Nicholas Payton Kills It On Keys and Trumpet (and He Sings)


Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins , around 1959

Sonny Rollins is a world treasure, a living grand-master of Jazz who, even though he’s well into his 80s, still practices his tenor every day. On July 31, The New Yorker published a “satire” that was supposedly in the man’s own words. I usually love The Onion’s brand of humor but I found this piece not only deeply not funny and juvenile, but offensive, and I’m not offended by much (here’s the original article).



Nicholas Payton
Nicholas Payton

I heard about the article from trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Payton, who wrote a blog post that voiced what many might be feeling. I’m not a black American, but what Payton wrote rings true to me. In honor of both men, I thought I’d post a fantastic concert of Payton’s from 2012, the Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen.


Check out Payton’s technique, his embouchure, the pistol grip he uses at first and then changes. So cool to see great players up close like this. Check him out around 13:20 where he plays the Fender Rhodes keyboard and trumpet at the same time.

Playing a harmony instrument like piano or guitar sure is helpful. Lots of players do it. Just published, The Practice of Practice covers this and many other topics not covered by other books about practice. Borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime. If you buy a book, get the Kindle edition for free (Kindle Matchbook). The Practice of Practice (and all my other books) are available throughout Europe, Australia, South America, and Japan, too. Order using the links to the right.


Nicholas Payton (tpt, vox, keys)
Mike Moreno (gtr)
Vincent Archer (bs)
Corey Fonville (dr)
Johnaye Kendrick (vox)







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