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Jazz Fest concert review: Jesse Cook at Maison Symphonique / Montreal Gazette

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When Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook stepped on the Maison Symphonique stage on Thursday night, there was a brief moment of confusion among audience members: either an imposter had sauntered in or his characteristic wavy long locks had been trimmed. Any and all doubts were quickly erased when Cook's equally famed fingers began dancing on the strings of his acoustic guitar. It was clear there would be no Samson moment for the 50-year-old. "If you're not sure, it's me. I cut my hair," the affable Cook said after leaning back and letting his fingers do the talking for an introductory song.

Before continuing, he took a few seconds to admire the four-year-old venue for the first time. "It has that new car smell," he joked, before asking everyone to "not go formal" on him. They did not; this was the sort of energized Jazz Fest crowd that wanted to clap, and they did so with Cook's full encouragement.

Cook is firmly entrenched as a jazz fest favourite, and his comfortable Spanish guitar-meets-world music formula was familiar to everyone present. He was almost apologetic about playing songs from his latest album, One World, even though they don't represent a departure from his previous works. As far as surprises go, he performed one song solo with looping pedals, and presented it as a new technique he's getting acquainted with. "I spent two and a half years tinkering with loops," he said in reference to One World.  READ THE FULL Montreal Gazette ARTICLE