Nik Payton (born in Birmingham, England, 1972) is an English jazz musician currently living in Brazil. He started studying piano at the age of 4, and went on to study classical saxophone at 14. At the age of 15 he became one of the few students of the great American saxophonist Bob Wilber, himself a protégé of the great Sidney Bechet. At 16, Nik made his first tour of the U.S. in the company of Bob. Nik is very proud to continue the legacy of Sidney Bechet and Bob Wilber.
Around the same time, he became a founding member of ‘The Charleston Chasers’, and started studying at the Leeds College of Music – one of England’s leading music colleges – where he graduated with Honours. In 1994 Nik appeared at the Royal Festival Hall as a member of the International Jazz Orchestra, recreating the music of Fletcher Henderson. The band went on to record the show for Stomp Off records. Nik spent many years on the road with Europe’s top jazz orchestras, ‘The Charleston Chasers’ and ‘The Pasadena Roof Orchestra’ and in 2000, he was invited to tour the UK with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, now under the direction of Duke’s grandson Paul Mercer Ellington. Nik has also toured extensively in Europe, The Middle East, The Far East, U.S.A. and South America. Amongst the many great musicians Nik has performed with are Wynton Marsalis, Maria Schneider, Dick Hyman, Bob Wilber, Kenny Davern, Dan Levinson, Mark Shane and the Brazilian guitar virtuoso Nelson Faria.
In 2007 Nik was part of an allstar Brazilian Jazz Orchestra put together for a special show with Maria Schneider at the Tudo e Jazz Festival in Ouro Preto, Brazil. Downbeat said her “band of Brazilian musicians gave her music as good a reading as any Yankee lineup ever did”. Nik co-runs ‘Swing Syndicate’ with fellow reedman Zoltan Sagi, and performs regularly with Bob Wilber, Jimmy Duchowny Trio, Sylvia Klein and his own quintet. A world class musician, Nik has been included in “The International Who’s Who of Popular Music”.
Nik Payton has recorded extensively with various bands and has been involved in 3 movie sound tracks. Most recently he was invited by Marcus Vianna to play on the soundtrack for the Brazilian film ‘Olga’, which was nominated for the Oscar’s ‘Foreign Film’ category.
Nik has performed at some of the world’s top Jazz Festival including The Northsea Festival (Den Haag), Umbria Jazz (Italy), Pori Jazz Festival (Finland), Cork Jazz Festival (Ireland), Edinburgh Jazz Festival (Scotland), Tudo e Jazz (Brazil), New Orleans Meets Zurich (Switzerland), Breda Jazz Festival (Holland) and has headlined the International Jazz Festival in Brazil.