John Raymond is a New York-based trumpeter, composer and horn arranger. A 2009 college graduate, he debuts in powerful form with Strength & Song (Strength & Song Records, 2011), co-produced by fellow trumpeter Jon Faddis.

The ensemble consists of Raymond on trumpet and flugelhorn, Gilad Hekselman on guitar, Javier Santiago on piano and Fender Rhodes, Raviv Markovitz on bass and Cory Cox on drums.

“Onward,” featuring guest musician Gerald Clayton on piano, is a moving, yet easygoing piece. Clayton is out front much of the way, with subtle, but effective backup from the rhythm section. Raymond plays it cool during his middle solo, starting softly, and gradually building up.

“The Rock” is a storytelling piece. A low, throbbing bass line sets the tone. Trumpet and guitar blend for the melody. The progression stirs the imagination, with call and response conjuring visions of an adventure. Hekselman’s solo has a Middle Eastern feel as the imaginary characters advance across some challenging terrain. Rhodes, bass and drums maintain that basic undertone throughout.

Raymond began playing trumpet in Minneapolis and was a finalist in the 2009 National Trumpet Competition. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he was a member of the 2009 Downbeat award-winning UWEC Jazz Ensemble. He arranged and recorded horns for Grammy-nominated songs by R&B artists Ann Nesby and Calvin Richardson.

Raymond composed eight of the 11 songs that appear on [i]Strength & Song[/i]. Santiago penned “Ebeneezer.” Alto saxophonist Tim Green appears on two tracks, and Zac Martin assists Raymond with the dialogue on “Psalm 37: Anthem.”