the album. Man, it sounds great! Nick can TOTALLY sing!

    @Other Anonymous-
    Why stop booking him if he's killing? I don't hire a chef based on their facebook posts... Do you want to put him in his place? He's been a bad boy lol...

  59. Great blog George, these comments are highly entertaining.

  60. Hey Jacob, how are you? Good one on the Louis C.K. tip, which comes out of the 7 dirty words routine George Carlin used to do. I agree, words are not obscene, but the thought behind them can be, depending on context. There is so much real obscenity in our society and I think that Payton's "Bitches" is not obscene. Here's some IDEAS and REALITIES that I find obscene and offensive:













    Anyway, so a really high quality, impressive, and enjoyable CD called "Bitches" is really not offensive to me, on it's own and compared to everything else in the world. I mean, if Nick had called his CD "Donald Rumsfeld", THEN I would have been offended.....tee hee

  61. Brent's comment that Nicholas cannot sing even one note(I'm paraphrasing) is a bit harsh to say the least. You can say, his voice is not to my liking but to say he cannot sing at all is definitely over the top. He seems to have some personal hostility toward Nick for some reason.

  62. This is what I love to read. Musicians getting their bro's back, someone who doesn't truly know the man know as Nicholas Payton is trying to bury this man's career in a blog. Nick, dude's got shit as far as any real cred out there, he's regrets what he wrote and he's obviously panicking by feverishly replying to this blog bye GC (may I add to the praise give to you, this was brilliantly written). There will be more BS coming from him. You (NICK) have officially opened up the can of worms on a subject much talked and I look forward to reading more. BAM!!!!

  63. Well George I think you've ruined your blog. This was one of the special blogs where a person could learn about music (your answers to questions), the playing and careers of various musicians (famous and not so famous), the scenes in cities other then New York. I really enjoyed coming to your blog. I even put it on my desktop.

    But you needed to comment on this stupid controversy that has been circulating on the net for years (just look at the all about jazz blog). Payton is just the newest bomb thrower in the conversation. The problem is that on the web it just spreads and spreads.

    I hope you get back to talking about music. I thought I had finnaly found a blog that was about music and not all this pointless ancillary shit. I know it's your blog and you have to right to write about what you want. I'm just very disappointed.

  64. Just to set the record straight, I am NOT e-mailing Digitaljazznews, or Bill Black, or whomever "under another name" (how the hell would he know if I was using "another name" I wonder? Did I write him as Joe Phonebone and sign off "BTW, this is really John Doheny"? What would be the point?). I may or may not be "a psycho." You'd have to ask my friends and colleagues about that. What I am is mighty annoyed at being falsely accused of using a false internet identity by a guy who's using at least two different identities on this one thread.

    In the light of day, and after taking a deep breath, it seems to me that this guy is upset because Nicholas Payton, a man he has never met, accused him of being "a white man" lecturing him about African American music. To him, this is a "racist rant" and a "meltdown." Really brah, if the worst thing anyone's ever called you is white, I'd say you've been leading a pretty cozy life. So far on this one thread alone, you've called ME a "cyber bowel movement" referred to me as "Jethro," told me to "cheeew on it," and instructed me to "'grow the fuck up." I'd say that, in terms of talking shit, that's a pretty good track record right there.

    Anyway, hopefully you've sobered up today and are ready to engage in adult discourse. Unfortunately you've splashed enough of this nonsense hither and yon over the internet to totally discredit any further writing on the subject of jazz you might undertake. I hope for your sake you've got a secondary source of income.

  65. @ George: I however am personally thankful that you decided to engage the Payton controversy, and in a thoughtful way. There are some in the music who want to shut their eyes to the intersection of race and jazz, adopting this "let's get back to all the practical issues at hand" pose. The world won't miss one more musician-to-musician interview that deals in all the nitty-gritty of craft and process, but we already miss LOTS in the way of genuine dialogue about the social issues that are always there under the surface.

    I had another thought about Nicholas Payton and why his whole persona is problematic. From the hyperactive Tweeting to the bad-ass talk of "nutz" and then....the silly sensational album comes across as a jazz guy trying to adopt some of the swagger and naked egotism of a rock star or rapper. Now, let me be clear that I don't believe all jazz musicians need to act like well-behaved, bourgeois-acceptable gentleman. I think individuality-- in both music and personality-- should be championed. But his persona really comes off like an old dude trying to be "cool" again. It just seems desperate and I really question whether it makes him any more cool or relevant to younger people, while at the same time alienating himself from the people who are far more likely to buy his records. It's not just Payton either; Robert Glasper is another dude who gets into this kind of posturing. In spite of trying to act like they are "in but not of" jazz, and somehow more connected to hip-hop and other "relevant" music, they aren't attracting any substantial young following. The only way they get a large, young, and multiracial crowd is by doing sideman duty in Erkyah Badu's band or something like that, where their name probably won't even be announced. Sad but true.

    I wish jazz could be more popular and relevant, but that's not going to happen until the culture at-large changes. There's no magic bullet. Simply using young folks' lingo or trying to be outrageous won't somehow seduce young people into actually trying to listen to something that demands more of their attention span than they are able to give. They may all have ADD, but they can still smell an old dude trying to act cool from a mile away. Maybe this is really him and it's not his intent to posture, but it certainly comes across that way.

  66. Wow I could say anything here and it would seem tame in comparision.

    My first impression reading Mr.Payton's blog post was 'well here is a guy who has risen to the top of the jazz food chain and now wants to put it down and it conisides with the release of his R&Bish album'

    I know it is more complex than that but it was my first thought.

  67. I have found Nick to be not only a formidable intellect but a flexible one. Musically of course there is almost nobody like him; He is one of those guys that can play just about any instrument, and write for large ensemble. In fact the first time I heard him he was playing bass at the Village Gate and swinging his ass off. In short, he has earned the right to speak on the subject.

    In the 1959 Jazz was still in it's Golden Era. 52nd street was still open and there was a network of clubs all over the country. Blacks and whites enjoyed the music, and met in these clubs. So there was an economy of scale, and a mixing of the races, based on mutual love of the music. The developments in the music were organic, and happened when innovators emerged, usually coming through established bands to the forefront. Most if not all of these innovators were black. There were also some important white figures in the music; Yet Bebop, which informs almost all Black American Music today, was invented by Monk, Bird, Bud, and Dizzy.

    So I get it when Nick talks about how everything was taken from the Black race, (starting with freedom) and "can't we just have this one thing that our race invented?" That resonates with me as a cry of truth, and a painful one.

    I am a white man who plays Bebop bass. Can I "self identify" as playing Black music? I am not Black. I mean come on, "Weiss" means "White" LOL. But, my musical inspiration started with Paul Lawrence Dunbar Chambers and continued with Wilbur Ware, Ron Carter, Ray Brown, Percy Heath, Albert Stinson, Charlie Haden, Sam Jones, Israel Crosby, Oscar Pettiford, Jimmy Garrison, Red Mitchell, and Blanton. They all inform my work. They are how I learned to play.

    I have developed my own thing through studying masterworks, practicing alone, finding things I like, expanding on them, and through experience on the bandstand with both great and sad players. But I play Black American Music. That is my experience. A white guy playing Black music.

  68. The only dust-up I had with Nick, and incidentally the only problem I have with Ed Bland's "the Cry of Jazz", is the idea that blacks are the only ones who are allowed to decide what "Jazz" is. That was true in '59 when there were so few whites actually playing on a high level. But, as I told Nicholas, the way I was raised was that anyone who does the work, can play, has played with (and kept the gig with) some important figures in the music, is not on entitled to their opinion but is REQUIRED to have one. What makes this music interesting is that it is a battle of a person's free will against his or her fate.

    Now, in 2011 Jazz has become a commodity. That means it is for sale. Marquis players sell tours and records. Musicians think a lot more about how to "get over", or at very least how to promote their music. There are also marketing people involved in naming, selling and promoting it, and some of them would not be able to identify a C7 if it hit them over the head. That the market controls the music is of course basic capitalism. Whoever puts the meat on the seat will get the most money. So everybody is trying to figure out how to be the guy who puts meat on the seat. Sadly, the music seems to take second place to the promotion of it.

    On top of that you have colleges turning out scads of musicians; Also big business! What is the racial makeup of these students? I'm curious if anyone has a figure. My guess is at least 70% white. Anyway, there is literally no end to the stream of youngsters coming up. And they all are way ahead of the curve in terms of digital media. They record, press, promote and sell their own music like rabbits make babies.

