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Jon Hassell

Composer/trumpeter Jon Hassell is the visionary creator of a style of music he describes as Fourth World, a mysterious, unique hybrid of music both ancient and digital, composed and improvised, Eastern and Western. In the last two decades, his connoisseur recordings, built around a completely unique "vocal" trumpet style (developed in studies with Indian vocal master, Pandit Pran Nath) have inspired a generation of collaborators like Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Kronos Quartet and Ry Cooder. His trumpet performances show up on records of world stars like Bjork, Baaba Maal, and Ibrahim Ferrer. Film and theater credits include scores for Wim Wenders (Million Dollar Hotel, with Bono), The Netherlands Dance Theater (Lurch), Peter Sellars (Zangezi), and the theme for the hit TV show, The Practice.

His 1999 acoustic audiophile recording, Fascinoma, produced by Ry Cooder, with bansri flute master, Ronu Majumdar and jazz pianist Jacky Terrasson, inspired a new generation of European trumpet players like Arve Henriksen, Erik Truffaz, Paolo Fresu and Nils Petter Molvaer, who have all acknowledged Hassell's influence as leading beyond the gravitational pull of Miles Davis.

Montreal, Milan and Paris concerts became the raw material for magical transformation in the 2005 release, Maarifa Street / Magic Realism 2—another difficult-to-define musical fantasy stretched across geography and time, as was its 1983 namesake, Aka-Darbari-Java/Magic Realism.

In 2005, Hassell began touring with a new band, which he named Maarifa Street, playing to new European audiences from Norway to Madrid to Rome to Berlin who are astonished at the discovery of this atmospheric music which defies category: in France, Playboy writes, "this celestial jazz is amazing"; About his performance at the Vienna Kunsthalle, the cathedral of classical, Der Standard raves, "the concert of the year."

In Tsegihi, a choral work for 100 voices and chamber group was premiered in the 11th century Norwich Cathedral in May 2008.

In early 2009, a reconnection with the prestigious ECM label with a new CD release and a "Return to USA" tour—from New York's Zankel Hall to Royce Hall in Los Angeles—signal the growing awareness of a master musician and a music without borders whose freshness comes increasingly into focus as time passes.

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

International Flavors

Read "International Flavors" reviewed by Geno Thackara

It's a tour through several spots around the globe with this batch--sometimes a leisurely tour, sometimes a whirlwind, but with each stop offering a wealth of lovely sounds and tones. Gilfema Three Sounderscore 2020 Lionel Loueke, Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth have an impressive number of musical endeavors and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Rebecca Nash: Peaceful King

Read "Peaceful King" reviewed by Chris May

You can judge a book by its cover, and likewise an album. Sometimes. Too often, striking content fails to follow striking packaging. British keyboard player Rebecca Nash's Peaceful King, however, proves to be as beautiful as its artwork and graphic design. It joins a handful of other more or less recent, promise-fulfilling albums, from which Binker ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

2019: Striking A Balance In Review, Part 1

Read "2019: Striking A Balance In Review, Part 1" reviewed by Henning Bolte

Part 1 | Part 2 Every year the 'Best-of' game is underway again. But, “best of what?" is the immediate question. It's almost impossible for fishes of prey to hunt in a huge herring swarm, or for birds of prey to hunt in those huge budgerigar swarms. 'The best' is a choice from the ...

Flash Of The Spirit

Label: Glitterbeat
Released: 2019
Track listing: Flash Of The Spirit (Laughter); Night Moves (Fear); Air Afrique (Wind); Out Pours (Kongo) Blue (Prayer); Kaboo (Play); (Like) Warriors Everywhere (Courage); Dreamworld (Dance); Tales Of The Near Future (Clairvoyance); A Vampire Dances (Symmetry); Masque Strength).

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Ruben Machtelinckx / Joachim Badenhorst / Bert Cools / Toma Gouband: Porous Structures

Read "Porous Structures" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Is there such a thing as emo jazz? If not, then Ruben Machtelinckx's quartet has produced a new genre of creative and improvised music. We're not talking screaming post-punk guitars. Porous Structures is an acoustic affair that relies on delicate and sparse sounds. And maybe, just maybe, it's what the world needs now. Machtelinckx ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

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 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia

Read "Polyhymnia" reviewed by Chris May

The British-Bahraini trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer Yazz Ahmed went clear in 2017 with La Saboteuse (Naim). The album is an otherworldly mix of jazz, electronics and Arabic folk music which carries traces of Miles Davis' In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969) and Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) and Jon Hassell's Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Go: Organic Orchestra & Brooklyn Raga Massive: Ragmala: A Garland Of Ragas

Read "Ragmala: A Garland Of Ragas" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Percussionist Adam Rudolph performed and recorded extensively with World Music originator Yusef Lateef from 1988-2013, and has performed with trumpeters Don Cherry, Jon Hassell, and Wadada Leo Smith, among others. He became a composer after being inspired by Cherry (also one of World Music's originators) while staying at his home. In the Go: Organic Orchestra he ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Brussels Jazz Weekend 2019

Read "Brussels Jazz Weekend 2019" reviewed by Martin Longley

Brussels Jazz Weekend Brussels, Belgium May 24-25, 2019 The annual Brussels Jazz Weekend fills up multiple venues across multiple zones, completely colonising this Belgian city with jazz, never asking for entrance fees, and even embracing other musical areas, such as global, roots, rock and electronica. It presents well over a ...


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