Smoke Sessions is picking up lots of radio play in the States topping the JazzWeek jazz show radio play chart at the moment. As noted earlier when we heard the first track from the album ahead of release there's an inescapable groove on this straighathead outing with 'Hangin' in and Jivin' a standout which sees the New Orleanian icon trumpeter pianist and keyboardist with Skyline's Ron Carter for the first time. With another Milesian George Coleman on board as a guest another plus factor the crucial fact that it is Karriem Riggins at the drum kit partly explains why the record works because the feel and groove are so strong whatever the tempo and angle. Payton shows he's a perfectly good pianist and agile on the Rhodes too, as good as many who ply their trade as such rather than let it ''play second violin'' to the horn he is known for as he does, the album sounds a treat in terms of the sonics so works on that level too. Listen say to the way the brushes are vivid and organic-sounding on Keith Jarrett's 'No Lonely Nights' which is another big stand-out track. The setting off with some ''free shit'' at the top as Payton calls it speaking over what sounds like the studio PA to the other musicians in their booths, raw Rhodes and a scorching blaze of heat that begins Herbie's 'Toys', is nothing short of spectacular. If you're into remixes a 'Gold Dust Black Magic' remix has also been issued.
- Looking ahead Payton is booked in to play Ronnie Scott's on 28 February with his trio of Joe Sanders and Greg Hutchinson