ARTISTS

John Raymond

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BIO
SHOWS
NEWS
REVIEWS
BIO

In the unfettered world of the jazz musician, having a long-time working group with a unique identity and sound is a rare thing. But for over four years now, Minnesota-born trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer John Raymond has done just that. His bass-less trio Real Feels, which includes guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan, evokes a sense of home, companionship and comfort that his Midwest roots might suggest. However, bringing together three musicians from three distinct musical backgrounds make the group a model of what defines American music - a melting pot of influences tied together by a close bond of warm-hearted kinship. Their newest album Joy Ride accomplishes this in its fullest sense.

The majority of the music on Joy Ride was written during a self-imposed, month-long retreat in which Raymond spent hours composing each day. Among the priorities for the music was Raymond’s desire to connect to his listeners, so rather than compose “heady” or complex songs, he focused on simplifying and writing music that people could sing along with. When the group was ready to record the new music, Raymond brought in Matt Pierson as producer to help streamline the recording process and help craft a stronger musical presentation.

The recording begins with the title track, “Joy Ride”, a jaunty original that keeps both the band and the listener on the edge of their seats for the entire tune. The group’s interpretation of Paul Simon’s “I’d Do It For Your Love” provides a perfect setting for Raymond’s flugelhorn on the sing-song melody and intriguing harmonic underpinning. Raymond’s “Follower” evokes a Radiohead-esque vibe, with a steady groove and winding, mysterious melody. Justin Vernon’s music is a huge influence on Raymond, as he was in Eau Claire when Bon Iver was just in its nascent form. Taking hints from a live Bon Iver performance in Brooklyn, the trumpeter rearranged “Minnesota, WI” into an incredibly poignant and resonant piece which features Hekselman stretching over his own guitar loops. The group’s take on the hymn “Be Still, My Soul” starts out calm but gradually becomes more edgy and dissonant, ending with a collectively improvised release of acoustic and electronic sounds.

The bare, yet moving original “Fortress” further reinforces Raymond’s indie-rock influences. Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” is a perfect pop song set up with a repetitive guitar riff that the group modulates both harmonically and metrically throughout. Raymond’s soulful “En Route” is a lighthearted piece that breezily traverses the musical back roads. A tribute to a Minnesota legend, Raymond’s pastoral take on Bob Dylan’s iconic “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (to this day, still a powerful political statement) subtly shifts and bends, yet retains, the essential sentiment of the song. The recording concludes with “Hymn,” a duo performance with Hekselman leaving the listener with yet another simple and sincere melody resonating in their ears.

“From the very beginning this band has had a special connection, not only to each other but also to listeners - both jazz and non-jazz inclined,” Raymond states. “The process of recording this album gave way to an even more tangible realization of this connection, and upon completion we all remarked to each other how unique this music was going to be.” The urge to create a band with a deep chemistry was of high importance to John Raymond. The desire to play music that develops a unique and memorable connection to the listener was also a priority. Both of these are on full display in Joy Ride, a distinctive and highly listenable new recording that will further establish Raymond and the group as an important voice in jazz today.

 About John Raymond & Real Feels

Originally from Minneapolis, MN, John Raymond grew to appreciate musicians who wanted not only a connection with their audience but also with their associates on the bandstand and, taking this to heart, the trumpeter applied the sentiment when he created his own band, Real Feels.

Raymond moved to New York City after spending some time time studying music in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He was able to establish himself in the New York scene playing alongside well-known musicians like Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dan Tepfer and Linda May Han Oh among others. He also began to establish himself as a bandleader by releasing four albums since 2012, all of which receiving critical acclaim including nods from the Stereogum, New York Times, and Downbeat Magazine who named him a Rising Star Trumpeter in 2016.

Raymond formed Real Feels in 2014 by piecing together a trio comprised of flugelhorn, guitar and drums. Influenced by albums done by Art Farmer and Jim Hall, as well as the collaborations of Ron Miles, Bill Frisell and Brian Blade, Raymond called guitarist Gilad Hekselman who was a frequent contributor in Raymond’s past projects. Raymond’s decision to play as a trio without a bassist allowed Hekselman free reign to interpret the harmony of the compositions any way he chose. Providing the glue between Hekselman’s harmony and Raymond’s melody would be drummer Colin Stranahan, a formidable but elastic timekeeper who had an instant connection with Raymond and Hekselman. Together, the group would go on to release two albums in 2016, the self-titled Real Feels and a live follow up Real Feels: Live, Vol. 1.

SHOWS

May
10
John Raymond
The Dark Room
3610 Grandel Square, St. Louis, MO 63103
May
11
John Raymond
Dazzle Jazz
1512 Curtis St. Denver, CO 80202
May
12
John Raymond
The Nash
110 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
May
14
John Raymond
Blue Whale
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. #301, Los Angeles, CA 90012
May
15
John Raymond
Blue Whale
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. #301, Los Angeles, CA 90012
May
16
John Raymond
Vieux Carre
408 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102
May
17
John Raymond
Chris’ Jazz Cafe
1421 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Jun
5
John Raymond
Jazz Gallery
1160 Broadway, New York, NY 10001
Jun
8
John Raymond
Lifetime
葵区紺屋町11-1 Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, Japan 420-0852
Jun
9
John Raymond
Starry Eyes
3-4-1 Kikuzakacho Chikusa-Ku, Nagoya, Japan
Jun
10
John Raymond
Le Club Jazz
〒604-8082 京都府京都市中京区三条通御幸町西北角 三条ありもとビル 2F Kyoto...
Jun
11
John Raymond
Le Club Jazz
〒604-8082 京都府京都市中京区三条通御幸町西北角 三条ありもとビル 2F Kyoto...
Jun
12
John Raymond
Swing Hall
2 Chome-14-1 Sakai, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0022, Japan
Jun
15
John Raymond
Pit Inn
Japan, 〒160-0022 Tokyo, 新宿区Shinjuku, 2 Chome−12−4 アコードビル
Jun
16
John Raymond
Body & Soul
Japan, 〒107-0062 Tokyo, Minato, Minamiaoyama, 6丁目13−9 アニスビルディング
Jun
19
John Raymond
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

NEWS

  • John Raymond & Real Feels | “Joy Ride” Available February 9 on Sunnyside Records - John Raymond & Real Feels Expand on Original Compositions & Indie-Rock Meets Jazz Arrangements for Sophomore Studio Album Joy Ride   Available February 9 on Sunnyside Records   “Mr. Raymond….has fluent technique  and a strong but pliable tone…” – The New York Times “He’s got an almost New Orleans-style flair that keeps the blues front and …

REVIEWS
Joy Ride_Album Cover

Joy Ride

ITUNES AMAZON

Record Label:  Sunnyside Records
Release Date:  February 9, 2018