Trumpeter/composer Jon Hassell has worked with innovators Brian Eno and La Monte Young, along with immersing himself in the traditional musics of Africa and Asia. The result is Hassell has pioneered a practically new genre. Call it electro-acoustic, world music or fourth world, but Hassell’s approach is both unique and influential. He doesn't "borrow" from other cultures (remember what Stravinsky said about composers that "borrow") as much as he learns from them and weaves those lessons into his own tapestry. Rhythms are electronically treated, seemingly "submurged" in a body of water, or subsumed under layers of melody and texture.
Superficially, Last Night... is nothing startlingly different from his other discs, but it’s a beautiful refinement and expansion of his approach. All the usual suspects are present, Hassell’s trumpet married to electronics (giving it an almost vocal tone--some Miles influence here, thinks I); precise, echoing percussion, a hazy, very sultry ambiance and assorted instruments easing into and out of aural focus. Night consists of ten relatively concise tracks and there's a somewhat more melodious quality to them, compared to some other Hassell projects. Also the influence of the electric music of Miles Davis is slightly more pronounced (though more in the way of tribute than imitation), at times sections of Night could be almost be outtakes from Davis’ Bitches Brew or Live-Evil. This is another fine showing for Hassell, aces for fans and highly recommended to the curious and eclectic.