Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

81

John Raymond: Strength & Song

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song. And he has become my salvation." These words, taken from Isaiah 12:2, are quoted on the inside jacket of trumpeter John Raymond's Strength & Song and serve as the inspiration for its title, as well as the name of Raymond's record label.

Two of the project's tracks reference religion in different ways. Raymond's arrangement of the popular hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is taken at a languid pace. Over a gently swaying foundation, his muted horn interprets the melody in a wistful manner; with the exception of a handful of notes near the end, he doesn't offer any improvisation. As beautiful as any love song, the track is brief, simple, and timeless. "Psalm 37: Anthem" is comprised of a smart, medium tempo, hard bop theme in 5/4 time, followed by a spoken dialogue between Raymond and Zac Martin. They discuss the intersection of Raymond's faith and his music, as well as offering interpretations of the meaning of Psalm 37.

On purely musical terms Raymond shows a great deal of promise. Virtually every time he plays, the trumpeter elevates the music in ways that never sound glib or strained. He gets a lovely, full sound out of the horn and executes clearly defined melodic pathways instead of long, convoluted passages. The steady, patient course of his improvisations is often in stark contrast to the jittery, effusive accompaniment of the rhythm section.

The best of Raymond's compositions evince a connection to his traits as an improviser as well as searching for new and unusual sounds. The pensive "Onward" gently but firmly moves forward by means of a shifting, odd meter foundation, and a measured treatment of the melody by Raymond and guitarist Gilad Hekselman. "Ebeneezer" deftly unites a ballad-like theme and a brisk line in an odd meter at a faster tempo. As the composition continues for over three minutes before the solos commence, Raymond keeps things fresh by giving pianist Javier Santiago some room to maneuver, adding a brief secondary theme, and altering dynamics.

Although Raymond's talents as an improviser, composer/arranger, and bandleader are not fully realized, Strength & Song portends a bright future.

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 Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Aladdin's Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Tom Haines Live" CD/LP/Track Review Tom Haines Live
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "As It Should Be: Ballads 2" CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Open Air" CD/LP/Track Review Open Air
by John Kelman
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 1, 2017