    I cannot speak to Nicholas' motivations for initiating such a dialogue. I do know that he is smart enough to know that when he speaks, people will listen. What he says is provocative, and is meant to be. Some have said that this is a result of a failed marriage, ( which is nobody's business but his ), failing career ( really? ) or an attempt to get publicity. If it is the last reason then he is more of a genius than I thought. I bet that he has sold 2000 more copies of his record in the past week. Students, pay attention!

    Which brings me to that recording. Something about being a parent to a female, and all the strength it takes to watch her become a beautiful woman, has made me realize something. I could not possibly name a record or even a song "Bitches". In fact I doubt I would even consent to play on a record of that name. At first I thought "Man, kinda like Spinal Tap's 'Smell the Glove' " and had a chuckle.
    Now it just makes me feel sad. There is obviously a lot of pain in a person who can name their artistic creation as such.

    The comments made about ego should be addressed. As Dewey Redman said, "John Coltrane has no Ego." Buddhists realize that all suffering stems from the Ego. Clearly everyone posting on this subject has one, and feels the "need' to have their views heard on the subject. Myself included. But keep in mind that from the ego come some pretty unsavory human attributes. The best work is done when one feels neither "I suck" or "I am the shit".

    That's about all my "I" have to say on the subject!

  69. Brent/Digital Jazz News- that's rich. threats from a total bitch. I don't make threats, Brent. I make promises. So, call the biggest to the smallest labels, clubs, promoters, even "your boy Obama". Nothing will stop the deluge of that will head your way. Believe and trust that. You have no power. You are a delusional, white racist that shows it with every word and post. The reality is I have no fear of you because you are a ghost. Until you appear at any gig and say my name is Brent Black and "man up", you're just a little bitch that espouses your meaningless, idiotic, vitriol under the cloak of anonymity and finds the balls to talk much Tony Montana bravado-driven shit. You may want to watch out before you end up with a box of Jugy Fruits up your bung. As I told you in my prior post in response to you, you are irrelevant. I defriened you for mainly one reason and one reason, only. You're an ignorant, uninformed "fan (which is derived from the word fanatic)", self-proclaimed critic of a music you don't understand and obviously hate, and I could see right through your chummy, long lost pal, friendly act when you made contact with me to praise me for my liner notes. I don't care if you like or dislike the 44th president of the USA. But I sure understand how and why you are undesirable to be a viable hire in the Americsn workforce. Hope you've landed that dreamjob in this economy... I DO care that you think you have enough juice to attempt to sabotage at least two musicians because of their views and opinions. But with regard to you doing anything to my "career", if you think you have it like that. do it. I'm here now and will be here when you're gone. Bitch.

  70. @Brent, for a writer- sad. indictment

  71. Steve Mendelsohn says I've ruined my blog. Does that mean I make less than the NO money I make now? I'm joking, but I don't feel that way at all. I got 69 comments! This is the most attention I've gotten yet!.

    And then maybe now, people will be primed for Part 2 of my interview with David Fuczynski, my interview with Jerome Harris, My interview with Jack Dejohnette, and my interview with Mike LeDonne. My blog has rants, but there's a lot more-interviews, lessons, transcriptions, humor, etc..... I've done 99 posts this year, you could read the other 98 and still be cool.

    Also, most people have been supportive. Don't be disappointed, Steve! I'm surprised that anyone reads my blog,(I'm not much of a writer, I ask my wife how to spell words about every ten minutes) and I could not have predicted this firestorm. I mostly wanted to review "Bitches" because I liked it, I have a lot of respect for Nick and also I think the intellect behind these philosophies on both sides is fascinating. I had no intention of adding to the controversy.

  72. And yes, Brett, I see the potential conflict of interest in the fact that I know Nick personally (not well, only cause he called me to sub in his band). Well, I feel like I'm not so much an impartial critic as someone on a mission to help take jazz, or BAM or whatever this music is, back for the musicians. The industry is kind of BS. I could go on for rant after rant about the BS I've witnessed with record companies big and small, as well as critics, booking agents, managers and club owners who are jive beyond belief. I've tried to avoid that as much as possible, because I want this blog to be positive, and I resist trying to embarrass people and also look like a schmuck in the process. Sometimes though , dirty laundry has to be washed.

    Anyway, my point was that I feel like the state of the industry has forced us musicians to take matters into our own hands. Although Brent Black's blog(say that three times fast) looks pretty good overall ( I need more time to read some of it), I would rather hear what the "CATS" have to say. Cause we know EXACTLY what's happening.

    I played a four night engagement at London's Pizza express a few years ago. We got a review in the Evening Standard( I think that's the newspaper). The writer went on and on about this 12/8 rhythm that was non existent. It was just dumb. And it went in the newspaper. I have other examples of this ignorance and laziness.

    I've been serious about music since 7th or 8th grade. So roughly 30 years of practice,study, sacrifice, and dedication. Between 1984 and 1991, I almost never missed a day of practicing trumpet. I practiced piano 4 to 8 hours a day from 1991 to 1994, and then played gigs 3 to 7 nights a week. I spent 15 years grinding away in New York, doing tours, making recordings, learning some hard ass music, and trying to compete with all the other bad MFs in New York. And Nick and most other musicians who are serious have similar stories. SO we put everything into this, so that some writer can listen for 5 minutes and dismiss something so callously? To jump to quick over-generalized conclusions? To pass publicly official judgement about something they have no understanding of? Same with many of the others I mentioned being part of the industry. (Not naming any names and there are definitely cool people and friends of mine in this business, and many who I respect their judgement. One promoter in Italy got up after my gig and played one of my tunes from memory.)

  73. So it's a little incestuous, but my conscience is clean, because let's face it, to get a review in Jazz Times or DownBeat, you have to buy advertising. To get on the cover of Japan's Swing Journal, it's a straight buy out. I don't make any money from this blog( at least not yet) so I'm doing it because I think it's the right thing to do. I'm really small potoatoes anyway, so the fact is most people won't read any of this,and this very post is so far down the page that I wonder why I'm even typing when I should be ASLEEP!

  74. Hi George,

    I've been following your blog for some weeks now and found it to be as entertaining and enthralling as your music. But this particular "conversation" aptly illustrates the downsides of internet, the worst being that the stifling and inane "freedom of speech" argument is abused to justify unleashing a torrent of vile and/or ill-informed gibberish. Another is to usurp a deceptively egalitarian internet to wield critical power. It democratizes discourse even where it shouldn't, and it empowers agents who have no qualifications other than clogging up cyberspace. Isabella is spot on - there is no point in maintaining such a "conservation".

    In addition, since nobody else has done, I feel obliged to state the following fact (NOT opinion): Mr Black is an untalented writer. Besides his jaw-dropping ignorance of the rules of grammar, orthography and punctuation displayed in this thread, his reviews largely indulge in phrase-mongering, which is even recycled across reviews (e.g. "the zen quality of less is more," "if you read liner notes as voraciously as I do," etc.). Besides Mr Black flouts just about every aspect of critics' ethics. Going head-to-head with a musician on a blog and engaging in an extended verbal fist fight? Politicizing the shit storm by making derailing comments about Obama's alleged fiscal mismanagement? Saying cheerio three times and resurfacing all the same because the internet imbecile always needs to have the final say? Publicly announcing to denounce a musician in front of record labels? The point is not who started what, the point is that a critic with any decency, integrity and respect for the profession will NEVER resort to such behavior under any circumstances.

    As George correctly states, critics have too much power. This is nothing new. What is relatively new, however, is that anybody with an internet connection and a propensity to mumble jumble can set up a blog and ingeniously call himself a critic. The market is saturated with reviews and ratings that are about as detached from informed criticism as the bedroom producer is from a musician.

    As far as the issue of labeling music is concerned, Nicholas raises a valid point in my view. For one thing, the term "jazz" undoubtedly carries racist and colonialist connotations, so it's easy to see so many musicians' disdain for this term and Nicholas' impulse to rid the label "jazz". Further, he rightly points to the ontological fallacy that so many critics and other people (even musicians!) trap into, that is, the misconception of a label accurately representing a true entity. I am skeptical, however, of the move to replace it with another label. While disposing of racist connotations, a new label like BAM will be self-limiting like any other label and hardly affect the underlying real problems that Nicholas addresses. Semantics may be a good and well-intended start, but by and large they are better at spreading disease rather than curing it. Moving from the term "nigger" to "negro" to "black" to "African American" has done very little to eradicate the subliminal permutations of racism that continue to linger in much of today's society and culture.

