As a member of the Young Lions along with saxophonist Joshua Redman and guitarist Mark Whitfield, Nicholas Payton helped revitalize jazz with his fiery chops and warm tone. His trumpet skills are phenomenal -- this is the type of player who is unhindered by any technical challenges while also being blessed with mature musicality. In terms of his stylistic approach, Payton plays 1960s Hard Bop with a strong New Orleans influence -- not only can he play, he knows the music's history and proves it by effectively linking its past with its future. Payton's writing becomes stronger with each successive album, consistently incorporating progressive instrumentation and textures into his compositions. His work offers further proof that jazz is not dead.