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BIOGRAPHY

Jesse Cook In Concert – Beyond Borders

“I want to take people to places they haven’t been.” Jesse Cook, Juno winning master guitarist, known for his intoxicating fusion of world music, has travelled the globe looking for sounds that resonate with him. “I like finding common ground for different music traditions, a space where music from around the world can come together,” Cook explains. “A place where modern sounds can mix with ancient timbres.”

“There are many borders in our lives. Some others have built, some we create for ourselves. Whenever I ventured beyond the borders of my life, I have been the better for it. I grew up in the cold war, in a world of walls and borders. But then people began to change the way they thought. The walls came down. Europe united, and people began thinking of themselves as global citizens. The rising nationalism of today is exploiting our differences, not celebrating them. We are back to building walls, and I don’t want any part of it. Humanity, artistry, joy, and of course, love…these things don’t stop at some line on the map. If music is the universal language, maybe there is something it can teach us?”

Cook also helps foster this spirit of cultural exploration visually through his photography on Instagram as well his popular weekly video releases on his YouTube channel and through Facebook. He was born in Paris, to Canadian parents. The family moved to southern France, where they bought a small home built in the 16th Century, for 100 dollars. “It was like stepping into the Middle Ages,” Cook recalls. “Manitas de Plata was popular then, and it was his albums got me interested in the sound of flamenco guitar.”

After moving back to Canada, Cook started guitar lessons. “My teacher played flamenco. Then, when I’d visit my dad in France, he was living next door to Nicolas Reyes, the singer of the Gipsy Kings. I saw gipsy kids on the corner playing that way too.” It was as if the world conspired to get me interested in this style and I was hooked.” It was when he heard the Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin album, Friday Night in San Francisco that the die was cast. “I was captivated by the sheer virtuosity and freedom, that people could play whatever they wanted, creating in that space between jazz and flamenco.”

Cook studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music, moving on to York University, and jazz at Berklee College in Boston. On his albums, and in concert, Cook explores the roots of flamenco, and it’s many offshoots, from India to Spain, and on to Cuba and Latin America. Along the way, he developed his signature synthesis of world music. He has released ten genre-defying albums, garnering eleven Juno (Canada’s Grammy) nominations – and one win, in 2001 for Free Fall – in the World Music and Instrumental categories.

As Cook reflects back on his journey so far, “Music has a way of touching your soul, and every tradition on earth has its own way of doing that. When we venture beyond our cultural and geographic borders, we can gain the whole world.”


BIOGRAPHIE

Jesse Cook en concert avec l’album Beyond Borders

« Je veux faire voyager les gens là où ils n’ont jamais été. » Voilà la volonté du guitariste émérite Jesse Cook. Réputé pour sa musique du monde métissée, il a parcouru la planète en quête de sonorités qui lui ressemblent. Il explique : « J’aime chercher les points communs qui existent entre différentes traditions musicales, trouver leur point de rencontre, là où des sons modernes et plus anciens peuvent fusionner. »

« Notre vie est remplie de limites, que l’on nous impose ou que l’on s’impose soi-même, constate Jesse. Chaque fois que je m’aventure à l’extérieur de ces limites, j’en sors plus grand. J’ai grandi pendant la guerre froide, dans un monde divisé par des murs et des frontières. Mais, peu à peu, la vision des gens a évolué. Les murs sont tombés, l’Europe s’est unie et les gens ont commencé à se percevoir comme des citoyens du monde. La montée du nationalisme qu’on observe aujourd’hui exploite nos différences plutôt que de les célébrer. On recommence à ériger des murs entre nous, et je ne veux pas faire partie de ça. La compassion, l’art, la joie et, bien sûr, l’amour… tout ça existe au-delà d’une ligne quelconque tracée sur une carte. Si la musique est le langage universel, elle peut sans doute nous enseigner quelque chose, non? »

Jesse cultive visuellement cet esprit d’exploration culturelle grâce aux photos qu’il partage sur Instagram et aux vidéos populaires qu’il publie chaque semaine sur YouTube et Facebook. Né à Paris de parents canadiens, il déménage par la suite dans le sud de la France, où sa famille s’installe dans une maison du 16e siècle qu’elle achète seulement 100 $. « J’avais l’impression de débarquer au Moyen Âge, se souvient Jesse. Manitas de Plata était très populaire à l’époque, et ce sont ses albums qui ont éveillé mon intérêt pour le son des guitares de flamenco. »

Une fois revenu au Canada, Jesse commence à suivre des cours de guitare. « Mon prof jouait du flamenco, raconte Jesse. Puis, quand je retournais en France pour visiter mon père, je voyais aussi ces gamins gipsy jouer comme lui dans le quartier. En plus, mon père vivait juste à côté de Nicolas Reyes, le chanteur des Gipsy Kings. C’est comme si l’Univers avait voulu me pousser vers ce genre de musique et, finalement, j’en suis tombé amoureux. » Une fois qu’il écoute l’album Friday Night in San Francisco de Paco de Lucía, Al Di Meola et John McLaughlin, impossible de faire marche arrière : « J’étais captivé par la pure virtuosité et la liberté totale de cette musique, mais aussi par le fait que des gens puissent jouer et composer ce qu’ils veulent, à la frontière du jazz et du flamenco. »

