British Multi-Intrumentalist

Category: Brian Eno


the album 'Fourth Workd Vol 1 - Possible Musics' by Jon Hassell and Brian Eno
‘Fourth World Vol 1 – Possible Musics – Jon Hassell/Brian Eno’

I bought this record shortly after it came out in 1980, and loved it from the first note. It seemed to come from another world altogether.

I couldn’t really fully understand where it was coming from, but it obviously had some kind of connection to both Miles Davis and Indian music.

Later on I learned about the connection with La Monte Young and it all made more sense.

 There was another strange thing-  one of the tracks (Griot ‘”Over Contagious Magic”) actually had a loop from “Miles Davis in Concert” playing in the background. How could that be? This was the first time I became aware of sampling…

This is still my favourite Jon Hassell album. His raga derived trumpet lines are unique and incredibly flexible. He uses a harmoniser throughout, and the parallel tonalities it produces give his lines an ethereal quality as they leave the tonality behind.  I was lucky to see him play some of this material at the first Womad festival in 1982.

Jon Hassell’s journey into the spaces in-between the conventional notes of the trumpet in pursuit of raga created one of the all-time most recognisable  signature sounds in music. It’s impossible to explore similar territory or use a harmoniser with a trumpet without sounding derivative of him.

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the album Vista by Marion Brown and the album 'the pavilion of Dreams' by Harold Budd
LP Vista (Marion Brown) and CD The Pavilion of Dreams (Harold Budd)

Harold Budd and Marion Brown recorded this piece twice:

  • in 1975 on Brown’s album “Vista
  • and in 1976 on Budd’s “The Pavilion of Dreams”.

Both are unashamedly  sumptuously beautiful, and I often listen to one version followed by the other.

This composition by Harold Budd feels directly related to Coltrane’s “After The Rain” and “Welcome”. It pushes the floating quality of those works to the maximum, using multiple keyboards and percussion.

On Budd’s there’s electric piano, celeste, harp, glockenspiel and four marimbas.

On Brown’s version there are two celestes, Fender Rhodes, piano, bells and gongs.

It conjures up a blissed-out space, saved from New Age blandness by the arrangements and Marion Brown’s deep phrasing.

In the notes to his album “Porto Nova” Brown says “My reference is the blues and that’s where my music comes from. I do listen to music of other cultures… I don’t have to borrow from them … B. B. King is my Ravi Shankar.”

The Pavillion of Dreams” came out in 1978, the final in Brian Eno’s “Obscure Records” series.


Vista” is the fourth of Marion Brown’s albums for impulse, following the great “Geechee Recollections” and “Sweet Earth Flying”.


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