Every musician has that short list of musicians they’ve always dreamed of working with to bring a recording to life. For multi-instrumentalist and composer Nicholas Payton, one of those dreams has come true with his latest album Smoke Sessions.

In Payton’s formative years, Miles Davis’s 1966 album ‘Four’ & More, recorded live at Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall, left a profound impression on how he views music. Legendary bassist Ron Carter played on that recording and has now joined Payton for his new recording coming out at the end of October on the label of the same name.

Payton, now 48, says Carter’s playing not only inspired him over the years, but has also laid the blueprint for what Payton looks for in a bassist.

“Miles Davis’s ‘Four’ & More was the album that really inspired me to take up music seriously,” Payton explains. “Ever since then, Ron Carter has been an idol and a favourite musician of mine. As long as I’ve been leading bands, I’ve patterned my choice of bassists by the metric of how much Ron they have in their playing. When I’ve looked for pianists in my band over the years, it’s often predicated on how much Herbie they have in their sound. So, this album is really a dream come true for me.”

However, getting the esteemed bassist to play on your record is no easy task. Having crossed paths with Carter many times through his career, it took some convincing to get a date to record with him. “He finally started giving me the time of day,” Payton says with a laugh. “Once I had his interest I hurried up and locked it in before he changed his mind.”