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Jon Hassell: Global Ambient Music

The world-renowned trumpet visionary Jon Hassell composes what he calls Fourth World music. It's an innovative sound that melds various ethnic styles, particularly African and Asian, with electronic techniques. On World Cafe, his band performs three songs from Hassell's new album in a session with host David Dye.

Over the course of two decades, Hassell's fusion of traditional and futuristic music has earned the attention of musicians like Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads. He manipulates his trumpet with electronics, washing everything with ambient textures and the otherworldly sounds of a full band.

As Hassell explains in this interview, his latest album (Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street) was inspired by a poem by the 13th-century Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi. "Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street," Rumi wrote. "I took it as a sign to start singing / Falling up into the bowl of sky." It's poetry that describes the music itself: a meditative sound that embraces paradoxes.

Copyright 2009 XPN