Jon Hassell Last Night The Moon Came
Composer/trumpeter Jon Hassell is the visionary creator of a style of music he named Fourth World, which he describes as “coffee-colored classical” – a mysterious, unique hybrid of musics that unfolds between the polarities of ancient and digital, composed and improvised, Eastern and Western. In the last two decades, his connoisseur recordings, built around a completely unique voice-like 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 Björk, 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 musicians and, especially, trumpet players like Arve Henriksen, Erik Truffaz,Paolo Fresu and Nils Petter Molvaer, all acknowledging Hassell’s influence, leading beyond the gravitational pull of Miles Davis. In 2005, Hassell began touring with a new band, which he namedMaarifa Street, playing to new European audiences from Norway to Madrid to Rome to Berlin who were astonished at the discovery of this atmospheric music that defies category. His performance at the Vienna Kunsthalle, the cathedral of classical tradition, was hailed as “the concert of the year” in Der Standard. Early 2009 brought a reconnection to the prestigious ECM label with the release of a new CD, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, and a Carnegie Hall concert in New York. Critical raves in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and European press signal the growing awareness of a master musician and a music without borders whose freshness comes increasingly into focus as time passes.
Along with ongoing concerts and new recordings, Hassell has recently intensified work on a long-awaited book, The North and South of You. Part of that work has been done in a series of public Conversations along with his musical collaborator of twenty-five years ago, Brian Eno. These have taken place in London’s Southbank Centre, the Sydney Opera House, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and, most recently in March 2011, to inaugurate the opening of a digital arts center in Paris, La Gaite’ Lyrique.
Very broadly, the theme of the book is about the loss of pleasure as a guiding principle in our lives and how the evolution the North and South of the planet and the evolution of our body’s north and south are echoes of one another physically, metaphorically and psychologically.