All in an honest night’s work

In a sweltering room on a cramped stage, a burgeoning jazz combo shared it’s vision with with Eau Claire’s music scene. The John Raymond Project released its new self-titled disc on Saturday to a packed Acoustic Caf‚, 505 S. Barstow

Sophomore John Raymond, trumpet player and group founder, said the release was more than the group had even hoped for.

“At one point there were a hundred people standing up, let alone those sitting and cramming in the doorway,” Raymond said. “There was so much energy in the room and it got so hot that I could barely breathe.”

Raymond said that when playing for a room full of people, the group comes to its full potential. The contemporary jazz sounds bouncing around the five young minds were put together on disc last fall, and were presented live for the band’s first proper Eau Claire performance.

He said performing the material for what was a lot of people’s first exposure to jazz was just as important as releasing the CD itself.
“It was so cool to show it to people and be like, this is us, this is our music,” he said.

The band is comprised of Raymond, sophomore Josh Vaughn on drums, junior Kevin Rowe on bass, senior Steve Hobert on piano and Matt Rongstad on saxophone. They share members with local outfits Fat Maw Rooney and
The Vehicle.

For the band, performing is just as much a necessity for life as it is a hobby. As Raymond puts it, showing people how important this is to them personally might be the driving force behind making the music.

“It’s about playing with our hearts, and sharing what we have with people in a way that we understand,” he said.

For Raymond, taking an honest approach to music as an art form is the difference between going through the motions and real expression.

“You see people taking music so rigidly, and not seeing it for anything else than mechanics,” he said. “It’s not just technique, its beauty and pain, organization and chaos, and all these dichotomies that musicians use to make it what it is.”