East Penn Press

Sunday, March 24, 2019
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOJesse Cook, 7:30 p.m. April 21, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOJesse Cook, 7:30 p.m. April 21, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

Jesse Cook: World music, world musician

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by DAWN OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

Jesse Cook, a Juno Award winner and world-renowned nuevo flamenco guitarist, returns at 7:30 p.m. April 21 to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

Cook, raised in France, Spain, Austria and Canada, has been a musician all his life.

“I had a little toy guitar I played,” he says in a phone interview. “And I loved to play French records on my mom’s turntable.

“It was at 14, when I was in Arles, Austria, where the Gypsy Kings were neighbors of ours, that I really fell in love with and became a student of flamenco.”

Cook describes his musical style as a “modern flamenco hybrid.

“It really is a global mash-up,” he says. “It combines all different elements from the world, from different musical traditions.”

Cook incorporates flamenco rumba, jazz and many forms of world music into his work.

He’s an Acoustic Guitar magazine Player’s Choice Award silver winner in the Flamenco Category, and a three-time winner of the Canadian Smooth Jazz award for Guitarist of the Year. He has recorded on the EMI, E1 Music and Narada labels and has sold more than 1.5 million records.

Cook continues to be a student of the world, travelling and touring. “I love the constant change and excitement of touring” he says. “I don’t have a favorite place. It’s the variety that I love. Music is the universal language. I don’t want any part of the rising nationalism I’ve seen throughout the world. Music is something we all share, music can teach us something.”

Cook fans can now tune into his YouTube show, “Jesse Cook Friday Night Music,” where he posts a performance from wherever he is in the world. “For me, it’s a lot of fun,” he says.

Cook hopes to tour and make music for as long as he can. “I love it,” he says. “I just returned from Saudi Arabia where I performed at the first jazz festival there. I don’t want to stop. For me, it’s about the journey.”

Cook’s fans can expect to hear music performed from his 10th album, “Beyond Borders,” and more when he returns to the State for the first time in three years.

“Bring your dancing shoes,” he says. “It’s going to be a rumba party.”

Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132