Since 1994 when Nicholas Payton made his recording debut as a leader with 'From This Moment,' the trumpeter has been lauded as a significant, top-tier voice in jazz. Even though he started out as a "young lion of jazz," heralded as one of the new-generation guardians of the hard bop flame, 34 year-old Payton devoted himself to discovering his voice outside of the strict confines of that rearview mirror approach to the music. Having grown up in a family of musicians in the jazz Mecca of New Orleans, Payton has built his unique voice by melding a post-bop foundation, a heavy emphasis on groove, his soulful history, and various experimental elements. While his jazz journey has taken him down many roads - from heritage artist to electric experimenter - the 34-year-old trumpeter arrives at a new plateau of jazz maturity with his most recent release, 'Into the Blue,' his ninth album and his first for Nonesuch. The New York Times has called Payton "Abundantly gifted", and Music Direct describes his music as "Soulful, pensive and romantic."