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extrovert

Jesse Cook

  • 19th Jul, 2006 at 1:33 PM


Audience participation
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

My friend burst in to my apartment with a CD. "Here," she said as she thrust a CD in my hand, "put this on." Faced with such determination, I did what any person would do. I listened to the CD. And then I bought tickets to a Jesse Cook concert.

He was slotted for four shows at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, all of which were sold out. I surmised this by noting the very long line that snaked around outside Metropolis. People were talking vividly amongst each other while a camera crew walked around interviewing people. The show we were attending was being recorded live for a DVD.

We slipped inside and I found myself a front-row seat. The opening act, Papa Duke, is an instrumental band focused on high-energy gypsy music. It's led by Vasyl Popadiuk, a Ukrainian violinist of exceptional calibre. He was backed by a bass, drums, and wind instruments. Popadiuk was quite the focus of the music, jumping around on stage with his fingers flying across his violin.

He was always urging the audience to participate. Urging them to dance to the music, which was fast-paced and light-hearted. But it was too early in the concert for the people to move. For his last song, he invited someone from the front row to come up and help him play the violin. She stood up there holding the bow, as he sat off the edge of the stage. It was a fun gimmick.


Jesse Cook and Ron Sexsmith
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

After a brief interlude, the curtains came up again. On stage, Jesse Cook and his band walked on stage and smiled. Then they launched immediately into song. Jesse is a brilliant guitarist who takes his influences from rumba, flamenco, and pop. He chatted with the audience and seemed genuinely comfortable in his own humble skin. It was nice to see someone unflamboyant being happy that he was playing before a huge crowd.

I'm not sure if it was due to this being a live DVD recording session, but his show seemed to follow the same order as the live CD recorded at the Jazz Fest two years ago. In fact, some of the intersong banter remained across the years. But he played with a kind of confidence that was absolutely charming. And since it was a big production, he was able to invite some guest speakers on stage. Like Ron Sexsmith, who sang Fall at Your Feet unplugged. The whole acoustic experience gave a sense of quiet intimacy that doesn't show up in modern rock concerts anymore.

The audience loved him, and so there were multiple encores. But looking about the room, I noticed that we were amongst the youngest people there. It looks like he doesn't write a lot of new material and doesn't do a lot of self-promotion. So his fans are loyal and many, but few of them are new. Still, I recommend picking up his Jesse Cook Montreal record. You'll be pleasantly enchanted.

Article written for Akachic Records.


Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
peaceful_dragon
19th Jul, 2006 17:50 (UTC)
Ah, cool. I've always enjoyed Jesse Cook's music, ever since I was introduced to it (can't remember how) nearly 10 years ago in Toronto.

If you like Jesse Cook, I think you'll also like Ottmar Liebert; who is also a great guitar player!
sfllaw
20th Jul, 2006 08:25 (UTC)
I'll look into his music. Thanks!
(Anonymous)
19th Jul, 2006 19:16 (UTC)
Jesse Cook is amazing!
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
20th Jul, 2006 08:25 (UTC)
Let's try for that, hmm?
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
20th Jul, 2006 21:56 (UTC)
I don't have that one. Maybe we could arrange for a trade?
(Deleted comment)
sfllaw
20th Jul, 2006 21:56 (UTC)
It is! Thanks for asking.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )