Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook in Tallinn during the month of Francophonie

Mar 22 2017 / Mar 22 2017

One of the most influential figures in "nuevo flamenco" music Jesse Cook will play in Tallinn on 22th March

His concert will take place at Vaba Lava in Tallinn at 7pm.

Musicians often speak of influences and for Juno award winning guitarist Jesse Cook it is not so much one individual that holds a special place in his heart but a region in southern France known as the Camargue. It was here in Arles that his father, a retired film director, lived the last ten years of his life. And it’s where Jesse spent many summers, wandering the streets among the gypsies who inhabit the area, soaking up the atmosphere and listening to the likes of Nicolas Reyes, lead singer of the flamenco group “Gipsy Kings”, who just happened to live next door.

Born in Paris in 1964 to John and Heather Cook, Jesse first picked up a toy guitar at the age of three desperately trying to mimic the sounds of guitarist Manitas de Plata who lived in the Camargue. This Gypsy guitar legend, made famous by his friendship with Picasso, have had an enormous impact on the young Jesse Cook. After his parents separated, Jesse accompanied his mother and sister to Canada, Heather’s birthplace, and she soon recognized a precocious musical aptitude in her son. Lessons followed at Toronto’s esteemed Eli Kassner Guitar Academy. Kassner’s other famous pupil was classical guitarist Liona Boyd. “People were kind of tossing around this term ‘virtuoso’ when I was a kid,” Jesse recalls almost embarrassed, “I am not sure. I certainly wasn’t one of those kids you could stick on stage at the O’Keefe Centre and wow the crowds. I was too undisciplined, I never practiced my scales and arpeggios. I played what I wanted to play. I would learn quickly and then have fun with it.” Informal jam sessions at his father’s house and at the annual Gypsy festival in nearby Saintes Maries de la Mer helped hone his skills. Between Arles and his mother’s French farmhouse, Toronto seemed a world away. There he continued his studies in classical and jazz guitar at some of North America’s most prestigious music schools, then attempted to unlearn it all while immersing himself in the oral traditions of Gypsy music. This unusual dichotomy paid dividends in his wide range of musical tastes. It is clearly and continually reflected in his passion for exploration and fusion which has helped develop the sound and confidence he exudes on stage today.

Since then Cook, has recorded six critically acclaimed studio albums and traveled the world exploring musical traditions that he has blended into his style of rumba flamenco. In addition to headlining concerts and festivals, he has opened for such legends as B.B. King, Ray Charles and Diana Krall. He has performed with British soprano Charlotte Church on the Tonight Show and toured with legendary Irish band, The Chieftains. “The 1995 Catalina Jazz Festival was a turning point. I had just made ‘Tempest,’ independently and released it in Canada,” he remembers of his debut album. “Within a month we signed a deal with the American company Narada and then they booked us into the Catalina Jazz festival.” Originally the band was to perform during the twenty minute intermissions in a little bar downstairs from the main stage. But the room quickly filled and the appreciative and by now expanding crowd wouldn’t let Cook leave. They coerced him into extending his set well past an hour. Inevitably Cook was invited on to the main stage. Shortly afterwards Tempest entered the American Billboard charts at #14, an impressive debut indeed.

In 2001 Cook won his first Juno Award in the Best Instrumental Album category for “Free Fall.” Yearly he is nominated for Juno awards, Jesse Cook wins Silver As Best Flamenco Guitarist. He is an Acoustic Guitar magazine Player’s Choice Award winner, as announced in the February 2009 issue of Acoustic Guitar. Gold went to Paco de Lucia and bronze to Vincente Amigo. But for Jesse Cook its not awards that drive him. Live concerts remain his lifeblood and at his age he is really only just getting started.

Tickets available at Piletilevi

Read this article in: Français, Eesti, Русский,

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