Jon Hassell

Profile:
Composer/trumpeter Jon Hassell (born March 22, 1937) 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 La Monte 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 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.
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Albums

Jon Hassell - Earthquake Island album art Jon Hassell Earthquake Island (Album) Tomato US 1978 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox album art Jon Hassell Vernal Equinox (Album) Lovely Music, Ltd. US 1978 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics album art Jon Hassell / Brian Eno Jon Hassell / Brian Eno - Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics (Album) Editions EG, Polydor Canada 1980 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) album art Jon Hassell Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) (Album) Editions EG New Zealand 1981 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Aka / Darbari / Java - Magic Realism album art Jon Hassell Aka / Darbari / Java - Magic Realism (Album) Editions EG US 1983 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Power Spot album art Jon Hassell Power Spot (Album) ECM Records, ECM Records US 1986 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound album art Jon Hassell The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound (Album) Intuition Records, Intuition Records US 1987 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Flash Of The Spirit album art Jon Hassell / Farafina Jon Hassell / Farafina - Flash Of The Spirit (Album) Intuition Records, EMI Electrola US 1988 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - City: Works Of Fiction album art Jon Hassell City: Works Of Fiction (Album) Opal Records, Warner Bros. Records UK 1990 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Dressing For Pleasure album art Jon Hassell And Bluescreen Jon Hassell And Bluescreen - Dressing For Pleasure (Album) Warner Bros. Records US 1994 Sell This Version
MASO CD 90066 Jon Hassell - Sulla Strada album art Jon Hassell / I Magazzini* Jon Hassell / I Magazzini* - Sulla Strada(CD, Album) Materiali Sonori MASO CD 90066 Italy 1995 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Love And Death On Long Island album art The Insects & Richard Grassby-Lewis Featuring Jon Hassell The Insects & Richard Grassby-Lewis Featuring Jon Hassell - Love And Death On Long Island (Album) OceanDeep Soundtracks UK 1998 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Fascinoma album art Jon Hassell Fascinoma (Album) Water Lily Acoustics US 1999 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Hollow Bamboo album art Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder & Jon Hassell, Abhijit Banerjee Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder & Jon Hassell, Abhijit Banerjee - Hollow Bamboo (Album) Water Lily Acoustics US 2000 Sell This Version
SSCD013 Jon Hassell - Owning Mahowny / Flames Of Passion album art Richard Grassby-Lewis & The Insects Featuring Jon Hassell Richard Grassby-Lewis & The Insects Featuring Jon Hassell - Owning Mahowny / Flames Of Passion(CDr, Album) 2ndsight SSCD013 UK 2003 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Maarifa Street (Magic Realism 2) album art Jon Hassell Maarifa Street (Magic Realism 2) (Album) NYEN France 2005 Sell This Version
0602517745674 Jon Hassell - Live Remixes Vol. 1 album art Punkt (2) Featuring Sidsel Endresen / Jon Hassell Punkt (2) Featuring Sidsel Endresen / Jon Hassell - Live Remixes Vol. 1(CD, Album) Jazzland Recordings 0602517745674 Norway 2008 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street album art Jon Hassell Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street (Album) ECM Records, ECM Records Germany 2009 Sell This Version
RA.EX270 Jon Hassell - RA.EX270 Jon Hassell album art Jon Hassell RA.EX270 Jon Hassell(File, MP3, 320) Resident Advisor RA.EX270 UK 2015
Jon Hassell - Listening To Pictures album art Jon Hassell Listening To Pictures (Album) Ndeya Europe 2018 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

Jon Hassell - Words With The Shaman album art David Sylvian, Jon HassellSteve Jansen, Holger Czukay David Sylvian, Jon HassellSteve Jansen, Holger Czukay - Words With The Shaman (EP, Maxi) Virgin, Virgin UK 1985 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Voiceprint album art Jon Hassell Voiceprint (Maxi, Single) Land Records US 1990 Sell This Version
Jon Hassell - Personals album art Jon Hassell And Bluescreen Jon Hassell And Bluescreen - Personals (Maxi) Warner Bros. Records US 1994 Sell This Version
none Jon Hassell - Lurch - Nederlands Danstheater II album art Jon Hassell & Bluescreen Jon Hassell & Bluescreen - Lurch - Nederlands Danstheater II(CD, Maxi) Opal Records none Netherlands 1996 Sell This Version
WASTEP2 Jon Hassell - Jon Hassell Remixes album art Jon Hassell Jon Hassell Remixes(12", EP) All Saints WASTEP2 UK 2014 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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Arizur

