The American trumpeter and composer Jon Hassel’s sound influenced guitarists like Eivind Aarset and, well, me, as well myriad other musicians. He passed away on June 26, 2021. This year he would have turned 85 and to honor him Nasjonal jazzscene in Oslo, Norway put on a terrific memorial concert on his birthday, March 22.
People talk about globalization as both a positive and a negative thing. Hassell’s work, like William Gibson’s later novels somehow embodies each aspect. Both artists create a feeling of dislocation: an example I use is that these days, when so many people use cell phones as their primary phones, you have no idea where anyone is calling from, despite their area code displaying itself to you.
This round of picks should interest lovers of the noisier aspects of modern guitar, with releases by Hans Tammen and Reg Bloor dwelling largely in a world of pure sound, as well as Eivind Aarset fans who love to hear him in new contexts.
I have discovered a disproportionate number of modern guitarists through their association with trumpet players. Maybe it is the direct inspiration of Miles Davis, with his relentless search for the new, but Arve Henriksen, Jon Hassell, Nils Petter Molvær, Cuong Vu, Steve Bernstein, Christian Scott, Michael White, Paolo Fresu, Paolo Raineri are just a small percentage of the trumpeters who have been involved in experimental music in the last few decades. Often working with forward thinking guitarists like Eivind Aarset, Stian Westerhus, as well as “Davids” Tronzo, Kollar, and Torn, these artists have made some of the most interesting, truly modern jazz around.
Now add to that list Los Angelino Daniel Rosenboom. His releases, Burning Ghosts and Book of Storms on his lable Orenda Records both feature avant/noise/death metal guitarist Jacob Vossler. Rosenboom has also released Vossler’s duo record with drummer Aaron MacLendon, Versus. Vossler gets so many great sounds and textures out of his instrument that it was a revelation to find out that he largely eschews effects and uses an amp that has inspired many an argument in the gearhead world.
Many Guitar Moderne readers are aware of Eivind Aarset‘s contributions to the music of Jon Hassell, Nils Petter Molvær, Andy Shepard, Dhafer Youssef, and Michel Benita’s Ethics, as well as his own his own body of brilliant work. Fewer have heard his earlier playing in the band Ab und Zu, in which he was joined by his wife Anne-Marie Giørtz. There he displayed the pop proficiency and versatility that has made him a valued session player. Below is just one example of their multi-style output.
Form the sound of this teaser video for her upcoming release Capital Punishment for Cars [Grappa Records], Ms. Giørtz’s music has evolved in an interesting direction, displaying a less familiar side to her husband’s playing as well.
A live version: