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Enos Payne: 1955-2005
Enos Payne

Born: March 31, 1955 in Brooklyn, NY
Died: February 7, 2005 in Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn pianist and educator

by Todd S. Jenkins
Copyright © 2005 Todd S. Jenkins

Pianist Enos Payne, an educator with Jazzmobile and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, died of a brain aneurysm on February 7, 2005. He was forty-nine years old.

Payne was born in Brooklyn on March 31, 1955, and began his piano studies when he was six years old. He meticulously studied the styles of jazz pianists like Powell, Monk and Garner, and developed his own character from their seeds. His mother also fostered an interest in oil painting, which remained another of Payne's lifelong interests.

Payne studied art and music at Queens College, but eventually quit his studies there to become a professional jazzman. After some time spent studying at Jazzmobile, he became the organization's Director of Programs and held that position for over a decade. He performed with the Jazzmobile All-Stars Big Band on occasion. In 1978 Payne developed the jazz studies program at Brooklyn Conservatory, which he headed until the late 1990s. He also conducted jazz workshops at the Up and Over Jazz Café.

Always devoted to the idea of the well-rounded musician, Payne dubbed his band the Circumference Jazz Ensemble in the 1970s. He also founded the Circumference School of Jazz, which he had planned to move from his studio to a commercial building before his death. Among the leaders with whom Payne worked were Billy Mitchell and Jimmy Heath.

Payne never married and had no children, but is survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins and a wealth of friends.

Todd S. Jenkins
Todd S. Jenkins is a member of the JJA, author of Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2004) and I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus (Praeger, 2006), and a contributor to Down Beat, All About Jazz, American Songwriter and Route 66 Magazine.


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