Arizur

November 28, 2018
The Discovery of the Fourth World

From time immemorial the trumpet has been a signal and military musical instrument and for a long time was reserved only for the rulers. One could say that it is the instrument of power par excellence and so it is not surprising that e.g. in jazz one has distinguished himself the most, who has quasi machismoed with it: Miles Davis. I'm a big admirer of Miles Elektrik-Jazz der 70' and Jon Hassell states on his website that 'Bitches Brew' was one of his great inspirations, which is perhaps most expressed on his first album 'Earthquake Island'.

However, I believe that Jon Hassell founded the only serious alternative trumpet school that could prove a contrasting independence next to the power style of Miles. The transfer of the Indian classical vocal style to the trumpet - an extremely idiosyncratic step - combined with an extremely soft and 'wet' blowing technique brings the sound of Hassell's trumpet very close to that of the conch horn. But in combination with the electronics of the Eventide Harmonizer used since the late 70's, a unique, unmistakable and highly aesthetic sound texture has been created, which has not only become Hassell's trademark, but has also placed the trumpet itself in a completely new field of application.

So much for the sound. Is it any wonder, then, that the 4.World series was the starting point for a stylistic novelty? Mortimer's 1924 film soundtrack of 'The Thief of Baghdad' may have been one of the earliest successful attempts of 'Exotica'. Denny and Esquivel may have pushed him to the top in the 50' and already (Free-)Jazz, Psychedelia and Bollywood(!) may have done a real ethnological exploration from then on. But what you get to hear at Hassell is probably the most consistent electronic processing of traditionally rooted music ever created. It goes far beyond the usual reception as it has been done on Eno/Byrne's 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts', - it is simply about the discovery of a new planet in the musical system, the 4th world! Only very few settled in the course of the 80' on this world, Sussan Deihim & R. Horowitz with 'Azax Attra' for instance and 'Lights in a fat City' with (and only with) 'Somewhere'.

Later David Toop, Steve Roach and Lázlo Hortobági (with his ECM album) may have explored this direction, while the Nordic jazz scene with Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen has produced two real trumpet students from Hassell. It may be, that in the Asian- and Oriental Underground styles from the mid 90's onwards there were purely formal points of contact and overlaps, but either the reference was made by people of cultural origin or mainly purely receptively (if not exploitively) and in most cases, of course, without a pithy lead instrument like Hassell - from the jazz point of view - leads it into the field. In other words, even if Jon Hassell took other (no less interesting) paths from the 90' onwards and only in the 10' years fell back on his 'ethnomixtures', the world he explored is still underpopulated in the music universe after almost 40 years(!)! Unbelievable! So someone has renewed an instrument tradition, produced a new style and created a new music aesthetic and is perceived for decades by the music world only as a figure on the edge!

Once again: the world has always had a hard time with exotic futurists with a pronounced sense of genius! But Jon Hassell undoubtedly deserves the place of a great inspirer and innovator of the musical avant-garde of the last third of the 20th century! And in the front ranks! No more and no less!

Arizur/Zoa 2018
phaks

phaks

May 12, 2016
edited over 2 years ago
No comments or reviews here? How come?
For me Jon Hassell is one of the greatest musicians I ever had the pleasure to listen to. When I heard the 1980 Forth World LP (with Brian Eno) I was hypnotized by this strange 'flanged' trumpet sound in combination with highly percussive worldbeat ensembles. Since then I've listened to most of JH's records. In the 80s the music is more slow jungle, like walking through muddy water, in the 90s it gets more poppy, sometimes slightly overproduced. The City Works Reissue 2015 is fantastic, makes me write this.

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