Since this week marked the Vernal Equinox, it seemed fitting that I share Vernal Equinox by the late Jon Hassell:
This is the title track to what I think is Jon Hassell’s earliest solo LP. He’d already been an active musician well before this LP was released in the late 1970s. I got turned onto his music the way I get turned on to a lot of musicians. I had the Talking Heads’ Remain in Light LP, and when I looked at the liner notes, I saw Jon Hassell listed as playing trumpet. I’d then find out that he and Brian Eno collaborated on some music (Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics was what I found fairly quickly), and it was a matter of time before I just decided to dive in to Hassell’s solo recordings. He often got classified as “New Age”, which was unfortunate as his music was a bit too moody and nuanced to be so easily pigeonholed. He’d studied under minimalist composers and under those who had mastered Indian classical music, and he was very adept at incorporating elements of jazz, Latin, rock, funk, and electronic music into his recordings over the years. So he created some music you could meditate to, but also some that you could dance to as well, and always leave you thinking. What more could I ask for from a composer?
If there is a life lesson somewhere in my story, it’s this: if you like a piece of music, see who all had a hand in performing it. Track down their work and see what they are up to. You’ll be led into some interesting worlds well worth exploring. Some you’ll enjoy. Some perhaps not so much. But you will never get bored.