Photo by Allen Clark
International guitarist, composer and producer Jesse Cook will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at The Sheldon, .3648 Washington Blvd. in St. Louis. The award-winning musician is touring the nation to share work from previous albums and collaborations as well as his newest sounds.
Mixing together Latin sounds from the strings of a guitar with those from southern France, Persia, Romania, Armenia, Cuba and even beyond, concertgoers at The Sheldon will experience a musical trip around the world, all in one night.
When international guitarist, composer and producer Jesse Cook takes over the stage, he hopes the audience comes away from the evening with the sense that they have experienced all the sounds and sights of a global hop made possible through the reverberation of his guitar’s strings.
“I like it to be a bit of a journey, a sense that we have all taken a trip around the world together,” Cook said.
The award-winning musician is touring the nation, presenting his global infusion of sounds at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, from the stage at The Sheldon to share work from previous albums and collaborations as well as his newest sounds. His first album, “Tempest,” focused more on his training with the classical and flamenco genres of guitar. Over time, Cook has diversified his sound, creating an infusion of flamenco, classical, rumba, world beat, pop, blues and jazz.
Cook’s next album is scheduled for release in August. His most recent album, “One World,” was released in 2015, and it was his album “Free Fall” that won him a Juno award in 2000.
“I went to Berklee College of Music, a big jazz school, starting with classical guitar,” the Paris-born, Toronto-raised guitarist said. “One of my first classes was in flamenco, however, and I was hooked.”
When asked what first drew him to the guitar, Cook said, “I don’t remember, but mom says I was 2 ½ when I started playing.”
Over the years, Cook’s musical career has transformed into more of a hybrid of influences, compositions, performances and production.
“In my 20s, I was composing for film, theater and dance companies,” he said. “I released my album ‘Tempest’ in Canada on my own, running just 1,000 copies and expecting they would mostly stay in my trunk for decades.”
Eventually a Milwaukee record label picked him up and booked him in the Catalina Jazz Festival. Soon after, Cook got a call from the label telling him they just had an order for 10,000 copies and he had debuted “Tempest” at No. 14 on the Billboard charts.
“This is when I realized my life was about to change,” Cook said.
He quit his day job and has spent the last 21 years making his living with guitar in hand.
“My musical statement these days is this other thing,” he added, coming with the realities of experiencing music as a universal language. Cook describes a time where he sat down with other musicians from all over the world. They couldn’t speak one another’s language, but they could still communicate through the sounds of music. In the United States, Cook has collaborated with a diverse range of professionals over the years, from The Bodines to Slash.
Influences have included such greats as Paco de Lucia in the past to Vicente Amigo today, along with singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, whose talent as a producer has much influenced Cook. In fact, he noted one of the songs on his August-release album, “Lost,” was written under the influence of Chopin.
He doesn’t necessarily have a favorite genre to play, though.
“There are two types of musicians: those that learn a genre and become ‘those guys’ or those that learn the rules and then break them,” Cook said. “I am firmly a part of this second group.”
As for his musical success, Cook said, “I always feel like I’m really lucky. I get to do whatever I want with my music. Not all artists get to do this.”
Tickets are available through MetroTix. For more information about the performance at The Sheldon, 3648 Washington Blvd. in St. Louis, visit the venue’s website.