Concert Review: Jesse Cook

Henderson Pavilion, March 29

The Canadian rumba-flamenco guitarist showed off his sultry fret board-shredding style to a sizeable suburban audience of Hendersonians. Backed by a killer band—percussionist Rosendo “Chendy” Leon, guitarist Nicolas Hernandez, bassist Dennis Mohammed, violinist Chris Church—Cook cooked. He noted that the pavilion, with its majestic lighting and fog-machine billows, lent itself to a rock-show format. “We usually play delicate little theaters,” he said. “So feel free to form a mosh pit.” Sadly, there was no stage diving, although the music was incendiary—and yet also often quite lovely. Highlights included a dreamy, fluttering “Parasol” and Armenian-flavored “Incantation,” blessed by multi-instrumentalist Church’s playing of the duduk (wind instrument). The dancing didn’t start until well after intermission, when Cook launched into a searing, strutting “Matisse the Cat” from his 2008 album Frontiers. Given that he was entertaining a mostly boomer-aged crowd, he made the smart move of encoring with Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.” In sum, this was a tremendous performance in an underappreciated facility. ★★★★☆

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