Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Nicholas Payton was raised in New Orleans, a town chock-full of trumpet players and he originally followed in the footsteps of a mile-long line of tradition-based players including Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and of course, Wynton Marsalis. Payton is the son of Walter Payton, a well-known bassist on the Crescent City jazz scene. His mother played piano. Given his upbringing in a musical family, Payton often spent upwards of ten hours a day practicing trumpet in his youth. He began playing trumpet as a four-year-old, after asking his father to get him one. He began accompanying his father to shows at clubs in his youth and had the chance to hear many great trumpet players.