1. Big George (6:38)
2. Black is Beautiful (5:27)
3. Gold Dust Black Magic (4:55)
4. Kimathi (6:42)
5. The Backward Step (6:54)
6. Visible Light (6:19)
The idea for a sweet, slick reworking of the tracks came in 2021 when Payton found himself stuck in Atlanta after a show, his return to New Orleans stalled by Hurricane Ida. Making the most of his downtime and his location, Payton sought out a studio session with musicians who had the precision and soul to capture the energy of signature R&B classics pioneered there.
The result is a raw and soulful, but precise, execution of ideas, plied by masters of the format. Drummer and producer Lil’ John Roberts, a veteran of tours with artists including Janet Jackson and Stevie Wonder, adds a polished, lilting funk throughout the album that particularly buoys “Big George” and “Gold Dust Black Magic,” songs that have been mainstays of Payton’s live sets in recent years.
Robert Glasper, a long-time collaborator, guests on “The Backward Step” lending a deceptive ease to the airy meditation. Despite having a connection that dates back decades, the track is a landmark in their musical relationship.
“I was one of the first people to take him on the road,” Payton says. “I’m proud to see what he’s doing for Black culture. As much music as we’ve made over the years, I believe this is our first time on a record together.”
“Drip” culminates in the first-ever duet between legendary composers Patrice Rushen and Michael Franks, pioneers of the format which has been foundational to Payton’s musical journey. ‘Visible Light’ shimmers as the two quiet storm stalwarts beckon listeners into a groove that paves the way for the gleam of Payton’s flugelhorn.
NICHOLAS PAYTON – Fender Rhodes, flugelhorn
PATRICE RUSHEN – keys and vocals on “VISIBLE LIGHT”
MICHAEL FRANKS – vocals on “VISIBLE LIGHT”
ROBERT GLASPER – Fender Rhodes on “THE BACKWARD STEP”
Featuring LIL’ JOHN ROBERTS & THE SENATORS
• LIL’ JOHN ROBERTS – drums
• PHIL DAVIS – auxiliary keys
• DEREK SCOTT – guitar
• TRES GILBERT – bass
QUIANA LYNELL – vocals on “BIG GEORGE”
CHRISTIE DASHEILL – vocals on “THE BACKWARD STEP”
MIGUEL GAETAN – percussion on “THE BACKWARD STEP” &
Cover art by JAMIE BREIWICK
Recorded by RAHEEM AMLANI at Orange Peel Recordings
Mixed by OTIS McDONALD
Mastered by MICHAEL FOSSENKEMPER