The trio of John Raymond on flugelhorn, Gilad Hekselman on guitar and Colin Stranahan on drums performed songs from their recent CD at a February 15, 2018 concert in Luther College’s Recital Hall. The free-wheeling guitar riffs melded with the drum beats to form a base for rich flugelhorn tones on both original compositions and covers of Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan covers.
The three musicians had spent a couple of days on campus working with students in the music department at this private college located in Decorah in northeast Iowa. I had heard the band in July, 2017 at the Iowa City Jazz Festival (read my review here), but this venue had advantages over the outdoor festival, namely closeness of the musicians to the audience and far better acoustics than could be experienced at an outdoor festival.
This was a free concert open to the public. I saw a few faculty and community members but the audience consisted primarily of students. The concert was supported by the college’s Lecture and Fine Arts Committee, the Dean’s Office, and The Malcolm and Maybelle Estrem Endowed Program for Entrepreneurial Studies.
The trio played selections from the CD “Joy Ride” which was just released on February 9th. First off was Paul Simon’s “I’d Do It For Your Love” followed by an original composition and title track “Joy Ride.”
Next up: a cover of Eau Claire, Wisconsin native’s Bon Iver’s “Minnesota, WI” which started with Raymond tapping the horn’s mouthpiece.
Raymond introduced the next selection, “Be Still, My Soul”, with a reference to the senseless school shooting in Parkland, Florida that occurred just 2 days earlier and how this traditional hymn gave him some comfort in the midst of this tragedy.
The next tune, another original composition entitled “En Route”, had a folksy, railroad-like drum lick and was one of my favorites from the program.
A cover of “Solsbury Hill” written by Peter Gabriel was followed by Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin'” which showcased solos by each of the musicians.
After the program I bought one of the group’s new CDs and had it autographed. It was fun to listen to these songs again on the drive home. The group’s innovative use of echo and reverb technology during the concert gave a unique twist to familiar melodies, and I also appreciated each musician’s technical excellence and creativity.
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