The Rumba Foundation – Jesse Cook

Firmly established as an icon & leading member of the rumba &  Nouveau flamenco brand of world music, Jesse Cook brought forth The Rumba Foundation. Released last year the cd continues Jesse Cook’s journey across time, space and sound.  Jesse melds his trademark rumba flamenco style with the music of Cuba, Haiti and Columbia, among others. With all of the dazzling instrumental pyrotechnics he employs, Jesse’s emphasis is always on the melody and the infectious rhythms that make him an airplay favorite. The album sounds very South American in style as Cuban & African music mixes with exotic Spanish guitar of Mediterranean, rumba flamenco, pop and world tones.

Let’s get things rolling, as you listen to Bogota By Bus, you get the image of a fun & energetic journey by bus with the travelers singing & playing their instruments and dancing to the beat. Compared to the flirty & cheerful opening track, Santa Marta is a lot more melancholic; visions of longing for a seaside town with family & friends waiting for us float through my mind as the melodic guitar licks fill the air. Tuesday’s Child starts off with sounds of a toddler in the background and then the moody music picks off.

Manolo’s Lament is the next track; again brings us the Latin world of fish boats and sea side towns. After flexing his guitar strings in the 27 second Improv 1, come the mid-tempo La Rumba De’el Jefe, a wonderful piece of musical restraint.  After the brief 16 second Improv 2, we waltz into Gaita with it’s strong rhythm section and lovely melody. We slow things down for the ethereal Rain Day and it’s feeling of loneliness.

The last three songs  – a middle eastern sounding Bombay Diner that creates images of a bustling neighbourhood with people mingling about, Afternoon At Satie’s which is a gentle intimate affair & the totally fun & sing-a-long version of Paul Simon’s Cecilia – are probably the best tracks on the album with the exception of the opening song. Great way to end the album and you’ll be hitting the play button many times over.

The cd features Juan Alberto Fernandez Polo, Jeremy Fisher (vocals); Chris Church (violin); Jonathan Tortolano, Kevin Fox (cello); Juan De Sedas (accordion); Drew Birston (double bass); Rafael Antonio Rodriguez, Jairo Rafael Herrera, Gabriel Eduardo Torregrosa, Dionisio Jose Yepes (percussion).

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