    PS: I googled "Brent Black" to research his academic credentials or published work. Guess what the first hit on Amazon was in the department "Poetry, Drama & Criticism"? W.E.B. Du Bois!

  75. As there seem to be lots of musicians on this thread, I’d like to point out something about non-musician listeners: While you are part of community and interact regularly with others who share your driving interests (if not your particular tastes), many of your listeners are not part of such a community. We are sparsely scattered among family, friends and associates who largely prefer rock, rap, or some such other commercial form of music. You need to know that we are out here, that we love this music, (whatever you want to call it), and we often depend on the internet to feed our enthusiasm.
    We get out to see some shows (and, if we are parents and/or if we live at a distance from large urban centers, only a handful each year), but for the most part, we experience the music through recordings, as well as the limited fare offered by a few college radio stations. We listen with a passion, however, scheduling precious time to focus on the music without or distractions or interruptions. When we discover something exciting, we probably have only one or two others to share our discovery with.
    Please keep this in mind when posting online. If you could steer the rest of us towards the stuff you most enjoy, we wouldn’t need to trawl critics blogs (or, as George mentioned, Jazz Times or Downbeat) for tips on new stuff, most of which is hit or miss, anyway - breezy recommendations for a broad and disparate variety of music offered without context. Not to mention that much of it seems to stem from marketing promotions of record labels. And if you don’t care for a record and would not recommend it, there’s really no need to comment.

  76. kudos for the resounding intellegence and beauty and correctness of the last anonymous post. Thanks for the resstoration of momentary civility.

  77. Mr. Brent Black I will be suing you for libel. Expect to hear from my attorney soon. You are saying I haven't had a major record deal since 2008 in an attempt to prove your theory that my career is on the downfall. You saying that I haven't had a major record deal since 2008 is NOT a fact. Where did you get this information?

    My deal with Nonesuch terminated in 2008 with the release of my "Into The Blue" record. I signed with Concord Music Group on July 24th, 2009. I recorded "Bitches" the fall of 2009. Here's proof of me at the home studio of MdCL (my Associate Producer) recording what would become "iStole Your iPhone", check the following link for confirmation:

    It was paid for, mixed and mastered by Concord for release in the fall of 2010. The A&R rep I was working in close contact with knew the title and was on board with the project. In fact, it was supposed to be a model for the new direction Concord was saying they wanted to go in. When the president was made aware that the project was called Bitches, a meeting was called to try to convince me to change the title. After months of going back and forth, several delayed release dates and my refusing to acquiesce on my position of the title, Concord decided to not release "Bitches." I gave Concord "The Middle Finger" by calling "Bitches" a mixtape and gave it away via the Internet.

    I did several interviews concerning the project around this time. At which point, I was sent a cease and desist letter from Concord saying that if I didn't remove the record that they would take legal action against me, but by then it had already gone viral. YAY!

    I am proud of the fact that I stood my ground for what I believed and didn't cave to the colonialist structure of the company. I created a work of art that they sanctioned and paid for in full and I refused to be swayed from my position. I wanted no parts of being with them anymore and walked away with from a 5-album deal with my pride intact. How Brent Black equates leaving with dignity and independence with a slip in status, is beyond me. That's what's wrong with America. People will sell their soul for The Almighty Dollar. Well, not me. I have values and beliefs. Money comes and goes, your character is forever and it what ultimately defines you.

    After much back and forth, they decided to give me "Bitches" back. I fought the majors, won and didn't have to pay one red cent. Even Prince wasn't able to achieve this feat when he took on the majors.

    Finally, I struck a licensing deal with In And Out records where I have far more equity in my project than I had with Concord, and I get my masters back after 5 years. Definitely a much better situation.

    Not that any of this is your business, Mr. Black, but I just wanted discredit you. My not having a deal since 2008 is, indeed, NOT a fact. On the basis of this, everything you say is discredited.

    I love Miles Davis, but never did anything that sounds like “Bitches.” “Bitches” is a Post-Dilla Modern New Orleans album. Miles never sang on a record and he certainly never played all of the instruments on one. You may not like my voice, but as a reviewer, you’re not allowed to say a piece of work is a train wreck without backing it up. But what else should I expect from someone who uses Wikipedia as a reference source.

    And look, I did it all without being vulgar. ☺

    I am Nicholas Payton, The Creator of BAM and The Savior Of Archaic Pop.

  78. What I initially interpreted as separatist attitude Payton bothered me, but... the band at the JALC shows featured a white male (Mike Moreno), a black female (Johnaye Kendrick), a handful of white women (incl. Chelsea Baratz) and black males (Bob Hurst, Lawrence Fields).

    Payton will say something like "there is no living soul who can walk on a bandstand anywhere in the world and play more horn than me"*** or compares Marcus Strickland or the guy who runs Nextbop to slaves for not agreeing with his initial that shit's a little questionable to me...yet people are mad over him not wanting to use the word JAZZ. As George said, "Bitches" may not be for everyone, but saying it sucks or that Payton can't sing is stupid. It is one of my faves of 2011.

    ***i do think he is one of the greatest living musicians. but even a badass like Glasper or Jason Moran wouldn't go that far. However, not being humble about his talent is totally his choice. It would only be offensive if he really did suck and his album actually was a trainwreck.

  79. john - nice personal attack, so much for your credibility.
    dwayne - you need help. you lie and then lie again. i did nothing to you. i could care less you defriended me, just dont lie. i called two people out for making statements that were poor reflections on the industry and their labels and that is my right if i so choose.
    nicholas - i backed it up with specifics. anemic vocals and dated sound. you dont tell me what i "have to" write.....sue me? go for it. you need publicity that bad? the context with which you play fast and loose with is that you havent had a deal that resulted in a release since the last record in 08...that is a fact. spin it anyway you want my friend. good luck with the revolution. one would thing the man that claims to blow more horn than anyone would have labels beating a path to dont.....again, good luck with the revolution #jazz and you called me a liar so expect a counter suit. ive also expressed your comments to concord on not having black employees for which you started back peddling.....

  80. brent black says:
    July 3, 2011 at 8:48 am
    I encountered a situation with Blue Note records where I remarked some Wynton Marsalis arrangement fell somewhat flat on his most recent release and suddenly the label will no longer service or communicate with me in any fashion. I am an independent writer.

    brent black says:
    August 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm
    Thanks Howard.
    I use Wynton perhaps as “ground zero.” There were 2 other Blue Note artists that i expressed what other label executives considered fair and reasonable critism so I am guess it is perhaps the culmination of not “green lighting” everything from their label.
    I offered the Director of Publicity the opportunity to respond but thus far I hear crickets chirping.
    I have however seen reviews written in Amazon by a contributing writer for Jazz Times and when sending the link to these “questionable” uses of the “reader review” section – Jazz Times has declined comment.

  81. Muhammad Ali said he was The Greatest of All Time. James Brown called himself Soul Brother #1. I see no problem with proclaiming one's greatness.

    If I don't have the right to "toot my own" horn, then who?

    Nicholas Payton aka The Creator of BAM aka The Savior of Archaic Pop

  82. I will post as devotedlistener#2, as I echo the sentiments of dl#1!
    However, I understand why musicians are calling out Brent Black. (His ramblings being part of the reason for this post from George).
    He is disrespectful, delusional, egotistical and misinformed.
    One thing though - as everything else he has written is drivel then I can be assured his assessment of, "Bitches", is just as off the mark.
    That's all the review I needed to sway me to purchase it. Just put in my order on Amazon . . . .
    Thanks BB~

  83. What's funny is anyone thinking Brent Black is a credible "writer" or "critic". He's the epitome of a bottom feeder. Basically, publicists use his hack pieces as fodder to pad their reports until a review of substance by a credible critic materializes.

    And if he did have an ounce of credibility, it has been eroded away during this last week.

    I hope sees the shit he's been spewing and refuses to post any more of his "reviews"

  84. @Nicholas- yes, that was such a principled stand you took: insisting that your album be called "Bitches". You really took it to The Man there. Seriously, you're a grown man and you're going to make your own choices...but I guarantee there are plenty of older black musicians (who had to deal with far greater obstacles than someone of your generation has), that would look at this choice as pretty damned trifling. PERSPECTIVE: Coltrane had to fight to get certain recordings released because of the challenging musical CONTENT, not the damn name of the record.

