If Jesse Cook was an actor instead of a Juno award winning guitarist, hed be considered a method actor, someone who immerses himself completely in the world of the characters he portrays to deliver authentic performances cloaked in realism. For his eighth album, The Rumba Foundation, which will be released September 29th by E1 Music, the Canadian headed to Colombia equipped with his acoustic guitar, a few song sketches and a wide open mind.
Originally Cooks mission for The Rumba Foundation was to bring his muse - rumba flamenco music - back to rumbas birthplace: Cuba. But then he got in touch with Latin Grammy winners Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, a traditional Vallenato group that makes their own instruments, and was invited to Colombia. The group members arrived in Bogot after a long bus trip and an impromptu living room exchange took place. After feasting on a homemade meal, Cook was asked to play some of the songs he wanted to record with the troupe. From that moment on, a unique fusion of culture and sounds intermingled in the recording studio with Cook producing the Vallenato-meets-rumba flamenco amalgam. He also wrote or co-wrote a dozen compositions for the collection vividly colored and intricately textured with Colombian influences. Adding a dose of pure American pop to the World Music offering, Cook recorded the rhythmic hand-clapping street corner romp Cecilia, penned by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. The discs first single, Bogot By Bus, is already making inroads at radio.
Recording The Rumba Foundation was more challenging than I anticipated. Merging two cultures and finding points of intersection required a bit more work than I imagined, but I think the effort produced a record that is perhaps my best yet, revealed Cook. Theres no point in going all the way down there (Colombia) just to show them what to play. I could do that with session players in my studio at home (Toronto). Instead I wanted them to freely infuse their culture - including instruments, melodies and rhythms - and bring musical elements to the recording, some of which I had not even heard before.
Days prior to its official release date, The Rumba Foundation will air in its entirety via syndication through Los Angeles radio station KTWV-FM The Wave on September 25th, the same night Cook will perform and sign CDs at a Los Angeles in-store appearance at Borders (1360 Wilshire Boulevard). The following night, Cook will perform at The Waves star-studded concert held at the fabled Greek Theatre. Cook will then embark upon an extensive concert tour schedule starting October 1st in Seattle with dates that run into the New Year and will include an in-store appearance at Borders in Sacramento (2339 Fair Oaks Boulevard) on October 9th.
Cook first fell in love with rumba flamenco while visiting his father in Arles in the South of France. As a teenager, he jammed with the Gypsy Kings on his fathers roof. Two recent Cook albums that went top 5 on the Billboard chart - Frontiers and Nomad - were influenced by voyages to Egypt and Spain much like The Rumba Foundation was shaped by the visit to Colombia. Frontiers camped out for 70 weeks on the Billboard New Age chart and went #1 in 2008 at the same time the albums single, Caf Mocha, went top 3 at smooth jazz radio, making Cook the first artist to achieve such a feat. Respected as a prodigious guitarist, Cook was named the silver medal winner in Acoustic Guitar magazines 2009 Players Choice Awards. A charismatic entertainer who has sold over one million albums worldwide, the ruggedly-handsome Cook has performed captivating concerts for sold-out crowds all over the map, which has spawned a truly global fan base. His Canadian platinum-selling Jesse Cook Live at the Metropolis DVD, recorded at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival, was recognized with a Juno nomination. Additional information is available at www.jessecook.com and www.kochrecords.com.
Catch Cook performing music from The Rumba Foundation at the following concert dates (more will be added):
September 26 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre (The Wavefest)
October 1 & 2 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
October 3 Portland, OR Aladdin Theatre
October 4 Redmond, OR Redmond Community Concert Association
October 6 Chico, CA Chico University Laxson Auditorium
October 7 Oakland, CA Yoshis at Jack London Square
October 8 Modesto, CA The State Theatre
October 9 Sacramento, CA KSSJ Summer Concert Series at the Radisson Hotel
October 10 Catalina Island, CA Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival/Avalon Ballroom
October 11 Temecula, CA Thornton Winery
October 14 San Diego, CA Humphreys Concerts By The Bay
October 15 Tucson, AZ Berger Performing Arts Center
October 16 Henderson, NV Henderson Pavilion
October 17 Santa Monica, CA Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
November 1 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theatre
November 2 Wilmington, DE The Grand Opera House
November 3 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
November 4 Annapolis, MD Rams Head OnStage
November 6 New York, NY B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill
November 7 Woodstock, VT Town Hall Theatre
November 22 Cagliardi, Sardinia European Jazz Expo
November 24 Valetta, Malta The City Theatre
November 29 Wroclaw, Poland Wroclaw Guitar Festival
December 12 Omaha, NE 1200 Club at the Holland
December 15 Cleveland, OH Nighttown
December 16 Buffalo, NY Buffalo State Performing Arts Center
January 14 Wickenburg, AZ Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts
January 15 Scottsdale, AZ Scottsdale Center for the Arts
January 16 Palm Desert, CA McCallum Theatre
January 17 Austin, TX One World Theatre
January 19 Baton Rouge, LA Manship Theatre
January 21 Mobile, AL Saenger Theatre
January 22 Jacksonville, FL Wilson Center for the Arts
January 23 Lake Worth, FL Duncan Theater