Jon Hassell


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LE MONDE (Paris) / 9 October 1999 / Sylvain Siclier
"For the first time Jon Hassell—theorist of the concept of Fourth World Music (the meeting between all musical cultures and electronics)—has chosen, from the big book of jazz, a number of the pieces on this seductive album of ethereal ambiance where attention to the beauty of the instrumental timbre is so remarkably manifested...Sensual dream-like moments where time melts away as it does in the open space of a desert."

DIE ZEIT  (Germany) / 8 December 1999 / Konrad Heidkamp
"Music-Oasis...a painter in freestyle, in always-new musical relationships, ..Jon Hassell improvises as if breath were music...If Miles Davis were still alive—of this much the reviewer can be sure—he would've have been damned jealous."

FEMME (Paris) / December 1999 / Yves Blanc
E.T. of the CD
"One of the most influential artists of this 'fin de millennium'...more than a musician: this is a creator, one of the extremely rare visionaries of new music... For many, Jon Hassell and Miles Davis are the greatest trumpet players this planet has seen. Except that the sound of Miles is no longer so rare: hundreds of trumpet players have adopted it...When Jon plays he concentrates on the idea that he's blowing a conch shell. ..the trumpet of Jon Hassell resembles no other. When you hear it for the first time, you're not entirely certain to recognize what instrument it is. You won't forget it."

STEREO (Germany) / October 1999 / Karl Lippegaus
* * * * * Five Stars
"Between 1980 and 1983, in his Fourth World trilogy...Jon Hassell brought the polyphonic songs of pygmy voices, Indian raga techniques, and virtual sound worlds together. In later albums a kind of ultra-sophisticated and urbane 'ambient music'... With his new CD, Fascinoma, the circle is closed: Jon Hassell returns to the simplicity of his very first album...Here he paints complete musical lines like a Zen-artist making a circle. And then suddenly the melodies open like magical blossoms following a special secret code...After Ibrahim Ferrer and Buena Vista Social Club, producer Ry Cooder has indeed captured a third musical pinnacle."

JAZZ MAGAZINE (France) / July-August 1999 / Mathieu Devert
"The name of Jon Hassell probably doesn't resonate much in the ears of jazz-lovers. That's logical: Hassell is not, strictly speaking, a "jazz artist". He doesn't play, doesn't phrase, like a "jazz artist". And he hardly ever shows up in the company of "jazz artists"... How is it that he is able to make so much emotion happen in a phrase without even playing one note higher than another, all in a breathy whisper, making something that is half "word", half "note"...Rarely has an improviser—and Hassell is definitely that—known how to roam so mysteriously with his instrument, as if between some lost civilization and some ominous future...Yes, it so happens that when jazz doesn't necessarily look like "jazz" (ostentatious, scholarly=grounded) that jazz continues to live."

LES INROCKUPTIBLES (France) / 8-14 September 1999 / Franck Mallet
The King of the Trumpet 
"A truly unusual album, beyond the prevailing fashions...Never, since Miles Davis, has a trumpeter gone so deeply into this way of controlling the breath...With 'Cavaranesque', a free adaptation of Ellington's 'Caravan', the art of Jon Hassell takes on full dimension...To be sure, it has been thirty years since Jon Hassell began to study with an Indian vocal master, Pandit Pran Nath, but this time his technique has shown itself to be refined to such a degree that it comes as new surprise... a feeling of wanting it to go on forever arises..."

DER STANDARD (Vienna) / 10 November 2005 / Andreas Felber
Jon Hassell in Concert at the Wiener Konzerthaus
"Fully conversant with the music of Webern, Stockhausen, the minimalists La Monte Young and Terry Riley, but also with Hindustani raga and jazz, Hassell has been developing for 25 years his vision of a Fourth World in sound, one in which technology and the traditions of all continents would be brought together. The result was, and is, a completely unique sound language which is restrained, yet richly colorful and in every detail meaningful, as one was able to experience Tuesday night in the Konzerthaus...This was a true musical seance, perhaps the concert of the year!"

LA PRESSE / 6 July 2004 / Alain Brunet
Review: Montreal Jazz Festival 25th Anniversary
"...These veterans of (of jazz fusion) could, in fact, find a way toward extending their musical lives. Some examples? There are many, like these: David Byrne, Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp, Paul Simon, Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Alain Bashung, Jon Hassell. Since he's perfoming this weekend, let's take Jon Hassell. The quest of this Californian of sixty-something years has never stopped. Each chapter of this trumpeter, composer, conceptualist and innovator of new electronic techniques for wind instruments has created new sediments of frequencies and textures via a slow boil."

CORRIERE DELLA SERA / Milan 28 May 2003 / Vittorio Franchini
Between Minimalism and Noise the New Futurism of Hassell
"We could try to define "musica ex machina" and remember the long road that runs between the art-noise of Luigi Russolo, the musician within the group known as the Futurists, and the champions of electronica of today who take note of the work of Jon Hassell, composer, trumpeter—author of a sound track for a film, Wim Wender's The Million Dollar Hotel—who has, in some way, been labeled by it. And the other evening, at the Teatro Dal Verme, for the conclusion of the series, Sound and Visions, organized by the Province of Milan, it was exactly the music for this film that largely fascinated the audience. But perhaps Jon never thought of Russolo, of Marinetti, or of this movement of the distant first years of the 1900's. To consider this idea further, we should probably move into territory which is much closer, from the sophisticated language of a Terry Riley or a La Monte Young, perhaps with a little raga which comes from the master, Pandit Pran Nath, to the tempestuous speech of a Miles Davis—fusing jazz and minimalism, science and dream. Music brimming with references, of hidden meanings, of little annotations, distinctive marks made of noise, which, placed in sequence, become transformed into sounds. But don't think of this as "difficult" music: the world of Hassell is a soft one, expressed in a modest way through a vocabulary capable of turning suddenly familiar. He at the center with his transformed trumpet and around him his partners John Beasley at the keyboards, Rick Cox at the guitar, Peter Freeman on bass. And with them, for two brief sections, Paolo Fresu, the Sardinian jazz trumpeter, also noted for his many excursions in other worlds, from classical to popular. A great success and a special honor to the Province of Milan which had the courage to organize such a concert."

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