Frontiers – Jesse Cook

Frontiers is the latest album released by Rumba-Flamenco guitar whiz Jesse Cook. Released in 2007, the inspiration for the album came from a “temporary move with his wife to Seville, Spain” and the birth of his first child, Lucas Cook (b. March 14, 2005). However, Cook and nine other musicians recorded the album at Coach House Music in Canada and he also mixed the album. Jesse is joined by Chris Church, violins; Art Avalos, percussion & timbales; Chendy Leon, Percussion; Ross MacIntire, Acoustic Bass; Kevin Fox, Cello; Gary Craig, drums. While Cook’s previous work has veered slightly towards a more adult-contemporary style, Frontiers is truer to the traditional form, and more compelling as a result.

The album starts off with the playful Matisse The Cat. Cafe Mocha with a violin intro, reminds me of just that – sipping a hot mocha coffee. It’s a wonderful song with a beat that steadily grows on you and soon you are moving your shoulders & tapping your feet. The gentle Rain is next, a brilliantly subtle number. Vamos & Turning follow, good gentle numbers.

A tribute to Cuba’s musical influences is up next in Havana. Next is the the atmospheric El Cri & the sentimental Come What May. A highlight of the album is the Bob Dylan cover It Ain’t Me Babe with Melissa McClelland on vocals. This is a breezy and uplifting song which reminds me of windy evenings at my balcony or my windows with a sunset in the horizon. Mexican singer Amanda Martinez duets with Jesse on La Llorona.

Which brings us to Waiting & album closer Europa. Arab-Canadian singer Maryem Tollar provides vocals for the latter. It’s a great cd overall and I would place it as his third best effort after Free Fall & Gravity. Definetely one for the ages. Buy it, amigo!

Rain played live at the Metropolis.

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