    I think you and Brent Black probably deserve each other, brothers across racial lines in the fight to be as foolish and self-indulgent as possible.

  85. nick - it's not what you say but how you say it.
    musicians calling me out? nick. dwayne threatened me with physical violence. orrin actually sounded like he wanted to chat and clear the air. hardly a ground swell against me. it is my blog, it is my opinion and much like payton - you dont like it? cool. dont read it. what i write and where i write can differ in type of music, content and style. swing and a miss. disrepectful? you get an album called bitches and you call ME disrespectful? george - i have seperated myself from this issue on my site and now i am here. i stand by my review. no artist has a right to censor my editorial content or perspective unless i have crossed certain legal lines - i havent. i think geralscoxblog probably said it best. i am casting off the oppressive shackles of allowing payton to pimp me for fun and profit. if you dig the record thats cool with me. no issues. ive just heard him do FAR better. peace to all and george - dont take my feed - your critical eval. of me even with some compliments tossed in means nothing to me. no offense. i think there is plenty of disrespectful ego to go around from all parties here so in the spirit of humor given my last name this is the black calling the kettle pot.

  86. Ms. Black, I've never lied to you about anything. You're not worth it. I've taken dumps that were more meaningful. the fact that you went again over the line and mentioned my family seals it for me. You can talk of me all you desire. I extend my solemn promise that if you ever have the nerve to mention my family ever again, that will be your life's worst mistake. You can wrap your compliments, insults, ignorance, hubris, idiocy, hypocrisy, quadruple talk up and fuck youself with it. There truly isn't anything more to say to you because you're irrelevant. The only one here defending or agreeing with any point you've lobbed is you! I go back to what a poster said about ten posts or so back. You're just an awful writer. I wrote better than you currently do when i was in grade school. And let's not get into humanity. You're lower than shit on shit's shoes. you don't need to say anything else to or about me. You've been extended the open invitation, the true callout. Look in the paper, pick any night where you see I'm listed, show up, "man up" and say I'm Brent Black and the rest will take care of itself. Believe that,, ma'am.

  87. so i mad you sad? i just had a publicist tell me you are a second rate bass player. i think he's wrong. i didnt mention your family in a bad way. get the racial chip off your shoulder. nice language. very articulate. i wish i could dumb mine down to the level you wallow in but...god help me i cant. where can i send flowers to make it right?

  88. and dwayne...karma is a bitch buddy. i hope you get the help you need.
    tons of ego to think anyone would want to come to see a session player. damn good one but a session player at best.

  89. Name the publicist who said that, Brent? If not, you're a liar.

    Why would Eric Reed, Carl Allen, Bob Belden, Marc Cary, Donald Harrison, Eric Alexander and so on have used him if he was second rate? Dwayne is an excellent bassist. And you? I think you're a liar.

  90. i think dwayne is too and said so numerous times. i think he is more of a session player for obvious reasons but i think he is incredibly talented and have said so despite his little grudge against me. in fact, i am reviewing something he plays on to post in a few weeks. the irony - the disc was not all that good but his performance along with one other guy makes it better than it really would be if he didnt play. feel better?

    also - payton equated the validity of my opinion with my race. that is racism 101. deal with it.

  91. and george...i have played music for 25 yrs. im sure you know 25 times more than i do but i dont write "for" musicians....never will. i write somewhere between critic and publicist to giver perspective. my perspective is valid. you do not have to agree with an opinion to respect may call it over generalization but when your vocals are not on pitch they are not on pitch. do i sugar coat it to make it all special? i treated no different then one or two others and like one guy said, he brought this on himself but i think he wanted to.

  92. ..... this is a study in human behavior, among other things......

  93. "i'm out, george."
    "for the record, i'm done here"
    "now that does it for me"
    "i wont be checking back. don't need to"

    - Brent Black

    yet he keeps on returning... hmm....

  94. so you dont have a name and expect to have credibility mr. anonymous? wow....yawn.

    seems like more then just me thinks something is wrong with him....

  95. Well, then let's just agree to disagree. I'm not a singer, but I've worked with tons of them, and I've even taken voice lessons. Nicholas' voice does everything it's supposed to do. He's got resonance, he has control of chest and head voice, he's got control of tone color,vibrato in the right places, and has a lot of rhythm and soul, and to me he sounds in tune enough for me to listen to it.(I've been writing songs with lyrics too, and I make little sequences and singing over it, and let me assure you that is some out -of- tune, sad- ass- singing. Nick's singing has inspired me, although I may never get it together.) Hey, if you don't hear it like that, I can't force your ears to hear something they won't. But just don't be a jerk about it! I think you're making all of this too personal and you are just escalating it beyond where it needs to go.

    I had an incident a few years back where a somewhat prominent critic gave me a review in Jazztimes which I thought was similarly unfair and misinformed. I had paid a publicist 3000 dollars out of my pocket, so I was kind of pissed that my hard earned cash was seemingly backfiring.
    So I engaged in an email "discussion" with this writer. It was fairly civil, but heated. I'm passionate about my music, he was convinced that his review was correct, and we went back and forth for a while. Eventually, this writer relented and apologized, and offered to take me out to lunch when he visited New York. Being a jazz musician, the mere mention of a free meal was all I needed to forgive and forget; by the time he picked me up for our luncheon, I had forgotten the whole controversy. I think this will all blow over eventually. Brent, you are entitled to your opinion, but you need to have a little more humility and watch the tone. Calling a CD by a major jazz artist a "trainwreck" is obviously asking for trouble. And casually belittling a man's career like that is also asking for trouble. You didn't like the CD, but don't make up lies and make it into a personal attack!

    I think if you just suck it up and apologize this whole thing would be done. Hey, maybe we could just say it was a publicity stunt to attract attention to Nick's CD and our respective blogs!

    And apologize to Dwayne too, you should know better than to cyber -tangle with him. Dwayne is a seriously bad MF, also very opinionated, but he knows his stuff. It takes courage to admit that you are wrong. I admit I'm wrong every day, I am married, after all.......ha ha

  96. i didnt make it into a personal attack, i backed up everything. it is what it is...and you dont think a title like bitches is asking for it? sounds like you have a personal axe to grind because a critic ripped you a new one too. part of the game. the man equated my opinion with my race and puts out a sexist piece of garbage and you want to me apologize? and i owe dwayne nothing other than sympathy for his obvious anger management issues. the all about jazz forum thread backs me up that there are more people than me that dont like. and payton comes off looking horrible. its a review for gods sake. i feel sorry for you both on your next bad ones if you get any cause youll probably hang yourself. i owe no one an apology - you can suck it up. i was not belittling a career but stating the musical truth. the man was hot years ago, he cant give his raggity shit away now. thats my fault? did i play on the record? i strongly advise you to drop my feed. that is the final word except given dwaynes obvious racial hate towards me you excuse his mouth? get your pander on dawg and get off my site or there will be follow up. you can make it easy on yourself or not-up to you. im emailing dwaynes hate speech to every major label and publist i know. racism and threats are wrong no matter what color you are. apologize? piss a professional courtesy i will promise to never review you because my bias would come through. unplug and move on. go to the all about jazz forum thread and read what a stupid fuck this guy really is. now post away...not coming back but im not asking im telling you to unplug the feed.

  97. Toot your horn, Nicholas! After all you are a trumpet player. Bassists tend to show less ego. We just grumble under our breath. Pwash, Webber, Burno, et cetera. Post script: When that guy mentioned Chris Botti that should have been OUR cue: "Head out, Coda, or stroll!" What's the point of trying to educate a numbskull?

  98. I don't know what you mean by feed. I'm actually not that blog savvy. You mean the link to your review?

  99. I took out the link,Brent, what else should I do?

  100. Why did Brent Black delete all his posts on Nick? It's a shame that a person like him is a jazz critic.

  101. Methinks Brent needs a little anger management as well! I'm Just sayin'!

  102. oh my! If Nick is powerful enough to revolutionize the 'J' word to BAM do you think he could eradicate this irritating, irrational little Brent Black character from the internet?
    The lack of respect he is giving to you musicians is astounding.
    "Can't give away his raggedy shit"! Could Brent Black ever sell out a prime jazz room in NYC? He says he is a musician right?!
    Wonder if he has ever even been to Dizzy's, Birdland, Jazz Standard during one of Nicholas' weeks there?
    The 'standing room only' is usually filled by Nicholas' peers.
    I'm disgusted by Mr Black.

    (Would like to be a fly on the wall should he ever show up at one of Mr. Burno's gigs! lol!)

  103. wow george. hopefully you run a site with limited knowledge then call me out for saying i dont have knowledge of o.k. if you are taking my feed, the rss feed then drop it. sounds like you may have you just dont get the terminology-unlike you i can work with that. just checked the billboard charts and the album isnt charting anywhere. for that last time. love his early work. think this is trash. just because YOU tried to BUY a good review for 3 k dont make it my issue. and i have ripped many a white player for pulling the same stuff payton has so the racist nonsense doesnt work. did you check out his appearance at all about jazz? yikes. so lets see. the album is not charting a month after release and suddenly payton turns publicity hound? hmmm and its all about the music? right. thats like when they say its not about the money its always about the money. youve admitted a personal bias because of your relationship with nick, allowed dwayne to make threats that will come back to haunt him and you approve of a record called bitches want me to apologize so here goes....
    I am truely sorry to have to tell you the album isnt charting because the majority of the record buying public agree with me and the record is not good. you mentioned resonance in his voice but you never mentioned PITCH. the dude is a half step off and sings from the neck up. anemic and weak. it is what it is. long as you are not taking the feed as i told you before we are cool. you work your side of the street and i will work mine. i dont pander. if you dig the record cool. no worries. but the ones that scream diversity the most practise it the least as you have never acknowledged his racial bias towards me that exists on his site right. the review is correct and the record is not charting so this is the end result and somewhere payton is laughing his ass off at both of us....#JAZZ! drop the feed/link and thats it....thanks and all the best.

  104. There are more bitches on this blog than Nicholas Payton will ever meet in his lifetime.

  105. Brent, I actually tried to defend you, and I think my issues with your post were mature and objective. Again, I assume we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I took off the link to your site, and I never did an rss feed, as far as I know. Anyway, let's just end it here cause it's getting ridiculous. I don't hate you.

    But it's time to move on. Thanks for all the great comments and stay tuned for more from

  106. You all talk too much....Just play the music ..

  107. Jazz truth....shame on you Liar!!!

  108. you can sign all the contract in the world with a Major Record lable still won't be able to make it ...I don't see Herbie, Corea, Sandoval, Harrel, Benson, or any of those guys talking shit about them self......the world talk about them.... YOURS it's only a frustration!!! That's all it is....

  109. for the rational, knowledgeable, informed folks here, I've said all I can. I know you'll (black) never show at any venue where I appear, from the village vanguard, Dizzy's, the Blue Note, the Jazz Standard, Smoke, Carnegie Hall and fenues around the globe. You don't have the heart. A session player....hmmm. I've recorded about 150 plus recordings in the 22 years of recording I've done, performed with the best from Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Benny golson Barry Harris, cedar Walton, Joe Chambers, on down to the best of my generation. There's nothing I need to prove to anyone and most certainly and especially not you. You're the lowest of the low, the most ignorant of ignunts, and foolish of the fools. You're a hack as a writer and I'm sure if you also claim to be a musician you're a hack at that, as well. On my worst day, your best is yards below me. Save your sympathy and your money. Yiur going to need them both. Did you ever get a job? maybe I can get you some work at the studio, sweeping up when we're done....

  110. George, I never said you were wrong! Signed, Your Wife

  111. dwayne...You are the that what you are trying to make us to believe? LMAO..

  112. who the fuck do you thing you guys are...Just a bunch of animals....

  113. laughing my ass off at the major dick tuck brent black is pulling. he will NEVER live this shit down.

    dude, you might as well start a political blog.
    your days as a "music writer" are over.

  114. I've proven Brent Black to be a liar. He said I hadn't had a deal since 2008 and it is not the truth, period. He's guilty of libel and I will sue. He's telling lies with the intent of defaming my reputation as as musician. Not that I'm threatened by anything he's said. It's so ridiculous I found it to be hilarious.

    He called my record a trainwreck and did NOT back it up. He mention no tunes in the initial "review" and no specific references to any of the music at all. Like I've said, what do you expect from I writer who uses wiki as a reference. Enough said. He has proven himself to not be credible.

    I never said I was better than every living trumpeter in the world or the best, I just said there is no one better, and there isn't. There has never been a trumpeter who can play in every style from New Orleans up through Swing, Bebop and now with the authority that I can. This is a fact, not an opinion. To start, none of the trumpeters on Brent Black's list can play in the New Orleans style alone as well as me, so already that ends that part of the argument. Not that New Orleans styled music is more important than other parts of the idiom, but it's the foundation so I'm using it as a basis to prove my claim.

    Neobop and I have had some words, but I hope he finally gets why I say what I say and do what I do, if for no other reason than to bring assholes like Brent to the front and to show how some people really think about this music and some of its practitioners. Unfortunately, when Marcus, Nextbop and I had a public feud, some of these White guys lobbied behind them because they were Black and it gave them validation. That's why Black guys have to stick together, at least from a public perspective.

    Brent has shown himself to be an angry hateful liar and that's all we really need to know. Can't argue with a fool with a vengeance.

    George, I want my 3,000 dollars for driving more people to your site than your publicist has been able to. LOL!

  115. to "anonymous" - Dwayne Burno never said, or implied in any form or fashion that I am the best. I am the best Dwayne Burno but as a bassist and musician, composer arranger and producer, I am simply one of the many gifted and talented folks like me. Anyone that knows, knows my name is high at the New York list and I fall within the top ten to fifteen calls and have since age 19 (1989). I have no desire to "toot my own horn". Never have, never will. Not my job or place. I'm a humble guy. I'm not the politician, walking around back-patting, patronizing and brownosing anyone. No shucking, no jiving and certainly as you like to claim, no pandering. You would know that if you knew anything about me. But you would also know that if you breathe or look or touch wrongly in the direction of those people or things that matter to me (i.e. my family, my fellow musicians, which also constitutes my family, my livelihood), I will spare you no amount of pain. I'll go THAT far. West Philly far and further. Those that know, KNOW. I'm with NP. You've more than adeptly and quite expertly and clearly shouwn us that you have no actual, factual or historic perspective on Black music or music, no skill as a writer (grammar, punctuation, syntax... and these though only two examples of many of yours, aren't typos. raggity is spelled raggedy and inditement is spelled indicment, but 8 year-olds in the Scrips spelling bees can tell you that. As previously stated, I wrote and continue write at a higher level than you back when I was in Elementary school). You simply are devoid of human decency, common sense and credibility. You are a waste of human protoplasm and the load you mammy should have swallowed.

  116. Everyone needs to (a) get laid or (b) tug one out. What the fuck? Nicholas is a bad ass motherfucker who has proven himself all the way back to his childhood in NOLA. I'm not a righter, so I care not about sphelling or gramer. But those who profess to be writers ought pay attention to that shit. Feel free to disagree with Nicholas, but take your dick out of your asshole, wipe it off, clean it up, tug it a bit, release, and have a fucking sandwich. The postings on this well written blog have devolved into udder horseshit. I think Bitches, while not my favorite Payton offering, is pretty dam tight. I'm not usually into that shit and prefer a more traditional BAM offering, but I can dig what he's getting at and it truly showcases his unique musical talent. There you go Brent Douchebag Black (ironic last name, don't you think?), in two (2) sentences, I just wrote a better critique of his album than you could ever hope for with your bullshit ramblings (take that as a personal critique of your reviews, which I for some reason spent an afternoon reading). Onwards and upwards (and I suggest you do the same Brent, you don't have much else left at this point you friggin' bigoted douchebag).

