CLEARWATER — Jesse Cook will perform Thursday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m., at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.
Tickets start at $26. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
The Canadian guitarist, composer and producer studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music, moving on to York University and jazz at Berklee College in Boston. Cook is widely considered one of the most influential figures in “nuevo flamenco” music. On his albums and in concert, Cook explores the roots of flamenco and its many offshoots, from India to Spain, and on to Cuba and Latin America. Along the way, he has developed a signature synthesis of world music. He has released 10 genre-defying albums, garnering 11 Juno nominations — and one win, in 2001, for “Free Fall” — in the World Music and Instrumental categories.
Cook is ready to ring in a new milestone in 2020. His 48-date “Follow the Road” tour will continue and simultaneously he will mark the 25th anniversary since the release of his debut album “Tempest.”
Born in Paris to Canadian parents, Cook moved back to Canada when he was still young. There, he started guitar lessons, according to a biographical sketch provided by Milestone Publicity.
“My teacher played flamenco,” he said. “Then, when I’d visit my dad in France, he was living next door to Nicolas Reyes, the singer of the Gipsy Kings. I saw gipsy kids on the corner playing that way too. It was as if the world conspired to get me interested in this style and I was hooked.”
It was when he heard “Friday Night in San Francisco” — the 1980 live album by Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin — that the die was cast.
“I was captivated by the sheer virtuosity and freedom, that people could play whatever they wanted, creating in that space between jazz and flamenco,” Cook explained.
Cook has released 10 studio albums. “Beyond Borders,” his most recent, came out in 2017.
In addition to headlining concerts and festivals, he has opened for such legends as B.B. King, Ray Charles and Diana Krall.