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Jesse Cook - Beyond Borders

Posted by Kat Cullen on 2017/11/06

Yes he is Canadian. A national treasure. Our very own virtuoso.

But if you ever needed proof that Jesse Cook is a citizen of the world, check out this new release - Beyond Borders. What a fanciful feast of musical deliciousness! Every track takes us on a tantalizing tour of Jesse's world, filled with passion, fire, spice, romance and yes, even pain.

Starting with "Double Dutch" (the lead-off single), we are transported to another realm. The title track "Beyond Borders" brings with it a middle-eastern flavour, complete with meditative background vocals. "Unchosen" slows down the tempo, creating a mystical, contemplative vibe.

If you're wondering how a Canadian boy came to all this worldliness, Jesse was born in Paris and as a young boy moved between Paris, the Arles region of France and Barcelona where he earned his passion for flamenco music. Yes, he was a child protégé, enrolling in the prestigious Eli Kassner Guitar Academy in Toronto and then the Royal Conservatory of Music, York University and Berklee College in Boston.

But it was during visits to his father (who had moved to Arles), Cook became friendly with the next door neighbour Nicholas Reyes, lead vocalist for the renowned Gypsy Kings flamenco band.

“When I started as a kid, it was as a classical guitarist with some flamenco training,” says Cook. “Then I went to jazz school and learned jazz improvisation and later turned back to flamenco. Now what I do now is none of the above. My musical style is now more of a fusion; I am trying to find out what happens when you mix it all together. I make music I like to hear. I have an esoteric taste in music.”

I do love when those fingers start to fly. But what I truly love is when Jesse slows things down and let's his soul do the speaking. "Lost" is breathtakingly wistful, absolutely ripping through my heart. "The Toll" is another melancholy ode; you can fully imagine its author paying a heavy price. For what? Well, that's the beauty of instrumental masterpieces. We are allowed to fill in our own blanks. My favourite track (hard to choose on this record) is "A mi Nina". I have no idea why. All Jesse - and simply all heart. All soul. All uniquely exquisite.

Thank you Jesse Cook for taking us beyond borders. You are truly one of my favourite traveling companions.

Vickie van Dyke

Morning Host

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