  117. Low Class Y'all......

  118. I found your entry Much Ado About Nicholas Payton very interesting and involving.
    Jazz, like Blues and other very influential modern forms of music doesn't come from the music departments of universities. It is studied there!
    Same goes for the record industry it didn't create it, it discover it.
    The problem lies exactly there: those entities try to own it, codify it, copyright it, till it becomes totally sterile and lifeless.
    Artists who have the courage to incorporate and find inspiration in the forms of music coming from spontaneous creation such as Hip Hop and other music expressions of today are to be respected. For example we acknowledge what Herbie Hancock did in the 60's and 70's adding new twist incorporating funk rhythms and sounds.
    These days in Europe the gypsies are influencing jazz quite a bit with Flamenco and Gypsy Jazz, making jazz alive once more there, rather than frozen back in 1969 or 1959 whatever time would be like it is happening here in the States.
    I think the problem beside being racial or ethnic solely has more to deal with power and control: a class of people decides what to teach and sell, limiting individual freedom and the beauty of spontaneity.
    It is a matter of inculcating and distributing a product creating a mental image in its subjects who swallows it and believe it and call it the name they tell them to call it.
    Music can definitely be a natural form of rebellion, and going back to the roots can be very refreshing both for artists and audience, especially lately that jazz has become standardized as it happened with classical music at the end of 19th century.
    We should thank the African-American community, the gypsies and whoever else for bringing once more a new twist and life to what we already know.
    Look around and you'll see how dead American society has become both economically and culturally. We need more artists who aren't afraid of adopting new powerful and shocking forms of expression created and listened by people with tough background. Their talent has the potential to elevate it and make it understandable to a bigger audience.

  119. I posted back about 60 or so posts and wow what has gone on since. Fan may come from fanatic, but just because we are fans of jazz and not players doe not mean we cannot say what we like or dislike, in a respectful way, and what a fan says, if you read him enough and know where he comes from, can be as valuable as a critic when seeingwhat is out there. I read a lot of blogs and can see for example which critics are avant garde followers of works on cryptogramaphone or pi or other equally avant garde labels, so I know imediately what context to put their reviews. Simialrly there are those who you can tell are maistream listeners, some who are eclectics, some who hate bringing rap or house music into the jazz mix, etc. So why not a listener who is sincere? I actually resent the implication made earlier that listeners should bug out. Without critics and listeneers, how would I find out about new music; how would I know today about the Basho label artists from England, or the new young plyers here in the states who self-produce outsading things?

    As far as a civil exchange, Mr. Black clearly has no clue. But the rest clearly do, and I would love an exchange regarding what falls under the title Jazz or BAM, how large is the tent, etc. And why can't a fan write meaningful remarks?

  120. I learned a long time ago that critics and most fans, only view things in absolutes. Musicians never do. New Orleans style jazz, free jazz, fusion, whatever it's all good to a musician. It's either played well or played badly. Because we know how much love and hard work goes into creating music, we never dismiss it easily.

    Critics have to put something in a box and label it. If it doesn't fit their expectations of what they thought they were getting, then they hate it. They have to hate it with a passion to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. It's amazing how little critics know about the music we play. The stupid questions, I've been asked by critics and jazz writers over the years. I used to be shocked at how little they know about what is really happening on the bandstand, yet they have all these strong opinions based on ignorance. Why this guy is better than another guy. They live in their own little world of their own rules of what is proper and what isn't. Musicians never think like that. We view music as changing. What someone sounds like today, isn't what they will sound like tomorrow. Who wants to sound the same all the time. Record the same music all the time.

    So Nicholas wanted to do a different kind of project. Do I think it's a good idea to call an album "Bitches", not really, kind of funny maybe. But I would never dismiss the music because of the title. I've only listened to the tracks he has posted on his website. I wasn't really into it. And that's as far as an opinion I am going to have on it. Doesn't mean it was bad. I just didn't really dig it. I thought his voice was ok, I wasn't blown away by it, but he wasn't terrible or anything. I just thought, oh he's making an R&B record. He's obviously an amazing musician, so he has my respect in whatever he does. I also only listened 1 time to those tracks and not the whole CD. I have many CDs in my collection that I wasn't into the first time I listened. But after a few times, I started to appreciate them more.

    If critics started from that place, it would be easier to deal with them. I remember a Seamus Blake CD that came out about 10 years ago. One of the tunes, he sings on. It's not a jazz tune. The rest of the CD is jazz, but this one tune is more of a singer songwriter vibe. The tune is beautiful. Seamus voice? Not great, but ok. But it doesn't matter, the song and the playing is beautiful. So what does some critic say about it. The CD is uneven, he can't sing. He's confused, doesn't know what direction he wants to go in. Blah, blah blah. No he just wanted to record a beautiful tune he wrote, that's it. Sorry it didn't fit your expectations of jazz.

    Critics want the musician to feel that they know as much as the musician does. You don't. Unless you can do what we do, you never will. It's the difference between driving a car and knowing how to build a car and driving a car. Who's the expert? We all have ears you know. They are more trained than yours ever will be. Not all opinions are equal. So for Brent Black to think he can go toe to toe with the musicians posting on this blog, just shows how ignorant he is.

  121. I hang out at one of the few remaining independent jazz music stores around as do a lot of other folks. Some are just listeners -- let's not say fans -- some are actually musicians. After a while I know what Steve likes, or campy, or Fred, or Neil, and so if one of them gives me an opinion on something they heard, I can mull it over, classify who it cmae from, and use that as input into my decision whether to buy the cd. Not my sole input, but a part of my input. Often they ask of me what I have heard recently that I liked. I wouldn't suggest to Neil the same things I would suggest to Steve -- one likes mainstream bop/postbop, piano trios or mellow tenors, the other is inot ECM, Steve Coleman, and a little more of what some call the fringe. But never does anyone assume that what they say is gospel, or that when they say they didn't like something they were saying it was bad; all they are doing is expressing a aview, which is informed by their own taste and listening experience.

    This is how I suggest criticism should be valued -- not as technical insights on meter chanages or the use of flatted 7ths or other subtleties inside the music, all better left to the musicians to discuss and parse -- but as guideposts along the way to learning more about the music and muscians, what is out htere, and what might even expand smoebody's horizons. I would like nothing beter than somebody to say to me "Oh if you like X, then you should really listen to him/her playing with Y, or you should try Z because I think you'll find it somewhat similar." Don't, as a critic or listener, simply say "Don't listen to Bitches, it sucks" whic htells me nothing. Instead, maybe tell me that it is a departure from his other music, a little more of the r and b thing, it has singing, some electronices, etc. These are things I can deal with and put into my frame of reference, and then I can decide what to do.

    But do not dismiss me because I am just a listener. In a perfect world you might make art for art's sake, but in this world I think you need listeners and fans to support your work, pass the word, andprovide the feedback/praise anyone likes to receive.

    I really like what the previous post said in this vein -- let's not try to pretend we know as much as the musicians do, let's not pretend we know motivations unless they are stated, let's just talk about how the music made us feel when we heard it. And that is what it is about -- feeling the music, enjoying the vibe, and participating in the experience.

  122. A more rational response directed to George... It's probably best to let this all sit here because it shows this idiot's knowledge and personality. But it reads like a cancer after a while.

    I wouldn't shut the comment section down, but require a google id, moderate with approvals instead of just word verification, or simply delete the majority of garbage and notate in the bottom of the post that you removed a lot of this junk. Especially the ones hiding and abusing the handles to attempt to create fusion and only showing himself to be more of an ass.

  123. And to the last Anonymous poster... There was some good dialog recently encapsulated in this npr blog post ( concerning if writers needed to know the music to write about it. Across blogs and other places, a lot of musicians chimmed in with very thoughtful answers that ran the gamut.

  124. just wanted to point out, "just don't lie like a girl" is a pretty sexist statement.

  125. To get back to Nicholas Payton's proposed terminology change: the only trouble with the term "Black American Music" is that it isn't specific enough to be useful. I mean, think about it: blues, rhythm and blues, ragtime, spirituals, gospel, soul, rock and roll, jazz, funk, hip-hop... if jazz is Black American Music, so is all the music that goes by all of those names. There's a lot more American music that's BAM than there is that isn't BAM. It's important to be able to distinguish between these styles without needing a paragraph of description each time. I say to a friend, "Hey, want to listen to some Black American Music?" "Yeah, I love that stuff!" I put on Duke Ellington. My friend says, "Oh, THAT Black American Music. Sorry, I like the kind of Black American Music played by Albert King." Or vice-versa, and so on. Even if it's accurate, a label isn't useful if it's too all-encompassing.

    P.S. George, thank you for this blog and your always measured tone. A word to the wise for everyone who was dragged into the Brent Black flame war: the first rule of Internet communication is "don't feed the trolls"!

  126. nicholas - when i have written similar reviews on white artists no one can call me racist. i have proven your racism with your own words. sue do not know or understand the very definition of the word. you claming to swing better than anyone on my list is an opinon not a verifiable fact but a point that can be argued ten different ways by ten different critics. your last record on a major label was 08, your concord deal fell through so you dont have a label deal. a label deal without a record is like being a little bit pregnant. sue me. i will file a counter. no judge would hear the case and unless you can read my mind you can not establish any malcious intent. here is a fun fact, record been out over a month and not in the top 200 on jazz week. not on bill board. on the all about jazz forum thread you state "this is publicity you can not buy" sue me.

