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JON HASSELL

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Jon Hassell biography
Jon Hassell is an American trumpet player and composer, born in Memphis, Tennessee ( March 22, 1937). He is graduated at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, but then he enrolled in the Cologne Course for New Music for two years (founded and directed by Stockhausen).After return to US, he met Terry Riley in Buffalo, New York and performed on the first recording of Riley's seminal work In C in 1968. He pursued his PhD in musicology in Buffalo and performed in La Monte Young's Dream House.

In early 70-s Jon (with Young, Marian Zazeela (Young's wife) and Riley) went together to India to study with Indian Pandit Pran Nath, a specialist in the Kiranic style of singing. His work with Nath awoke the interest to world music (later Jon used his trumpet to imitate the vocal techniques of Nath).
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.

"Work of quite extraordinary beauty...This pan-cultural music swirls and rises like smoke...Hassell blends his experiences in such a way that the components-African drumming, Indian microtonality, Balinese tranquillity-make a new palette while forfeiting none of the individual colours."
London Times


Slava (Snobb)

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Listening To Pictures (pentimento Volume One)Listening To Pictures (pentimento Volume One)
Ndeya 2018
$11.99
$22.54 (used)
Maarifa Street: Magic Realism 2Maarifa Street: Magic Realism 2
Nyen 2005
$13.99
$10.29 (used)
Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World 2Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World 2
Glitterbeat 2017
$11.24
$9.99 (used)
Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the StreetLast Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street
ECM 2009
$14.99
$9.65 (used)
Power Spot (ECM Touchstones)Power Spot (ECM Touchstones)
ECM 2008
$7.03
FascinomaFascinoma
Water Lily Acoustics 1999
$89.00
$26.88 (used)
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City: Works of Fiction [Remaster] by Jon Hassell (Trumpet) (CD 1990 USD $7.75 Buy It Now 2 days
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Jon Hassell - Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) CD USD $11.26 [0 bids]
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JON HASSELL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JON HASSELL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 7 ratings
Vernal Equinox
1977
3.08 | 6 ratings
Earthquake Island
1978
3.92 | 31 ratings
Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno)
1980
3.52 | 14 ratings
Dream Theory In Malaya / Fourth World Volume Two
1981
3.20 | 6 ratings
Aka / Darbari / Java - Magic Realism
1983
3.87 | 11 ratings
Power Spot
1986
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound
1987
3.25 | 4 ratings
Flash Of The Spirit (with Farafina )
1988
3.79 | 5 ratings
City: Works Of Fiction
1990
1.51 | 3 ratings
Dressing For Pleasure (with Bluescreen )
1994
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sulla Strada
1995
3.33 | 3 ratings
Fascinoma
1999
3.67 | 3 ratings
Maarifa Street - Magic Realism 2
2005
3.96 | 5 ratings
Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street
2009

JON HASSELL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JON HASSELL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

JON HASSELL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JON HASSELL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JON HASSELL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno) by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.92 | 31 ratings

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Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno)
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars The musical endeavors of Hal 9000

Itīs funny how some albums just sound and feel like their artworks look. This is one of those, and Iīve spent many a nights looking at the pink and turquise alien surface of this record thinking about how much dough Eno and Hassell had to pay for their unofficial space journey before recording this little gem. -They surely found inspiration outside our little blue planet for this unique sounding music - no doubt about it. Possible musics is just about the best description of this album, if one doesnīt want to come off as sounding absurdely glib.

Glib is, however, perhaps the best way of actually describing the tunes herein. To me it sounds like Iīm sitting on some sort of old school Zeppelin balloon made for space travels - slowly and steadily circling around a planet with such remarkable colors, that youīd think it was overpopulated with flamingos and peacocks. This record sounds otherworldly like no other album in my collection, and with a healthy dose of eastern percussions in the back simulating a two stroke engineīs muffled monotony, the whole spaceship metaphor suddenly takes on another form, and you are there! Right there overhead the pinkish crackled surface.

Now to the head honcho here: the trumpet. First time I listened to this album some 8 years ago, I didnīt hear anything sounding like a trumpet. I bought the album solely based on the front cover, which in all fairness is scorchingly beautiful, but it took me some time to fully understand that those wailing and yearning notes emanated from a trumpet. Itīs here this review may become too glib for your tastes, but trying to express how the main ingredient of Possible Musics sounds like - demands unconventional imagery and ludacris statements, so here goes. The trumpet sounds like:

Some sort of elephant synthesizer

An electric violin played backwards

A hyperactive fly caught in one of those plastic toy saxophones

Or if you stretch and twist the end of an inflated balloon whilst pressing the air out of the sucker

Add to these slightly bonkers metaphors - that every note and beat of this record is processed and filtered through the mad genius of Brian Eno. He works like a sodastream machine - infusing bubbles into your off kilter drink. On the other hand it sounds like the album was recorded in a vacuum - far far away from gravity and other mundane things. On possible musics, I often picture Eno as an enormous wall of raspberry jam that every sound and instrument needs to pierce through. It covers them in this gooey substance making everything seem in unison, although some of the music here quite frequently acts altogether skewed and sonically challenging - like outbursts from an alien planet put into notes. You can hear how the trumpet sometimes wrestles its way through the sticky jam, and then suddenly breaks through sounding like: DIIIIUUUUUHHHHH DUUUUIIIIIIIIHHHHHOO UUHHIIIHHH

Along with the two stroke engine drums, which in some cases sound like they were recorded from the insides of a matchbox by tiny Indians, - the wailing of the trumpet becomes otherworldy. Like music from dreams - illustrations and thoughts from the back of your mind.

Come to think of it, this albums almost sounds like a slow and jazzy version of King Crimsonīs The Sheltering Sky. Thereīs a similar vibe going on, although the emphasis on tranquility and gentleness is all the more apparent on this album. This is one of the most unique sounding records I have, and if youīre just remotely interested in the artwork - you should definitely go for it. Itīs made by the same colors. Oh damn I almost forgot it again! This album is made by real humans and not colors.

 Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno) by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.92 | 31 ratings

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Fourth World Vol.1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno)
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars This album was my introduction to Jon Hassell's weirdly cool music. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, Tufts University's radio station, WMFO, had the greatest weekly prog show ever, Mental Notes. It was on this show, that I used to tape, and play over and over again, that Mental Mike played this entire album one night. I was hooked. On this album, Hassell has pared down the rhythm into eerie loops of sounds, much of them derived from his treated trumpet playing. And with the help of Brian Eno, his signature sound was born. Harmonized trumpet, sounding like a distant wailing train, plays over mesmerizing pseudo-tribal rhythms, to come up with a sound like nothing else.

The best track is Charm (Over "Burundi Cloud"), a twenty-one minute epic, where Hassell's trumpet often sounds like a human voice, wailing over the rhythms.

This has to be heard to be understood.

 Vernal Equinox by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.04 | 7 ratings

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Vernal Equinox
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Jon Hassell's debut album has a similar feel to his later, better known works. It features hypnotic world music styled percussion tracks, with Hassel playing long breathy notes on his trumpet. What's missing is the eerie synthesizer treatments that made his horn so distinctive and otherworldly. the liner notes mention synthesizer alteration, but it must be slight, because it isn't noticable.

The percussion is great, but then any album that I've heard with Nana Vasconcelos on it has had great percussion. And the music is intriguing, but if you are new to Hassell's work, I would recommend starting with one of the better albums, like "Possible Music". "Power Spot" or "Citi".

 Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 5 ratings

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Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I became familiar with Jon Hassell through his work with Eno. I haven't yet become familiar with all of Jon's self-titled discography, but this is by far my favorite. Worldly and yet other-worldly. Hassell has apparently had a strong interest in dreams simply based on song titles and album titles from his work in the past, but here I think he has gone his deepest into the realm.

I suspect even those with a contempt for "ambient" music might just find something to latch on to here. In my case, I came to appreciate music of this nature when I got hooked on the ambient first. There is music here which surpasses mere "wallpaper". Challenge yourselves and you may be rewarded.

 Earthquake Island by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.08 | 6 ratings

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Earthquake Island
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars This album, Jon Hassell's second, shows the trumpeter on his way toward the trancelike synthesizer-treated sound he would master on his next album, a collaboration with Brian Eno.

