“If there’s a constant about Nicholas Payton, it’s that he’s always evolving. Payton, 42, is best known for playing trumpet, having burst onto the jazz scene a quarter century ago while still a teenager, as his fellow New Orleanian Wynton Marsalis had done a decade earlier.
When he performs two sets at Scullers on Saturday, however, Payton will be playing keyboards along with his trumpet — sometimes simultaneously. He may sing a bit too, having done so on “Y,” the penultimate track on his recent album “Letters.” Backing him will be bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Joe Dyson.
“It’s essentially why I believe we’re here on this planet: to evolve,” Payton says of his transformation from what Christian McBride dubbed “young lions 2.0” — a post-Marsalis second wave of fresh-faced, tradition-oriented virtuosi that included Payton, McBride, and Roy Hargrove — to the multifaceted creator he is today. “Particularly for an artist, I think it’s imperative.”“