  127. Judging from the number of posts, it looks like all the "White" folks who wanted to respond to Nick'FB and twitter posts but felt discouraged from doing so by Nick himself ("if you're White, stay out of my business") showed up on George's blog. While I find some of Nick's reactions to dissenting opinions intolerant and puerile (eg: "Jeremy Pelt is the cheap Wal-Mart knock-off version of me"), I do appreciate the reasons behind his disdain for the word "J---." But as diverse as the music that is commonly referred to as "J---" may be today, isn't BAM still too general a term to replace it? After all, Black American Music comprises not only music that is commonly referred to as "J---," but r&b, hip-hop, soul, Motown, blues, gospel etc. How would we refer to the different styles or subsets of Black American Music? And if Nick is truly serious about this new calling - to replace the J word with BAM, is he willing to turn down gigs at festivals and other venues that bear the name "J---?" Will he turn down master classes or other teaching positions at "J---" programs at colleges across the country? Will he refuse to have his music played by stations such as J---88.3 in Newark or K----88.1 in SoCal or reviewed by magazines such as J--- Times, J---iz or alllaboutj---? I've heard that Yusef Lateef refused to play at venues that served alcohol because he is a Muslim. From what I have heard, he stood by his beliefs. Will Nick stand by his?

    Re. Brent Black: I wonder if there is a youtube video or a recording where we can hear him play? I am very curious to hear his music.

    I agree with George that many reviews are poorly written with little care, attention and sensitivity by people who have little or no understanding of music in general or worse yet, by people who may at one point have played some musical instrument on some level. Ultimately though, I think that criticisms which imply being analytical have no place in music, as it should be listened to and felt by the heart (and if it's any good, by the body as well).

  128. NP said: "There is no living soul who can walk on a bandstand anywhere in the world and play more horn than me. Period."

    Slow down there Sparky, you're not the King of Jazz just yet...

  129. Nicholas paintblack (sorry) paynton you are an evil "motherfucker" "Racist" and pregudest!

  130. @the last anonymous fool- either make your 6th grade classes or learn the word you can't spell. prejudiced. idiot

  131. I cannot tell you how incredibly tired I am from reading this. Got testosterone? Shit, my neighborhood this is just masturbation. We got an Issue, we deal in lead.

    Here's the thing. When I read a blog or article concerning jazz, I'm interested in the opinions of the folk writing about the vast panoply of jazz musicians and, more specifically, the music they produce, that I might be inspired to purchase or otherwise cop said music for my enjoyment. "Jazz is black music"--no shit! Obvious, anyone? This black music inspired a whole lot of white cats to swing, too. Problem with that? I got a problem with my information source getting drenched by your pissing contest.

    Grow the fuck up, all of you. We jazzmaniacs are supposed to be sophisticated individuals playing sophisticated music with the verve of children, not children attempting sophisticated music in memory of sophisticated individuals.

    @georgecolligan: now can we get back to what sounds good out there and why?

  132. He is a great trumpeter. One just has to hear his music to see why. Nice piece

  133. (Payton)can play the horn...we all know that....but he's not the only one out there..... be cool man don't create more thing I know I will never want to see you and hear you and support you!! You need to learn to respect the others!!

  134. Nicholas Payton should stop playing at all jazz venues unless he can convince the owners to change their names from jazz to BAM.

  135. The idea that Payton should refuse to play at venues that use the term "jazz" is foolish. Or would those who say as much argue that Ellington, Roach, Mingus, AACM folks, and so forth should also have refused to play jazz festivals and such. That criticism is such a non-starter.

    The better criticism is that BAM is 1) taken (Brooklyn Academic of Music); 2) bewilderingly capacious (hence impractical). But the predicament reminds me of what's wrong with the jazz-replacement term "creative improvised music": its color-blindness is blind to history and power. Then we have "African-American classical music," which makes more sense but brings its own problems. It lacks the flavor of bewildering capaciousness which is both needed (by insiders who think big) and off-putting (by outsiders who want everything in its right place).

    Truly a vexing situation. I think Payton is really onto something big because when I ask my students what "jazz" is they say.....swing beat, pre-rock, pre-funk.... or they say instrumental r&b in the manner of Kenny Gorelick. Jazz is like the hole in the middle of the donut.

  136. To complete my last thought. "Creative improvised music" works in a setting like the AACM where black social identity and institutional commitments remains paramount. Outside of such a context, it becomes something else entirely. I guess I'm still a little mad at Derek Bailey for dissing jazz as being on the conservative side of "improvised music."....

    There is a tradition of more conservative white jazz critics whose work is worth reading, whether for its literary value, musical insight, or historical reach. For example, Philip Larkin, Terry Teachout, James Lincoln Collier. That dude writing above, who refuses even to use clear grammar or adult vocabulary, ain't in that tradition.

    There is also a tradition of more politically conservative (or radically anti-radical) black jazz critics whose work is worth reading. Depending on one's sense of the term "conservative," that list might include Albert Murray, Stanley Crouch, and even Ralph Ellison. Again, that dude above ain't in that trajectory either.

    Back to BAM and its discontents, please.

  137. Dear Nicholas Payton, please don't call me white; my ancestors left me as Jeff Riley, and that is all I take responsiblility for. My music is not BAM, my music is Jeff Riley music. Also, you should know that the angry black man routine is desperate and you can do better. Hmm... Pickett outside your show, go in anyway, and meet you afterwards for a good conversation about fears and dillusions. I will give you a copy of my book... might help with the divorce!

  138. I think Payton is great but I find anyone who talks about himself in the 3rd person to be silly. I would love to see Payton make more records and blog less. Speak with your horn.

  139. payton is psychotic. i heard a radio interview where he talks of something speaking through him. he's going to heal humanity through convincing them that popular music is black and came from new orleans, the two things he's most proud of, by the way. being black and coming from new orleans in this wretched post-wynton era, two things that will make someone think that they can roll out of bed and be authentic. no one's deep enough to overcome that. he doesn't play all that good either, nice hats though.

  140. dave - not once did mr. black ever say he knew more about music then professional musicians. what he did say was that payton is a racist, the album stinks and now every artist deserves a five star review. you can be technically proficient and still put out crappy music. i looked it up, where the hell is bitches on the charts? cant find it? doesnt look like black tried to go toe to toe with anyone, looks like he was trying to simply state the fact that some black musicians like payton are racist publicity hounds, maybe if you read what he wrote and didnt interject your own bias you wouldnt be such a moron

  141. I'm so sick of these New Orleans con men who get attention with their verbal controversies and make disposable music. No one cares about W. Marsalis anymore because his music of that time (or any) is not worthy of study (although we're feeling the horrible repercussions of it), but if you were around in the early '80's it was much more controversial than this moronic BAM thing.

  142. Roy Hargrove's no genius but Payton not even close to as good as him let alone 100 other guys spade and ofay I could name.

  143. Post 1:
    Nicholas Payton says that no one has ever refuted anything he has every written in any 'cogent' way. Here is a great list of things presented in knock-out fashion:

    And I'm not just talking about the grammar errors and typos that this guy points out (which are hilarious btw) but some of the points where Payton makes bland sweeping statements about terms, or other races, etc. Actually Payton does this a lot, and never sources anything. Yet if anyone doesn't agree with him, they're either racist or victims of a 'colonialist' mindset, especially white people. As if many many white people don't also have the mental fortitude to know about these things (colonialism, or colonialist mindsets) he talks about, just because we are not black. As if all whites are robots and can't use critical thinking. As if there were never any white people who suffered for black causes to help them try and attain equality in the US.

