John Raymond’s Foreign Territory was one of the most impressive records of 2015, for its articulation of creativity within the bounds of tradition. Where that disc was composed mostly of originals often inspired by classic songs, Real Feels investigates classics through sly deconstruction and unabashed emotion.
Raymond is a trumpeter of bright clarity and subtle panache. His shift to flugelhorn for all nine songs on the debut of the Real Feels trio highlights both of those attributes, yet hearing the flugelhorn on the depression-era gospel rave-up “I’ll Fly Away” (complete with handclaps) or the gymnastic bop standard “Donna Lee” puts a distinctive tweak on the proceedings. His solo prelude to “Amazing Grace” is an especially charming example of his understated prowess, a succinct yet seamlessly retailored harbinger of the famous hymn.