Sonic Trance It's gotten to the point where you can't throw a copy of Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters" without hitting a neo-trad jazz musician flogging some dubious… Sonic Trance It's gotten to the point where you can't throw a copy of Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters" without hitting a neo-trad jazz musician flogging some dubious… 2003-09-09 Nicholas Payton Jazz
Review

Sonic Trance (2003)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Sep 09, 2003; Lead Performance: Nicholas Payton; Genre: Jazz

It's gotten to the point where you can't throw a copy of Herbie Hancock's ''Head Hunters'' without hitting a neo-trad jazz musician flogging some dubious ''fusion'' project. If half were as free-spirited, funky, and unashamedly freaky as this one, there'd be less reason to scoff. Taking off from Miles Davis' experiments circa ''Bitches Brew,'' Payton attempts to funnel a world of jazz experience through his trumpet, from early New Orleans braying and hard-bop barreling to Fela Kuti's Afrobeat and the electro-hybridizations of Jon Hassell and Ben Neill. Throw in broken-bottle percussion, synth noise, and Payton's woozy, Satchmo-style dancehall scatting, and you have one crazy jazz house party. SMOKIN' ''Cannabis Leaf Rag 1'' begins with sampled LP surface noise, recalling -- and then forgetting -- ''Maple Leaf Rag'' as it drifts off the ragtime-space continuum. History lessons can be fun.

Originally posted Sep 05, 2003 Published in issue #726 Sep 05, 2003 Order article reprints