Stanford Jazz Workshop

SJW Artists

Peter Apfelbaum Sextet
Kenny Barron / Terrell Stafford / Dayna Stephens / Matt Wilson
Alan Broadbent Trio
Jimmy Cobb Quartet featuring Kenny Barron
Ruth Davies Blues Night featuring Barbara Morrison
Basie and Beyond: Jamie Davis and the Fred Barry Jazz Orchestra
Sasha Dobson Trio
Lou Donaldson Quartet
Madeline Eastman / Dena DeRose
Taylor Eigsti / Julian Lage Group
Eddie Gomez Trio / Frank Wess Quartet
Wycliffe Gordon Presents the Jazz Mentors
Wycliffe Gordon Quartet featuring Matt Wilson
Albert "Tootie" Heath
Jimmy Heath
Bobby Hutcherson
Nancy King
Lee Konitz
Maria Marquez Quintet
Jeb Patton Trio featuring Tootie Heath
Nicholas Payton Quintet
Kurt Rosenwinkel Group
John Santos Quintet
The Latin Side of the Great American Songbook with Peggy Stern
(New) Standards Night wtih Peter Stoltzman
Patrick Wolff Trio

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Nicholas Payton Quintet
One of the most brilliant trumpet players to emerge in the past decade, New Orleans native Nicholas Payton’s warm sound and easy feel are coupled with an astonishing technical virtuosity. The son of renowned bassist and sousaphonist Walter Payton, the younger Payton performed along with his dad in the “Young Tuxedo Brass Band” at nine years old. Attending the New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts and then studying with Ellis Marsalis at the University of New Orleans, Payton signed to Verve in the early 90’s. His releases such as Gumbo Nouveau and Payton’s Place won raves from critics, and established Payton as an artist of stature and distinction. Payton won a Best Instrumental Solo Grammy (for his playing on the album Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton), and was nominated again for the subsequent CD’s Dear Louis and Sonic Trance. Indeed, Doc Cheatham said of Nicholas, “Nicholas is definitely the greatest of the New Orleans-style trumpet players that I’ve ever heard.”

As a leader, Payton’s own CD’s, from the traditionalist Louis Armstrong homage Dear Louis to the exploratory grooves of Sonic Trance showcase his vast melodic vocabulary, dipping freely into his Louisiana past while expressing his modern voice. On his latest recording, Mysterious Shorter, Payton’s adept playing offers a fresh and assured interpretation of Wayne Shorter’s complex material.

Meanwhile, as a sideman, Payton has amassed over 80 recording credits, playing with artists such as Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Trey Anastasio, Dr. John, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Dianne Reeves and Milt Jackson. He joined the SFJAZZ Collective in 2004, touring and recording with the ensemble until 2006.

Also a composer, Payton is equally at home as a writer of his own material as he is as an interpreter. Never one to remain static, he enjoys exploring new textures, rhythms and sounds. With his new Quintet, Payton is again on the move, pushing himself into unknown creative territory. As Payton himself said in an interview from 2003: “I’d like to progress musically, to not get in a rut. I don’t want to only do one style for the rest of my career. I love jazz and I always will, but I like to keep taking chances, and take the music to different places.”

To read a Festival Preview feature including a profile of Nicholas written by Andy Gilbert for the San Jose Mercury News, click here for our "Media Archives" page.

To find out more about Nicholas, go to


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