Canadian virtuoso guitarist Jesse Cook was in town last Saturday to give a concert at Bishop's University. He likes to tell the audience that he was actually conceived on the golf course behind the university some years ago and thus has close attachments to the place for obvious reasons!
While a guitarist versed in many styles of playing, I enjoy his rolling rumba tunes although his latest material is getting a long way from traditional flamenco. He played with three other musicians, another flamenco style guitarist, Nicolas Hernandez, an amazing Cuban drummer, Rosendo Leon and his old stage-mate Chris Church who plays violin and also appears on Jesse's latest CD 'Frontiers'.
To be honest, I enjoy Jesse best when he plays alone or with just cajun and/or palmas. The addition of a full set of overly amplified guitars, drum set and a violin just don't do it for me, although the packed house at Bishop's gave him several standing ovations and lots of cheering. I wished his sound man had used a bit more of a delicate touch in setting up the sound for the small intimate concert hall at Bishop's. Having done so in the past, I know it can provide a real flamenco night club atmosphere if it's done with care. That said, it was a warm musical evening, in spite of the snow blowing around outside.