Jon Hassell (1937, American)

I had never heard of Jon Hassell or his music before listening to his substantial piece for string quartet, “Pano da Costa” (Cloth from the Coast), part of the Kronos Quartet’s Album White Man Sleeps (with works of Kevin Volans, Charles Ives, Thomas Oboe Lee, Ornette Coleman, Ben Johnston, Béla Bartók), on Elektra Nonesuch 979 163-2 (1987) or 7559-79163-2, and I don’t think I’ve heard any since, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot, found it to be an excellent specimen in the “classical meets world-music” style in which the Kronos and Balanescu Quartets carved a niche for themselves, and it certainly made me want to explore more of this composer. But there’s so much vying for one’s attention… Hope my life will be an extra-long one an that my ears will stay with me until the very end…

And thanks to the people’s processed free on-line encyclopedia, now I know that Hassell, born March 22, 1937, is an American trumpet player (a member of the ensemble that made the premiere recording of Riley’s seminal In C in 1968) and composer, known for his influence in the world music scene (like Riley he studied North Indian Raga with Pandit Pran Nath) and his unusual electronic manipulation of the trumpet sound.

Comments are welcome