Award-winning and internationally acclaimed guitarist, composer and producer Jesse Cook has swirled together Spanish guitar and Algerian violin and gumbri into an infectious musical mashup with multi-instrumentalist Fethi Nadjem for HEY! — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“Some people think world music is anthropological field recordings,” says Cook of the collaboration. “That’s not my vibe … Global music is the future, (and) I like it loud and bombastic!”
So sets the tone for HEY!, the duo’s global music mashup. The track was created soon after Cook and Nadjem shared the stage at the 2019 Victoria Jazz Festival; Cook’s skills as a composer and producer quickly set the stage for Nadjem’s remarkable talents across the guitar, oud, violin, mandole, and kora, the African harp, among many more, resulting in the stand-alone single. Also featured on HEY! are Matt Sellick on rhythm guitar, Dan Minchorn on bass, and percussionists Matais Recharte and Marito Marques; modern dance company Gadfly are featured in the video.
The release comes in addition and ahead of Cook’s marking of 25 years of music with 25 special tour dates across Canada, a nod to his 1995 debut, Tempest. The Tempest 25 tour serves as a bemusing milestone for a guy who never planned on releasing an album. “If you had asked me at age 22, I would have said I would never, never make music for the public,” Cook says with a laugh. “I would have told you the public is much too fickle … They may love you one minute and forget you the next. It turns out I did the thing I said I’d never do, and somehow it’s worked out.”
That’s an understatement. By the numbers, Cook holds 10 platinum and gold studio albums with combined sales exceeding two million copies, five concert DVDs and live discs, and five PBS specials — his most recent, directed, edited and mixed by Cook himself. He has a JUNO Award for Best Instrumental Album with 2000’s Free Fall — which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year — and 11 JUNO nominations. These stack alongside three Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, a Gemini Award and Acoustic Guitar Magazine Player’s Choice Silver Award, not to mention thousands of concerts in dozens of countries, millions of views and streams and countless fans around the world.
“25 years ago, before Tempest was released — and all that would follow — if you had asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I would have told you I was happy in my solitude,” Cook reflects. “I didn’t want to be in the public eye. But I was wrong. Before Tempest, I’d never seen the rest of Canada. I never dreamed I would one day see Asia, let alone tour it. My fans have lifted me up in so many ways, and have given me the freedom to follow my muse and chase my dreams. They opened the world to me, and given me the opportunity to meet and perform with my musical heroes.
“Without my fans, none of this would have happened. Words are not enough to thank all the people who have been with me on this crazy, beautiful journey these last 25 years. And now, I can’t wait to see where the next 25 will take us.”
The Tempest 25 Tour will visit cities from B.C. all the way to a special five-night engagement in Montréal, during the 2020 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. See the full list of dates below, and learn more about Cook on his website, Facebook and Instagram.
The Tempest 25 Tour
March 20 @ The Port Theatre, Nanaimo BC
March 21 @ The Centre in Vancouver, Vancouver BC
March 23 @ Kelowna Community Theatre, Kelowna BC
March 25 @ Winspear Centre, Edmonton AB
March 26 @ Red Deer Memorial Centre, Red Deer AB
March 27 @ Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary AB
March 28 @ Vic Juba Theatre, Lloydminster AB
March 31 @ Conexus Arts Centre, Regina SK
April 1 @ TCU Place, Saskatoon SK
April 2 @ Centennial Auditorium, Brandon MB
April 3 @ Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg MB
April 4 @ Community Auditorium, Thunder Bay ON
April 8 @ Centre in the Square, Kitchener ON
April 9 @ Meridian Hall, Toronto ON
April 11 @ National Arts Centre, Ottawa ON
April 14 @ Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax NS
April 15 @ Capitol Theatre, Moncton NB
April 16 @ Homburg Theatre, Charlottetown PE
April 17 @ The Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton NB
April 18 @ Salle Louis-Fréchette, Quebec City QC
June 25-29 @ Théâtre Nouveau Monde, Montreal QC