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Jon Lampley, a veteran of Stephen Colbert's talk show, releases his debut album


If you're a night owl, you may already recognize our next guest.


STEPHEN COLBERT: Y'all know what that is right there. That is Jon Lampley on trumpet, right over there.


COLBERT: Jon, tell me - now, obviously, it's always a crowd-pleaser to hold up a photo of you, but why am I holding up this photo?

JON LAMPLEY: You are holding up that photo because my debut album "Night Service: Live at LunAtico" is out now.


RASCOE: Lampley plays the trumpet on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The album is full of tunes that can transport listeners to an after-hours haunt. That's partially because it was recorded at a Brooklyn bar with his band, Night Service.


RASCOE: But Lampley told me daytime church services influenced his music more than any vibe at a club or bar.

LAMPLEY: I fell in love with music because my family both - you know, my mom sang at church. I had uncles who played - my uncle James played the trumpet at church. I was just surrounded by cousins who played drums and organ and bass. And so, from a very young age, I fell in love not just with music, but specifically gospel music, the music and the church. And that was kind of the first music that really got inside of me. So, you know, whatever else I've played and done after that, it's always been coming from that source. And I really wanted to channel that on this album with this music.

RASCOE: You grew up in a church kind of like that I grew up into. There was a bit of a difference between, you know, the sacred and the secular.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) Here all night.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) I said all night.

RASCOE: They tried to draw a very bright line. But on this album...

LAMPLEY: (Laughter).

RASCOE: ...You know, you're singing about, you know, going all night.


LAMPLEY: (Singing) ...Because you've been too good.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) I can't go to bed...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) ...Because he don't go to bed.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) I said...

RASCOE: What are you saying in this album with your song "All Night"?

LAMPLEY: I am referencing the - you know, the song, when I think about his goodness, and all he's done for me, I want to dance all night.

RASCOE: Dance, dance, dance, dance, all night (laughter).

LAMPLEY: You know the song. Yeah, exactly. That's it. And so I always play that song at the end of the night. And it's just a reference more to the idea of, you know, we're playing this music, and it's such a communal experience when I do the show at LunAtico. And by the end of the night, you know it's 12:30, but nobody wants to go home.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) I said all night.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Singing) I said all night.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) All night.

LAMPLEY: (Playing trumpet).

RASCOE: And so it sounds like you're trying to bring a sacred experience into the night club, that you don't see that distinction, that you can have this very sacred experience, even if you're not in this church setting.

LAMPLEY: That is the ultimate purpose of the music in the show is to create an environment. You know, a lot of this music is very special to me, and it's, you know, very sacred music that I - you know, like a song like "Amen." That was the song that closed out church every night.


RASCOE: Now, this song, "As It Is" - it sounded like a gospel song, but I'm like, I could not put my finger on what it is. "As It Is" - that has to be based on something. Or am I crazy (laughter)?

LAMPLEY: So, no, that's a great - this is the one. A lot of people really are connecting with that song. And when I wrote this song, I wanted it to have the energy of a hymn.


LAMPLEY: It's very familiar to kind of like that old-school church feel. And it's kind of drawing from a lot of the songs that I grew up listening to, like, "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" or "Amazing Grace" or "Blessed Assurance." But it's not necessarily, you know, taking the melody directly from any of those songs, but it's taking the feeling. So it makes me really happy that when you listen to it, you're like, oh, I know that I know that song. And so if you kind of came up listening to that type of music, it's not necessarily the song but the feeling that I think people are familiar with.


RASCOE: There is something that is so joyful about this album, the lyrics, and even in, like, the slower songs. What is the source of that joy for you?

LAMPLEY: I am so grateful to get to make music.


LAMPLEY: I wake up and there are a lot of days where it is, like, I cannot believe that this is my life and my profession. So I try to bring that gratitude into every song that I write and the way that I perform. A lot of people that know me kind of think of my brand being associated with joy. But in reality, it's just this constant gratitude.

RASCOE: So, June is African American Music Appreciation Month, and for listeners who are new to your brand of jazz, blues, you know, gospel music, that combination - what do you want them to know and appreciate about that sound?

LAMPLEY: Black American music is so important and has influenced all music. The word soul is the perfect word because when I think about Black music, the thing that I think about the most is you're hearing a human experience. And all of the - not just the chords and the sound of the music, but the vocal inflections and the energy that different people like a Sam Cooke or like Louis Armstrong through the horn - you're hearing the entire history of Black people in America through song.

RASCOE: That's Jon Lampley. His debut album "Night Service: Live at the LunAtico," is out now. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

LAMPLEY: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

D. Parvaz
D. Parvaz is an editor at Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, she worked at several news organizations covering wildfires, riots, earthquakes, a nuclear meltdown, elections, political upheaval and refugee crises in several countries.
Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.