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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

REASSESSING

Vernal Equinox

Read "Vernal Equinox" reviewed by Doug Collette

In making Vernal Equinox available on vinyl for the first time in forty-two years and on CD for the first time in three decades, Jon Hassell's 1977 album has been fully remastered for its updated release on the artist's own Ndeya label. This first commercially released work by Hassell was, by many accounts, an early glimpse into a sound that would later go on to be known as 'Fourth World,' a mix of electronics, jazz, classical Indian music field recordings ...

INTERVIEW

Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman

Read "Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman" reviewed by Chris May

Jon Hassell is best known as the creator of Fourth World music, an acoustic-electronic blend of jazz, minimalism, drone, ambient, traditional African and Asian instruments and harmolodic signatures. Hassell has defined Fourth World as “serious music with transcultural appeal and a smile." He unveiled the concept on his debut album, Vernal Equinox (Lovely Records), in 1977. In March 2020, Hassell reissued Vernal Equinox on his own Ndeya Records label. Hassell's roots go back to ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell: Vernal Equinox

Read "Vernal Equinox" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Visionary trumpeter-composer Jon Hassell is one of the architects of what has come to be called World Music: his own preferred term is Fourth World, which he described as “a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques." Vernal Equinox was his first commercial album release, originally on Lovely Music in 1977. The second release on Hassell's own Ndeya label—following the 2018 Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)—this reissue makes the album available on vinyl ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell / Farafina: Flash Of The Spirit

Read "Flash Of The Spirit" reviewed by Chris May

The trumpeter and keyboard player Jon Hassell is often labelled a practitioner of ambient music. This is a misconstruction resulting mainly from Hassell's encounters with Brian Eno, who is widely perceived as ambient's originator. Hassell's oeuvre, a technologically enabled fusion of western and non-western musics which he calls Fourth World, is a wholly different kettle of fish. Eno defines ambient as “music that does not demand the listener's attention but rewards such attention if it is given." The ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell: Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)

Read "Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

At age 81 legendary American trumpeter/composer/conceptualist Jon Hassell could reasonably be kicking back in retirement, relaxing and resting on his considerable laurels. His Fourth World concept, combining world ethnic music with modern electronics, has been hugely influential; it is hard to imagine the sound of Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen without it, not to mention a lot of music in both the ambient and World Music genres. He has collaborated with Brian Eno, Talking Heads, David Sylvian and Peter Gabriel among ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell: Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)

Read "Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)" reviewed by Chris May

By the time even the most revolutionary musicians reach their ninth decade, few are any longer making profoundly adventurous work. Typically, conservatism has kicked in or, if not that, a younger generation has come along and moved the goal posts. But on Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), Jon Hassell, the creator of fourth-world music in the 1970s and other innovations since, is as venturesome and digging as deeply as ever. Listening To Pictures is Hassell's first new release since ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two

Read "Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two" reviewed by Chris May

Three decades and more after the last vinyl reissue of trumpeter Jon Hassell's landmark album, back in 1987, Britain's Glitterbeat label has released a remastered edition of the LP, which is also available on CD. The new edition includes a previously unreleased three-minute bonus track from the recording sessions. Dream Theory In Malaya, first released in 1981, arguably ranks as the most perfect realisation ever of fourth-world music, the acoustic-electronic blend of minimalism, jazz, drone, ambient and traditional ...


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