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MUSICIAN Born:

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.

After composition studies and university degrees in the USA, he went to Europe to study electronic and serial music with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Several years later, he returned to New York where his first recordings were made with minimalist masters LaMonte Young and Terry Riley, through whom he met the Hindustani raga master, Pandit Pran Nath, and embarked on a lifelong quest to transmute his teacher's Kirana vocal mastery into a new trumpet sound and style.

In the last two decades, he has recorded 11 highly influential, category-defying solo albums which have, over the years, become so widely appropriated that many of their innovations have become woven anonymously into the texture of contemporary music high and low.

While the liner notes for his 1983 record Aka-Darbari-Java/Magic Realism describe a technology-tradition balance resulting in a "'coffee-colored' classical music of the future", it was innovators in the field of pop such as Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel who—after collaborations with Hassell—steered the Fourth World idea into the avant-pop sphere where it has since evolved into myriad forms of "electronica", "new age", and "world music."

Notable concert appearances have included The Next Wave at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Serious Fun at Lincoln Center, La Foret Museum in Tokyo, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the Paris Biennale, a Japan tour with Farafina, a traditional group of drummers and dancers from Burkina Faso and a spectacular appearance with eight Moroccan tribal groups at Expo 92 in Seville to celebrate Moroccan Independence Day

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mauro Sigura Quartet: Terra Vetro

Read "Terra Vetro" reviewed by Chris May

Although the Italian oud player and composer Mauro Sigura bills his band as a world-jazz group which combines traditional Ottoman-Mediterranean music with modern European jazz, the band's sophomore album is not full-on, capped-up World Jazz in the manner of, say, fellow oudist Anouar Brahem's Blue Maqams (ECM, 2017). That album, made with double bassist Dave Holland, ...

Seeing Through Sound: Pentimento Volume Two

Label: Ndeya
Released: 2020
Track listing: Fearless; Moons Of Titan; Unknown Wish: Delicado; Reykjavik; Cool Down Coda; Lunar; Timeless.

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2020

Read "Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2020" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Despite the circumstances, this was a high volume year for album releases, rich in both quantity and quality. Mine is not a ranked listing, but more or less in reverse chronological order. Since I wrote fewer album reviews than average, for the first time I have included several releases that I did not review myself.

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival 2020, Part 2

Read "Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival 2020, Part 2" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Norwegian Digital Jazz Festival Sentralen Oslo, Norway November 24-December 1, 2020 November 24 Silje Nergaard Silje Nergaard is one of the new breed of jazz singers who writes most of her material--rather than singing jazz standards and songs from the ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Enjoy Jazz and More 2020

Read "Enjoy Jazz and More 2020" reviewed by Henning Bolte

Various venues Enjoy Jazz and More Heidelberg, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Schwetzingen October 14-30, 2020 Enjoy Jazz is a festival that stretches across 7 weeks from the beginning of October to halfway through November in the urban area of Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg in southwestern Germany. The long stretch had ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Chris May’s Best Releases Of 2020

Read "Chris May’s Best Releases Of 2020" reviewed by Chris May

Not the best year for live gigs in London, but Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat Orchestra just made it under the wire, lighting up the Jazz Cafe in late January. Rather like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Sosimi's band has form as an incubator of young talent. A recent star in the making was trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, who has ...

Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In

Read "Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In" reviewed by Chris May

Chet Baker was born to a farmer's daughter and a hard-drinking, weed-smoking singer and guitarist in a Western Swing band in Yale, Oklahoma in 1929. Like many Okies, the family fared badly during the Great Depression but did a little better after moving to Glendale, California in 1939. Largely self-taught as a trumpeter, Baker honed his ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jon Hassell: Seeing Through Sound: Pentimento Volume Two

Read "Seeing Through Sound: Pentimento Volume Two" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Visionary trumpeter-composer Jon Hassell presents another gift from his late career. The third release on his own Ndeya label, it follows the re-release of his debut album Vernal Equinox (Ndeya, 2020) and is a sequel to Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) (Ndeya, 2018). The structure is a bit different, still eight tracks, but organized as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Karuna Trio: Imaginary Archipelago

Read "Imaginary Archipelago" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Percussionists Adam Rudolph and Hamid Drake, and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Ralph Miles Jones play together as the Karuna Trio. These spontaneous compositions were built on a deep foundation of shared experience, dating back to their teen years, for Rudolph and Drake; Rudolph and Jones later played together in the Eternal Wind quintet. The concept here is that the ...


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