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Flamenco guitar whiz Jesse Cook returns to the Bing with new sonic wrinkle

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 13, 2022

The common denominator between some veteran recording artists who morph is the desire to listen to new music. Part of what keeps long-of-tooth icons such as Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young inspired is fresh material from musicians they admire.

The same goes for Canadian flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook. After spending more than a quarter century making music, Cook remains impacted by external sonic forces. While on a 2021 trip with his 14-year-old daughter, Cook, 57, was moved by his child’s playlists, which was filled with trap, a subgenre of hip hop, and 808, a drum machine.

“We were on our way to our cottage (in Canada), and she was playing a DJ, and I really liked the trap and 808 stuff she was playing,” Cook said while calling from his Toronto home. “I was digging it, and I thought, ‘Why not try playing around with this stuff?’ I wanted to see where I could take it. I was inspired to make some music videos for my YouTube channel.”

Cook will showcase tracks from “Libre” and also deliver plenty of tunes from his debut album, 1995’s “Tempest,” when he headlines Wednesday at the Bing Crosby Theater.

“I was supposed to be on the Tempest 25th anniversary tour last year, but COVID messed that up,” Cook said. “I was going to be on this retrospective tour, but everything changed. But I’m going out and playing some new songs and looking back with some older songs that are hits … if, well, I actually have any hits.”

Cook is modest since there are a number of cuts he must perform live to appease fans. “I’ll play certain songs I have to play like ‘Mario Takes a Walk,’ ‘Havana’ and ‘Cafe Mocha,’” Cook said. “The song ‘Azul’ has 2.6 million views. I have no choice but to play it. I’m lucky I have some songs people really want to hear, and so I’ll play them. It’ll be a good mix when I come into town.”

The album title “Libre” was inspired by Cook’s fans. “I asked them about names for an album, and I heard liberty and freedom,” Cook said. “I get it. People want to get out of their houses and live a little.”

Cook is looking forward to his first Spokane concert in nearly six years. “I’m long overdue to return,” Cook said. “I remember going to Spokane not long after the turn of the century and playing three songs in front of a bunch of different reps while showcasing.

“It reminds me so much of British Columbia. Spokane is so beautiful. I would love it if I had some more time to spend there.”

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