RAYMOND JONES is a musician, composer, writer, producer, recording artist and engineer…has died on July 1st.
Born and raised in NYC, RAYMOND began his professional career in high school. He performed with Latin groups in the NYC area learning the traditional Latin styles of music. „The clave (Latin pulse) is in everything I do musically. I can’t go against clave to this day,“ RAYMOND insists.
Continuing his private studies throughout his formative years, RAYMOND worked with local dance and Jazz groups. His big break came when his friend TONY THOMPSON introduced him to NILE ROGERS and BERNARD EDWARDS who were forming the band CHIC. At age 19, RAYMOND joined the band, touring the world and playing on hit records such as GOOD TIMES, SISTER SLEDGE’S „WE ARE FAMILY“, and DIANA ROSS‘ „UPSIDE
DOWN“ among many others.
Eventually RAYMOND was called to perform and record with progressive rock artist NONA HENDRYX. That led to RAYMOND’S touring and recording with the TALKING HEADS and TOM TOM CLUB. Calls came from CHAKA KHAN, DENISE WILLIAMS & JEFFREY OSBORNE for whom RAYMOND led his band and wrote the hits STAY WITH ME TONIGHT and THE BORDERLINES.
Producer GEORGE DUKE invited RAYMOND to move to Los Angeles to work under his guidance as a music producer for artists such as STEPHANIE MILLS & ANGELA BOFILL among others.
RAYMOND began to work on film projects such as LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL & SPLASH. Eventually RAYMOND JONES and SPIKE LEE met one another. They have subsequently worked together on five films SCHOOL DAZE, DO THE RIGHT THING, CLOCKERS, MO BETTER BLUES and GET ON THE BUS.
He has written songs for the likes of WHITNEY HOUSTON & PATTI LABELLE among many others.
In the late eighties to 1993, RAYMOND and former CHIC vocalist NORMA JEAN WRIGHT came together to create a group called STATE OF ART. They subsequently recorded one single for Polydor Records and a critically acclaimed CD for SPIKE LEE’S newly formed FORTY ACRES AND A MULE MUSIC WORKS. Although the group stopped recording in 1993, NORMA and RAYMOND remain close friends and continue collaborating on musical projects.
In 1997, RAYMOND recorded his first solo CD ACTS OF LOVE for the independent label ueg. Shortly after its release, he agreed to take a position from July of 1997 to March of 1998, as music director for the KEENEN IVORY WAYANS late night talk show (broadcast on the FOX network nationwide), running the all female band and scoring music for the show’s daily requirements. Working 10-12 hours a day for the show, RAYMOND was unable to begin work on his second CD NAKED SOUL until April of 1998, a month after the show ended. NAKED SOUL was released in 1999 and has been warmly received by RAYMOND’S audience.
In 2001, RAYMOND released his third solo CD INTMATE which has garnered rave reviews. INTIMATE was conceived as a song cycle about the nature of intimate relationships. In the fall of 2002, he also released his holiday single, CHRISTMAS BLUE (featuring Vocalist Alexx Daye) and a solo piano version of THE FIRST NOEL.
In late 2002, RAYMOND was approached by SPIKE LEE again. This time, to write lyrics for a commercial for PEPSI featuring BEYONCE KNOWLES singing the praises of the soft drink. The commercial first aired on March 23rd 2003 on the ACADEMY AWARDS program on ABC (in the US). Also that year, RAYMOND put together and led a band for rapper DMX featuring his friend, TONY THOMPSON (who passed away in November 2003). Unfortunately, DMX’s plans to perform with the unit did not materialize as he had planned, but there is recorded documentation of this powerful unit in DMX’s camp.
Also in 2003, RAYMOND provided the musical score for the hilarious independent film, WASABI TUNA. RAYMOND also produced the lead single from the film entitled COOCHIE POWER featuring ALEXIS ARQUETTE.
In 2004, RAYMOND released his first solo piano CD, SO AMAZING (SONGS FROM THE LUTHER VANDROSS SONGBOOK). A moving tribute to his friend of many years (the two worked together in the group CHIC).
At the end of 2004, JONES attended the premiere of his first ballet commission MOVE for the Deeply Rooted ballet company in Chicago. JONES composed the second movement of the multi movement piece which was performed in New York as well as Chicago. Around the same time he became involved with an organization for battered women in Los Angeles called the Jenesse Center whose spokeswoman is MS HALLE BERRY. RAYMOND was so inspired by the organization he composed a piece for their annual fundraiser entitled RESILIENT WOMAN which was very well received.
After a relocation from Los Angeles to Atlanta GA in 2005, Raymond released his new CD project, the politically themed Hillside Stories in the fall of 2007.
2008 finds Jones preparing to perform live (after a two year hiatus) both solo and with an ensemble around the country. In addition, he has been producing music for the upcoming film SOUL MEN featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac as retired background (soul) singers. Also featured in the film are John Legend and Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls). Jones is producing tracks and vocals featuring all of the aforementioned performers.