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'Fourth World' Music from Hassell's 'Maarifa Street'

Trumpeter Jon Hassell began to create what he dubbed "Fourth World" music in the 1970s. He defines it as "a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques." He continues his exploration on the CD Maarifa Street. Though it sounds highly produced and richly textured, much of this material was taken from live performances in Milan, Montreal, Paris and Los Angeles.

The recording is dedicated to the late Mati Klarwein, a painter whose collage graces the cover. Klarwein's work may look familiar -- he did the cover work for Miles Davis's Bitches Brew and Santana's Abraxas. The collage Hassell uses is called "Crucifiction," and caused a stir when it was exhibited in 1964 in New York.

And in case you're wondering, there is a Maarifa Street. It's in Iraq. "Maarifa" is an Arabic word meaning knowledge or wisdom.

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Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.
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