Trumpeter and composer Jon Hassell has described his music as "drifting clouds" floating in billowy, atmospheric wafts that undulate in a languid, shape-shifting orgy. It might be the musical equivalent of a lava lamp, except Hassell's clouds are pregnant with an endless array of sounds seemingly culled from every point of the musical compass: ancient to avant-garde, West to East, deep underground to pop, scored to improvised. Hassell calls it "Fourth World," a synthesis so profound that discerning specifics is nearly impossible. At the heart of Hassell's amorphous beast is his unique trumpet style, flavored with a splash of Miles Davis but fundamentally influenced by vocal aspects of Indian raga. A student of Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath and new music experimentalist Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hassell subsequently influenced a broad swath of musicians: His collaborations range from the Talking Heads to the Kronos Quartet to Ibrahim Ferrer. Hassell's newest, Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, the title taken from a 13th-century poem, ebbs and flows through 10 inextricably entwined tracks, and is his first recording for ECM in 25 years. For Hassell's first U.S. tour in two decades, he'll be joined by his Maarifa Street band: Peter Freeman (bass, laptop), Jan Bang (sampling), Helge Norbakken (drums), and Kheir-Eddine M'Kachiche (violin).
Thu., Feb. 12, 8 p.m., 2009