Multi-instrumentalist, composer and trumpet master, Nicholas Payton is one of the most important artists working and recording today. A virtuoso before he was out of high school, his talent and skills have earned him praise and accolades and ensured his place in musical history. Spanning a multitude of musical genres, Payton has composed and arranged, performed and recorded with his own groups in many settings, including solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, 21-piece big band, as well as his 2012 full orchestral work The Black American Symphony.
Payton was born into a musical family in New Orleans, Louisiana. He showed talent for music at a very early age. He received his first trumpet at age 4 and by age 9 was sitting in with local bands including the Young Tuxedo Brass Band. By the age of 12, he was a member of the All-Star Brass Band that performed and toured extensively. As he developed and studied, Nicholas successfully learned how to play several instruments. In addition to being an accomplished trumpeter, Nicholas plays piano, bass, drums, tuba, trombone, clarinet and saxophone, et al. During his high school years, Payton attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts to study with Clyde Kerr Jr. and after graduation attended the University of New Orleans where he studied with Harold Battiste and Ellis Marsalis, among others.
When he was barely in his 20s, Nicholas made his major-label recording debut as a band leader on Verve Records. Since then, he has recorded a multitude of albums, as well as performed world-wide with his own groups and as a special guest. At age 25, Nicholas won a Grammy Award for his collaboration with Doc Cheatham.