Beyond Jazz: Mike Clark, Nicholas Payton, & Wil Blades

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Beyond Jazz: Mike Clark, Nicholas Payton, & Wil Blades
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Little Gem Saloon says
In the Saloon (Downstairs)
Limited Seating Reservations Available
$15 Advance, $20 Day of Show

Since 1994 when Nicholas Payton made his recording debut as a leader with “From This Moment,” the trumpeter has been lauded as one of the leading young instrumental voices in jazz. Even though he started out as a “young lion,” one of the new generation guardians of the swing and bebop flames, the 38-year-old Payton has devoted himself to discovering sounds outside of strict traditional confines. Having grown up in a family and community of musicians in New Orleans, Payton has built his unique voice by melding a post-bop foundation, a heavy emphasis on groove, a soulful history and various experimental elements. The New York Times has called Payton, “abundantly gifted,” while Music Direct describes his latest group including trumpet, piano, Fender Rhodes, bass, drums, percussion and vocals as “Soulful, pensive and romantic.”

Mike Clark gained worldwide recognition as one of America’s foremost jazz and funk drummers while playing with Herbie Hancock’s group in the 1970s. He first became known as a major innovator through his incisive playing on Hancock’s Thrust (1974) album, and Hancock once remarked, “the solo he played on ‘Actual Proof’ is one of the best drum solos on any of my albums.” Clark also appeared on Hancock’s groundbreaking Flood and Man-Child releases for the Columbia label, in addition to leading The Headhunters’ own albums for Arista Records, and playing on the now-legendary They Say I’m Different album (1974) by funk artist Betty Davis, ex-wife of Miles Davis. Next to James Brown’s drummer Clyde Stubblefield, Clark’s beats with The Headhunters (most notably on “God Make Me Funky”) are some of the most sampled in hip hop. While often referred to as the “Tony Williams of funk,” Mike considers himself a jazz drummer, and in fact has become one of the most vital to sit behind a set. He’s performed with jazz greats such as Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Bobby Hutcherson, Al Jarreau, and many more.

Wil Blades, a native Chicagoan, has become the San Francisco Bay Area’s first call organist and is rapidly gaining momentum throughout the world. He has been named in the Downbeat critics poll under “Rising Star” for organ every year since 2006. Wil has kept the traditional sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, and “Groove” Holmes alive, while creating a more personal, modern sound. Wil has performed and recorded with John Lee Hooker, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad, Joe Louis Walker, Don Braden, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Scott Amendola, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Billy Martin, Anders Osborne, Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Betty Joplin, Eddie Marshall, Herbie Lewis, and many others.
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By: Little Gem Saloon

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