Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

108

John Raymond: Strength & Song

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
When trumpet giant Jon Faddis gives his stamp of approval to another trumpeter and climbs aboard to co-produce his debut, it's probably a safe bet that he has something special going on. Such is the case with John Raymond, who delivers the goods again and again during this original-heavy program.

Raymond, a native of Minnesota who relocated to New York after spending his college years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, distinguishes himself from the get-go here on Strength & Song. The first thing that's immediately striking is his tone quality. While today's trends tend to favor in-studio manufacturing of a trumpeter's tone— either leaning toward a warm-and-wet quality or an artificially bright sound—Raymond's trumpet voice is au natural. This real-as-can-be quality immediately separates him from the pack, but it is what he does with this voice that helps him hold interest across the entire album. His focused energy and confidence steer this ship, whether traversing rough seas or smooth waters. Plenty of both can be found on this album.

His band mates prove to be well matched, each bringing something different to the table. Guitarist Gilad Hekselman often channels his inner Kurt Rosenwinkel ("The Rock"), his cutting tones provide a nice contrast to Raymond's pure-as-the- driven-snow sound. Drummer Cory Cox delivers ever-evolving grooves that show a connection to the work of boundary-pushers like Obed Calvaire, Jonathan Blake and Eric Harland. He's capable of delivering drumming of epic proportions ("Motivations Of A Pharisee"), tangling with Raymond as the music takes flight (Joe Henderson's "Isotope"), or simply laying back and shading a song with a less-is-more approach.

Bassist Raviv Markovitz provides a springy bottom that meshes well with Cox, distinguishing himself early on during his semi-conversant dealings with, and beneath Raymond ("Already & Not Yet"). The final piece of the core line-up comes from Javier Santiago's piano and Fender Rhodes work. While pianists often dominate the proceedings with more than their fair share of solos, Santiago doesn't fall into this category. He has his moments in the spotlight, but his work as a colorist, molding the harmonic foundations of each piece, is of greater importance. Two notable guests provide added interest, with pianist Gerald Clayton coming aboard for the roaming "Onward" (and its separate coda track) and alto saxophonist Tim Green overshadowing the leader on the heart-pounding "Motivations Of A Pharisee."

Raymond's choice to end the album with a religious-based, spoken word conversation atop a benign composition ("Psalm 37: Anthem") proves to be his only misstep here, as the music should be left to do the talking. However, that's easily forgiven. Strength & Song signals the arrival of an exciting new trumpet personality poised for greater things.

Track Listing: Already & Not Yet; Onward; Onward Outro; The Rock; Ebeneezer; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; The Way Home; Motivations Of A Pharisee; Isotope; The Poor Blind Man; Psalm 37: Anthem.

Personnel: John Raymond: trumpet, flugelhorn, spoken vocals (11); Gilad Hekselman: guitar; Javier Santiago: piano, Fender Rhodes; Raviv Markovitz: bass; Cory Cox: drums; Gerald Clayton: piano (2, 3); Tim Green: alto saxophone (8, 11); Zac Martin: spoken vocals (11).

Title: Strength & Song | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Strength & Song Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "The Company I Keep" CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Äventyret" CD/LP/Track Review Äventyret
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "On Air" CD/LP/Track Review On Air
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017