Here, his band, and the music style is Caribbean/Latin influenced fusion. In much of it, you can hear many of the sounds that would spice up Hassell's later works. And the band, rooted by percussionist extrordinaire Nana Vasconcelos and bassist Miroslav Vitous, provide an excellent foundation for Hassell's breathy trumpet playing.

While the entire album is nice, the best track is the title track, Earthquake Island. While Hassell's trumpet is played through synthesizers on the whole album, only here do we get the mult-harmonized sound that became his trademark in the years to come.

This is a nice album, but nowhere near his best.

 Dressing For Pleasure (with Bluescreen ) by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.51 | 3 ratings

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Dressing For Pleasure (with Bluescreen )
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

1 stars I can't say that I'm any expert on hip-hop, and I'm sure that, as in any form of music, there are exceptional examples of the form, but as someone who has used sequencers and synthesizers, it seems all too easy to come up with deep bass beats and drop in random sounds and samples. And for the most part, that's all this album is. Listening to it to do this review, I was just aching for it to end. It has everything I've heard in most jazz based hip-hop: a thumping rhythm track, hints of jazz solos (but nothing reaching an interesting stage), dropped in found sounds, and plenty of forced sexuality. I bet if it was played at all when it was released, it was in those pretentious euro-discos.

The only piece of any interest is tha last track, played by a mostly different group. This one is in the more familiar Jon Hassell style, a lush hypnotic rhythm, with Hassell's treated trumpet soloing over it. But it is way too little, and too late to save the album.

 Power Spot by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.87 | 11 ratings

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Power Spot
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I had forgotten just how good this album is. It might be my favorite of all of the Jon Hassell album I own (seven to be precise). The music, like most of Hassell's work, consists of Hassell's electronically treated trumpet soloing over lush tribal rhythms. And despite the guitarist and two keyboardists that appear on the album, you would never know they were there, they blend into the bass and powerful tuned drums, playing hypnotic beats. In fact, the only other instruments besides the trumpet that pushes out of the rhythm tracks are the flutes in the final piece, Air.

But it's Hassell's playing that takes center stage. And while the style is similar to his previous albums, his playing seems somewhat more animated, while still retaining the trancelike nature.

 Dream Theory In Malaya / Fourth World Volume Two by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.52 | 14 ratings

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Dream Theory In Malaya / Fourth World Volume Two
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars This album Dream Theory In Malaya (I keep wanting to type Dream Theater In Malaya, but that's another story), is the second, and lesser album in the Fourth World series. Like Possible Musics, this one has Jon Hassell playing his eerie electronically treated trumpet over tape loops and percussive rhythms. Unfortunately, this album does not have as much Eno, and has no Percy Jones. So while this album is still very good, it is missing some of the interesting qualities of the previous album.

Still, this is a good album. Particularly, the opening track, where the backing loops are derived from snippets of Hassell's own trumpet sounds, is a very enjoyable and weird piece.

 City: Works Of Fiction by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.79 | 5 ratings

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City: Works Of Fiction
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I see that Jon Hassell is listed here under "Jazz/Rock Fusion". I'm not sure that most of his works would fall into that category, or any category for that matter, but this one definitely does fit there.

The style reminds me greatly of Miles Davis' experiments in rock/funk/jazz fusion. If you listen past the extreme computerized treatments of Hassell's trumpet, his phrasing and solo style is very reminiscent of Miles' later works. And it doesn't hurt that bassist Daniels Schwartz here sounds similar to Marcus Miller.

Best track: While I enjoy the entire album, I would have to single out Warriors, one of the most aggressive Hassell pieces I've heard, as my favorite.

 Aka / Darbari / Java - Magic Realism by HASSELL, JON album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.20 | 6 ratings

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Aka / Darbari / Java - Magic Realism
Jon Hassell Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars I'm grateful that Jon Hassell was added to this site. I've been a fan of his since his Eno collaborations.

This album is very much in the same style of the Fourth World series, with Hassell's computer treated trumpet playing over synth loops and Abdou Mboup's tuned drums. The whole album is at once eerie, disturbing, and strangely soothing. The treated sound on the trumpet is mostly a lush harmonized sound, that gives it a moaning quality, like a distant train. Much of the tape loops are sampled sounds from an old Hollywood orchestration.

Hassell's albums are a favorite of mine to play in the car, when driving late at night. Cool stuff.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition.

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