Let’s Talk Music- Jesse Cook: The Best Guitarist You’ve Never Heard Of.

If I were to say the words “Spanish guitar” or “modern flamenco guitar” to you, you might think of the Gypsy Kings.  You would certainly have a vision of a Latin or perhaps Mediterranean person or group associated with this style of music.  But what if I were to tell you that perhaps the best modern flamenco guitarist performing today, is in fact the whitest, dorkiest, Canadian guy you’ve ever seen?  Well it’s a fact.  Jesse Cook is that dorky white Canadian.

I have have met Jesse a few times and he is actually more shy than dorky, and truly a modest man given the talents he possesses.  Hailing from Toronto, he has set a new standard in modern Spanish guitar.  I hesitate to single out any of his albums, because they are all phenomenal, but I have a fondness for his first three… Tempest… Freefall… and Vertigo.

The one problem I have with Jesse though is that he never seems to leave Canada.  If you go to his website, you’ll see he tours extensively in the northern provinces, but rarely seems to get to the States.  I have seen him five times over the last 10 years, and I’m convinced those are the only five times he’s been to Southern California in the last 10 years.  If you haven’t seen him check out what you are missing. (Check out the amazing finger work starting at 2:00).

By the way, I have nothing against Canada or Canadians.  I love Hockey (Go Ducks!), Molsen GoldenRushThe Kids in The Hall, etc…and some day I really want to visit Quebec, it is just that you don’t normally associate Canada with flamenco music.

  • kijaso

    Just saw Jesse Cook last night in Austin, Texas and he blew everyone away. He is headed in your direction in a few days!!

  • Random Williams

    You are welcome. I had the privilege of meeting Tommy thanks to my wife as a gift. His personality is as great as his ability. I discovered him by accident while web surfing and knew that this was one of the worlds greatest guitarists,bar none, just from those videos. If you have ever picked up wood and steel and played you will no doubt recognize his ability is off the chart. I watched him play at a level of such intensity and complexity for over an hour on tour. He did so with ease and was flawless. He plays so well he is even comic during his performance. I will never forget the performance. It leaves you inspired and humbled. He does tour the U.S. and has a web site. Chet Atkins gave him and three others a title he made up, Certified Guitar Player. Chet knew what he was doing. This guy can play in any style..acoustic, electric, with an orchestra, heck I’ve even seen him play a ukulele. I hope you seek him out some day. You will be impresses.

  • Random Williams

    If you think Jesse Cook is the greatest you have not seen Tommy Emmanuel. Don’t get me wrong,I like Jesse. But Tommy is , without a doubt, one of the worlds greatest guitarist. He needs no backup. Youtube him and watch the wonder from down under.

    • I just checked him out. Spectacular. Thanks for the heads up.