Trumpet player John Raymond explores Psalm 23 and the theme of "Lies" in his beautiful and moving jazz quartet.
A Psalm of David.
1 A Psalm of David. The Lordis my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
It’s funny. We never seem to doubt God’s presence with us when things are going well. But when things get tough, what happens? We worry. We fear. We are gripped with inner anguish at our circumstances and at what their effect is on us. During these times, we would never say that we don’t believe God is with us. Not for a second. But our worry and fear and anguish all reveal to us that something has certainly gone awry - we’ve subtly believed the lie that God is not there.
Psalm 23 expounds on this theme, but comes at it through the back door. Throughout the entire psalm we sense the rest, the peace and the contentment David has because of God’s presence with him. But the question is…why are we so comforted by this? Why do we feel such peace? Isn’t it because we know that we often fall into feeling the opposite of what David feels when we go through trials?
When David proclaims, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” he’s telling us something about where the source of comfort is found (in the steadfast presence of God with us, no matter what the circumstances). But on the flip side, he’s also telling us something about where the root of our fears and anxieties are found: in our forgetfulness and unbelief of God’s promised presence with us.
This unbelief (which is ultimately belief in a lie) makes us mourn and lack peace in our hearts. However, while we fall into believing these lies all the time and thus ultimately deserve nothing but separation from God, the amazing reality is that we are nevertheless near to Him because of what Jesus endured on the cross. While Jesus never believed this lie, he took the punishment we deserve for believing it ourselves. In return, we are able to be confident in the reality that God will always be with us until we meet Him in eternity one day. What an amazing truth!
This composition – “The Forgotten One” – seeks to display the pain that comes from believing lies about God’s presence, the realization that He is yet near to us because of Christ, and the humble rejoicing that comes with His continued presence with us.
John Raymond “Creative, unpredictable and compelling. John has a unique voice, and he is definitely saying something that is worth listening to” (Jon Faddis).
Labeled “a prepossessing young trumpet player…” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), John Raymond is quickly making a name for himself as an up-andcoming artist to keep an eye on. A featured artist at the 2012 10th Annual FONT Festival (Festival of New Trumpet) and the 2013 Winter Jazz Festival, Raymond has already performed as a leader at some the nation’s top venues including Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Dakota Jazz Club, the Jazz Showcase, Smalls Jazz Club and the Blue Note Jazz Club. He has collaborated or performed with musicians such as John Abercrombie, Chris Potter, Ben Williams, Maria Schneider, Gilad Hekselman, Linda Oh and Otis Brown III among others. John has performed at notable events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and on NPR’s Toast of the Nation New Year’s Eve celebration, and he has toured internationally in China, the UK and the Dominican Republic. Raymond has also distinguished himself as an elite horn arranger, working with top gospel and R&B artists across the country and most clearly evidenced by the three GRAMMY-nominated songs that he has arranged and recorded horns for.
His debut album “Strength & Song,” released in February 2012 and produced by legendary trumpeter Jon Faddis, has already attracted national and international attention (“Soaring. A strong early work…very complete and well intentioned” – NextBop.com). The album features Raymond’s carefully-crafted original compositions that draw on jazz, rock and hip-hop influences, creating emotionally engaging music with affecting, memorable melodies.
Raymond’s voice on the trumpet is equally as notable – his expressive sound, intricately-woven melodies and story-like phrasing come together to lead the band to routinely transcend to new heights. Combined with the interplay from a cast of “who’s who” of rising star musicians, Raymond is proving that he is well on his way to becoming a major force in the music industry.
“Possessing a forte that few seasoned musicians have attained…a brilliant talent whose luminosity is endless” (Birmingham Times).