John Raymond Releases ‘Foreign Territory’ (EPK + Stream)

If you’ve paid close attention to my Sounds For Sunday playlists (which you should), you’ve certainly noticed that I played cuts off John Raymond’s April 28th release, Foreign Territory, both on March 1st and March 8th. The album, his second to date, marks the trumpeter’s debut on Fresh Sound New Talent and aims at reimagining jazz tradition all the while maintaining a contemporary sound.

This is a change of direction from his first album, Strength & Song which blended modern jazz aesthetics with hints of Raymond’s rock and gospel influences. “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on young musicians to be ‘innovative.’ But I noticed that I felt most relaxed and authentic and honest with myself when I was playing over standards or embracing the traditional aspects of the music. So I realized that I had to break free of the pressure that I was putting on myself to do something ‘new’ and instead decided to take familiar ideas and turn them on their heads to find something new inside each of them.”

Take for instance “Deeper”, an original composition built on the chord changes to the Irving Berlin standard “How Deep Is the Ocean?” or “What Do You Hear?”, based on the changes to “I Hear a Rhapsody”. The album also features a cover of Kenny Wheeler’s “Mark Time” as well as free improvisations and a revisited 24 bar blues.

To accompany him on this journey, Raymond surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians, namely pianist Dan Tepfer (which you all know by now), bassist Joe Martin (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Gilad Hekselman) and legendary drummer Billy Hart, a quartet which nonetheless manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Check out the EPK below to learn more about the record and also stream three tracks from the album.