Ensuite, Jesse étudie la guitare classique à Toronto, d’abord au Conservatoire royal de musique, puis à l’Université York, avant de partir à Boston pour étudier le jazz au Berklee College of Music. Dans ses albums, et sur scène, il joue avec les racines du flamenco en les mariant à ses nombreuses influences, glanées de l’Inde à l’Espagne, en passant par Cuba et l’Amérique latine. Au fil de son parcours, Jesse a su créer une fusion de musiques du monde qui porte une signature unique, la sienne. Ses dix albums ont tous défié les frontières musicales et lui ont valu onze nominations aux prix Juno – dont une victoire pour l’album Free Fall en 2011 – dans les catégories Album de musique du monde et Meilleur album instrumental.

Lorsqu’il fait le point sur son parcours, Jesse déclare : « La musique sait comment toucher notre âme, et chaque tradition musicale qui existe sur Terre le fait d’une manière différente. Si on s’aventure au-delà de nos frontières culturelles et géographiques, le monde nous appartient. »


HIGH RESOLUTION PROMO PHOTOS

Preferred photos for
Beyond Borders promotions

Right-click on an image and select “Save Link As”
to download high resolution version.

Jesse Cook promo 2018

Jesse Cook promo 2018

Tour Shot large

2017 Promo BW

2017 Promo Color

JesseCook_BeyondBorders_graphic


Additional Promo Photos

Photographer Credit: Allen Clark
Right-click on an image and select “Save Link As”
to download high resolution version.

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

Jesse Cook – Publicity Image Photo credit: Allen Clark

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JesseCookStage2

JesseCookStage

JesseCook


PRINT MATERIAL

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(Note: Amendments to and variations of what is created can be done by contacting our graphic artist Antoine Moonen – studio@antoinemoonen.com)

Beyond Borders Tour 2017 – 11″ x 17″


Beyond Borders Tour 2018 – 11″ x 17″


Beyond Borders Facebook Media

 

JesseCook-ByndBrdrsTour2017_Poster_FB JesseCook-Tour2017_FB_banner_V1


PRESS QUOTES

“Jesse Cook is Canada’s King of the rumba flamenco… Cook lights a Mediterranean fire in the Great White North.”
– Chatelaine

“…lightning fast and bright flamenco guitarist…Jesse Cook…is about as seductive, percussive and danceable as this kind of music gets…also a powerful pop songwriter, with each melody standing out above the weaving rhythms sung by his intoxicating strings.”
– Jazziz (USA)

“…he sets spirits on high…combines his love for pure pop hooks with artful finger-stylings.”
– Jazziz (USA)

“…Cook distinguished himself in a break at the end that explored stratospheric heights of the guitar’s range.”
– Daily Nation (Barbados)

“Canadian strummer wows Singapore audiences with his fancy fingerwork.”
– The Straits Times (Singapore)

“…tantalizing blend of rumba, flamenco and Latin jazz-and some amazing guitar work.”
– Buzz

“Cook shows magnifico creativity.
– Cleveland Free Press

“Cook is much more than another in a long line of Ottmar wannabes… Cook displays a touch and formidable technique that fits him above the large pack of imitators.”
– Acoustic Guitar

“Jesse Cook plays with a proficiency and style that most guitarists can only conjure up in their sleep.”
– Tucson Lifestyle

“This music is perfect and Cook is perfection.”
– Tampa Tribune

“Cook’s talent is, simply, tremendous, and anyone who has any interest in contemporary instrumental music—particularly where acoustic guitars and percussion are concerned—should run, not walk, to get this CD.”
– Tampa Tribune

“Cook’s hot mix of world music punctuated by his astounding guitar work had the audience tapping, clapping, and shouting “ole!” the entire evening, and then up on their feet for three encores.”
– Esaton Concert Review (USA)

“Guitar virtuoso Jesse Cook is a walking embodiment of the gypsy music he plays: eclectic, energetic, and very exciting. Perhaps that is why he says that his music chose him, and not the other way around. After all, he does seem like the perfect candidate.”
– The Star Online (Kuala Lumpur)


FULL FEATURES

Click on title for full review.

The Music Express

May 13, 2013
“We’re music, we have to tour to pay my bills, that is what we do. I really don’t have many other options. I’d make a lousy dentist.”

The Smooth Jazz Ride

November 07, 2012
“A very different, very well-produced and well-performed project full of soft, sweet melodies and moods.”

The Vancouverist (Interview)

October 15, 2012
“…now is the time I actually had the courage to do it.”

Camuz.ca

September 18, 2012
“À écouter enveloppé dans une couverture de laine, en ce bon début d’automne pluvieux. On a testé!”

CBCMusic.ca (Special feature)

September 17, 2012
“You had me at the first 5 or 6 chords…”

The Montreal Gazette

September 16, 2012
“…this aural sketchbook becomes an excursion filled with modest pleasures.”

Brampton Guardian

April 21, 2012
Toronto-based guitarist Jesse Cook will bring his jazzy latin- and world-influenced music to the Rose Theatre May 2 at 7:30 p.m for a special performance.

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