JON HASSELL, SONIC EXPLORER

PRESS STATEMENT from Jon Hassell’s Family
JULY 26, 2021
Our beloved Jon M. Hassell – iconic trumpet player, author, and composer – has passed away at the age of 84 years on June 26th 2021. After a little more than a year of fighting through health complications, Jon died peacefully in the early morning hours of natural causes. His final days were surrounded by family and loved ones who celebrated with him the lifetime of contributions he gave to this world– personally and professionally. He cherished life and leaving this world was a struggle as there was much more he wished to share in music, philosophy, and writing.
It was his great joy to be able to compose and produce music until the end. We thank all those who contributed to ensuring that he was able to continue expressing his ideas through his final days and maintain a quality end of life.
Jon Hassell was able to leave behind many gifts. We are excited and committed to sharing those ongoing with his fans across time and support his enduring legacy. All donations to Jon Hassell’s GoFundMe will allow the tremendous personal archive of his music, much unreleased, to be preserved and shared with the world for years to come. We also hope to provide philanthropic gifts of scholarship and contributions to issues close to Jon’s heart, like supporting the working rights of musicians.
As Jon is now free of a constricting body, he is liberated to be in his musical soul and will continue to play in the Fourth World. We hope you find solace in his words and dreams for this earthly place he now leaves behind. We hold him, and you, in this loss and grief.
FOURTH WORLD IS
A KIND OF PHILOSOPHICAL GUIDELINE, A CREATIVE POSTURE, DIRECTED TOWARDS THE CONDITIONS CREATED BY THE INTERSECTION OF TECHNOLOGY WITH INDIGINOUS MUSIC AND CULTURE.
THE UNDERLYING GOAL IS TO PROVIDE A KIND OF CREATIVE MIDWIFERY TO THE INEVITABLE MERGING OF CULTURES WHILE PROVIDING AN ANTIDOTE TO A GLOBAL “MONOCULTURE” CREATED BY MEDIA COLONIZATION.
THE UNDERLYING PREMISE IS THAT EACH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ MUSIC AND CULTURE – THE RESULT OF THEIR UNIQUE RESPONSE TO THEIR UNIQUE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT – FUNCTIONS IN THE SAME WAY AS, AS AN “ELEMENT” IN THE PERIODIC TABLE OF CHEMISTRY: AS PURE BUILDING BLOCKS FROM WHICH ALL OTHER “CULTURAL COMPOUNDS” WILL ARISE.
IN OTHER WORDS, THESE CULTURES ARE OUR “VOCABULARY” IN TRYING TO THINK ABOUT WAYS TO RESPOND TO OUR PLACE IN THE NEW GEOGRAPHY CREATED BY OUR MEDIA WORLD, AND MUST BE RESPECTED RELATIVE TO THEIR IMPORTANCE TO OUR SURVIVAL.
Jon Hassell
Farewell to a restless and extraordinarily innovative artist whose music was often unclassifiable. Absorbing (but not appropriating) music for different cultures, Hassell looked to blend and colour, never dominate. While grounded in world music, he always seemed to be reaching towards the transcendent, infusing his compositions with a visionary component that was unique and uplifting. It could also be uncomfortable, as he twisted tonalities and textures into shapes on the edges of the sphere of ‘the known’. Jon Hassell’s trumpet was usually so processed and treated that one could be forgiven for not recognising the instrument of Miles and Louis. But that’s because Hassell rarely looked backwards.
Although Hassell worked with many artists—including being a player on Terry Reilly’s first recording of “In C” and guesting on kd lang albums—his collaboration with Eno is perhaps the LP that will be most played as we salute Hassell’s contribution to jazz-electronica-minimalism-ethnomusicology.
A true adventurer.
Featured albums
Jon Hassell / Brian Eno  “Fourth World Vol.1 – Possible Musics”  [EG Records 1980]
Jon Hassell  “Fourth World Vol.2 – Dream Theory In Malaysia”  [EG Records 1981]
Jon Hassell  “The Surgeon Of The Nightsky Restores Dead Things By The Power Of Sound”  [Intuition 1987]
Jon Hassell  “Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street”  [ECM 2009]
Jon Hassell  “City: Works Of Fiction”  [All Saints 1990]

17 comments

  1. Dr Richard Varey · · Reply

    As is too often the case, I wasn’t aware of and never heard his music, until now. RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Worth checking out, Richard.
      Thanks for visiting.
      – Bruce

      Like

  2. I loved his compositions on The Million Dollar Hotel soundtrack

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will seek that out. Thanks for the lead.

      Like

  3. Another of the greats gone. Vale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. I imagined you would be a fan, PM, but we were immersed in that wonderful Rockmore-phone. 🙂

      Like

  4. Thank you for sharing this sad piece. Terry Riley’s “In C” was one of the first albums I ever bought. So Jon played trumpet on that recording. A great musician has left us. RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Thanks for sharing, I’m glad to have been introduced a while ago, early 90s I think, and yes, now of course I’ll go back and dig in more. I actually don’t think I know that collab with Eno! I have some on cassettes a friend made, was always ethereal and took me away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s other worldly music; hypnotic and transporting.
      Enjoy your Sunday Bill!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Thanks Bruce!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. RIP Mr. Hassell.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 4th world habitué · · Reply

    May the Wings of Melodies carry you over the Air to the Passage, where the Miracle Steps are taken forward past the Elephant and the Orchid and into your Power Spot, Jon, and may Music be always with you!

    Words are useless expressing my gratitude for the work of your life, Master…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nicely played.

      Like

  8. Jack Sirak · · Reply

    A little known giant in sound texture, he will be sorely missed. He made us realize the dimension that sound has , by forcing us into it.
    Thank you , Mr Jon Hassell

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good piece Bruce. I guess Ill be listening to some Jon. I dont have an extensive knowledge of his music but have dabbled.

    Liked by 1 person

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