Jesse Cook Beyond Borders, CA Center for the Arts Escondido


Sounds of The World
By Janene Forman – (On February 24) at The Escondido Center for the Arts, I experienced a fusion of beautiful music, influenced by every continent. A musical vacation of sorts, without leaving the North County. When I arrived, I had no idea I was about to be transported to another place, a place where musical genres from around the world would be combined into an indescribable experience. Jesse Cook is the classically trained guitarist who has created this unique sound, due to his extensive travel and his upbringing in France, Barcelona and Canada. He was my musical tour guide for the evening.

While living in France as a teenager, Jesse Cook was influenced by one of his dad’s neighbors, Nicolas Reyes, the lead singer of the famous flamenco group, The Gipsy Kings. He became enthralled with the “Camargue sound” which is the rhythmic, flamenco-rumba approach to guitar that was heard in the streets and cafes in the gipsy barrio. He studied in Canada, and later at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jesse is an accomplished Composer and producer, in a genre that has come to be called Nuevo Flamenco. The “band” is equally talented in bass guitar, percussion, flamenco guitar, violin, accordion, recorder and the gaita, a clarinet shaped instrument originating from Columbia.

His debut album, Tempest was in the top 15 on the billboard charts and since then, he has released eleven studio albums, six of which have gone Gold or Platinum. He has also earned numerous Jazz guitar awards and has sold 1.5 million records worldwide.

Jesse Cooks’ classical guitar skills are difficult to fathom, his style is a combination of flamenco, rumba, jazz, South American, Cuban and east Indian sounds that are blended so beautifully, you can’t even imagine how he does it. These sounds are from his most recent album, Beyond Borders. So creative…. the music inspires, and could be described as a spiritual experience.

The audience at the Center on that Saturday night agreed. This multi talented ensemble performed for a full house at the Center’s Concert Hall venue. Jesse and his band played here last year, but in the much smaller Center theater. This is definitely a testimony to how much the audience loves his music and how much they anticipated his return to Escondido. He and his band had several standing ovations which prompted multiple encores. If you get a chance, download some of his music so you can experience it, and when he comes back to Escondido next year, make sure you have tickets to this one of a kind journey around the world of music. You won’t be disappointed.

Janene Forman
Arts and Food contributor to the North County Daily Star
View all the events coming up at The California Center for the Arts, Escondido here
View his albums here, and download his music on iTunes


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