(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)
I had the pleasure of reviewing Jesse Cook's show in February of last year. So, with one show under my belt, I knew what to expect for this latest show. Or so I thought.
Jesse Cook is a world-class musician. He surrounds himself with other world-class musicians. Jesse's band last year was made up of musicians that have played with him for a number of years. So, for this tour, I was surprised to see new faces backing him up.
The band spanned the globe - from Algeria to Portugal and our neighbors to the north. I wasn't sure how things were going to proceed with a new band but I should of known better.
Playing songs from throughout his career, Jesse Cook, with his trademark nylon string single cutaway acoustic electric guitar, proceeded to hold a master class on guitar playing. He's an interesting contrast on stage. Decked out in jeans, button down shirt, vest, and tie, he looks like someone you’d see in a business office more so than on stage. But the man can play a mean guitar. He was just as good as he was last year.
And his band - where does he find these musicians? Stellar. Absolutely stellar musicians!
I particularly enjoyed the guitar duo numbers as they really showcased both guitarists.
Jesse also did something he said he never in a million years dreamed he would be doing - he sang a song (actually two). Having Chris Church last year made it hard not to compare the two voices (which isn't fair as Chris is a lead vocalist in his own right).
The show was divided into two sets again with a brief intermission. Many in the crowd know Jesse from the PBS specials that have aired over the years. And let me tell you - some of his fans are diehard. They were bopping and grooving from the first song. And once Jesse announced the "rumba party" everyone got up on their feet and the place was on fire.
Jesse encored with three songs and then said goodnight. The crowd wanted more and that's how you always want to leave the stage if you're an artist.
The show was phenomenal and Jesse Cook is always a joy to review. I hope next year he comes back and plays Benaroya Hall. I would love to hear him in that room.
Any time Jesse Cook hits the road, make sure you see him. He's absolutely worth the price of admission and then some!