    Ultimately what Payton needs to realize is that whites and blacks in or outside of Jazz or BAM or whatever it is, need to live, learn and work together to form that ideal and egalitarian society people like Dr. Martin Luther King aspired to, and maintaining racial divides and using racial terminology when labeling things is only just that-- divisive. As the brilliant black american evolutionary biologist Joseph L. Graves proved in his amazing read 'The Emperors New Clothes,' 'separate human races do not exist empirically.' Payton's angry posts are not inviting anyone in, and his blanket, sweeping statements about other races, mainly the white race, are just unfactual when applied to the ENTIRE race, and not to mention his definition, or should I say 'opinion' of racism and how blacks can not be racist.
    According to his definition 'racism = power' and since blacks are not in power anywhere in the world (wrong again he sees things only through US binoculars) they can't be racist. Let's look at modern day Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe and his majority black government have been documented as sanctioning racist acts against white citizen farmers there ( In this country, black people are in power, and they are committing acts of hate, violence and discrimination against whites, therefore according to Payton's definition this would indicate racism, which also defeats his 'opinion' that blacks can't be racist. And keep in mind one might say 'well the whites were never welcomed in zimbabwe to begin with so they got what they deserved' To that I say I agree it's terrible that britain colonized zimbabwe in the way they did (but humans of all colors have been colonizing humans of all colors since the agricultural revolution), but the fact is still that blacks are in power there in that particular country, and they are committing racist acts against white people. Therefore according to Payton's definition on racism, blacks can be racist. From reading Payton's posts, and the fact that he assigns certain inherent traits across the board to the white race and then because of that engages in using discriminating language towards whites based on his prejudices he is in fact a racist himself, for this is the true definition of racism, look it up in any of the world's dictionaries from china to africa to the US. But everyone knows this, I shouldn't have had to explain all of that. Sure, Payton plays music with white people, but like many people he's racist when he chooses to be.

  144. Post 3 and final, sorry so long, but people I mean this!!

    There are some recent postings on other blog sites of in depth interviews by Nicholas where here is dropping the jazz word left and right, like the recent one on ted panken's blog from 2001. he's using the jazz word as if there is nothing wrong with it. He's using it affectionately when describing the things he's talking about. Yet now he's equating it with the word 'nigger' All I can think of here is that Nicholas has obviously changed his 'view' on the word Jazz since then. So, then, how is it not possible that the world at large or america (since that's what he rants about most), has not changed their opinion on the word jazz, since it was according to him a derogatory term from the outset? How come Nicholas can change, but other people can't? If whites, or some whites I should say, did use jazz as a derogatory word against blacks, then I would argue that that has changed across the board since then (and both white and black musicians are also agreeing with me if you look around the net), and it is not at all a bad term towards blacks anymore, but a celebration of all they have given the world with this music. Words' meanings change over time. If anything, this could be celebrated by blacks as a victory, that they have taken a word that was derogatory towards them and turned it around on the world and made it to mean a celebration of their music. I mean that's one way to look at it isn't it? Because the simple fact is that the word jazz is only used by people in a good or endearing way, and I'm talking gernerally speaking. I realize jazz musicians have been moaning about it, what it means, and all of that since the outset. And yes, some prominent musicians hate it. But many black icons of this music love it! I personally think it's a lousy way to collectively describe all the different sub genres that evolved in this music since the original blacks invented it back in the day, but equating it to the same level as a 'nigger' I'm sorry, but are we in third grade here? now on his site he is putting j*** yet he freely uses pretty much every other profanity under the sun. On one hand he says the word jazz labels musicians as poor and drug addicts, etc, yet he's using all this horrible language perpetuating that exact myth that jazz musicians are losers who use bad language?! Who's the one painting a bad picture about musicians? There's another conundrum if you ask me.

    Point is, is Payton's contradicting himself all over the place and has a one dimensional view of the world. He does make some good points in this BAM debate, but ultimately he's being very divisive and he's does harbor racist views of white people. He's proven that, and I don't think he or anyone else who think jazz is the same as nigger could be playing at 'jazz' clubs and actually go through with it. He's defining everything through his own experience, and forcing that as fact for all of the world, and things don't work like that. Plus, the world is way bigger than that, and full of a lot of people of all races who would like to get beyond all of this.

    Not to mention I believe fully he's doing all of this to get buzz and sell records!

    I say don't buy it and stop playing into his game! If you want to own his music (and I have every one of his records cause I do agree he's amazing as a musician) own it cause you're a fan of his music, not because of all the angry and divisive posts he's currently making public.

    1. What I find more disconcerting than the insane ramblings of this obviously mentally unhinged (saviour?!) wanna-be star is the fact that people think he's so good as a musician. Have they heard his latest? Even the most gullible sheep has to find this one hard to make themselves like. Just like he's fooling people with his self-proclaimed internet hustle, he's getting over as a "great musician". He's no better than any of these other New Orleans con men (he's better at hiding his corniness)who exploit a hungry racist white jazz public looking for the next black prophet. Then he has the nerve to complain about the whiteness of his audience! Niggas ain't interested in your lameass shit.

  145. Sorry everyone, for some reason, i copied in my posts in the wrong order, please read in order to make sense from start to finish! sorry George!

  146. okay, so it's not letting me post my 2nd post for some reason...

  147. since I wasn't able to post my second post, i've made up my own quick blog with my full thoughts here on nicholas payton....

    don't know what this went wrong but wouldn't let me post all of it.

  148. This comment has been removed by the author.

  149. This comment has been removed by the author.

  150. i may not like everything about an artist but i have the intellectual capacity to separate my personal feelings from the art that is created. my only problem with mr paytons music is how he labels it. i played it for my friends in nashville and they agreed with me that it is not hiphop music and should not be labeled as such. I'm amazed at how much controversy his album bitches has generated. he has many valid points about the music, but what he fails to discuss is the divide in the black community that exist musically because many blacks from the south feel that blacks in "privileged" positions and those allowed to study music are out of touch with their world,or if he did maybe i missed it. even if he doesn't mean to his language and cyber duals will prob make a lot of them feel like most artist from the jazz realm must be out of touch to be creating such a ruckus over music many in the black community feel was procured by the mainstream culture from us many years ago. be that as it may, lets be honest, its music. it is not brain surgery, it is not quantum physics, and it is not tantric buddhism most of the time. there are a lot of things to get upset and pissed off about but music isn't one of them. if mr payton is concerned with the dislike he gets from the some in the black and or non-black community by people he deems aren't intellectual equals to him on the bandstand he might want to start asking himself how many fields of human endeavor might inform his music sensibilities , many of which he is not a master of. if you want to play rap music then rap, that is a clear issue with labeling the music properly(regardless of who puts the labels on iTunes music). i will not in a public forum criticize another brother for their attitude towards a country that is obviously biased towards european descendants because we all have a personal history in this country as blacks that could fill a library with bestsellers, but i will say there are times when you can go off on the war path and create collateral damage because you are not focused on the bigger picture in the way that you think you are, and its much bigger than anyone with any wits or humble awareness dares to speak of. i respect the man but his methods are painful to watch at times. i grew up in an environment in which someones personal dislike of me or comments towards me were just part of life and not a reason to get "butt hurt." i would like to say to mr payton ,and i doubt he will ever read this, many of us are here to help you, if you stop attacking soldiers in the same camp as you then you might get further brother. right speech and action have to follow if you have true love for everyone and i think if he is the artist this writer claims he is( as i don't know him personally just from fb blogs and a master class once and hearing him play once) then he does. i can give two shits for this type of controversy and drama because I'm a scientist and i understand i don't understand or know everything about a lot of things,, music definitely being one of them, but he represents a great black and american tradition and the dialogue he has opened up should be discussed amongst us all. i have love for the music even if it is frozen in time, i have love for louisiana and new orleans, i have love for freedom of speech which he and we all have because of the blood our ancestors, and americans of all colors shed, and i have love for art as it is the highest abstraction of the human soul possible to the tangible senses. controversial though he may be i wish him the best, even if i don't like the way he labels his music, or his way of disagreeing with some of us, haha, but we are and i think he is bigger than that, and we can raise this music to another level, no matter what level we participate on, as long as it is from the heart and real, something each of us can only answer in private.. peace out...

  151. I want to thank Payton for inadvertently coming up with a label that actually covers most of the music made since the execrable young lion era of the early '80's. All these kids coming out of college with all sorts of chops and superficial knowledge of harmony(if I never hear another major sharp 11 chord...) as well as these would be original jazz/hip-hop morons who think their cursory glance at history is enough to prepare them for a platform on the world stage (all these corny-ass smooth jazz inflections, vomit). Drummers who think it's all about them. Bass players who want to run everything from below. Cats on stage exploding with joy about how great their music is and the crowd believing it. Brainless Ability Music. B. A. M.

  152. Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz Jazz

  153. He is a jazz musician, although Payton considers the label "jazz" inappropriate and refers to his music as "BAM", an acronym for Black American Music, inspirational music


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.