Toronto-based guitarist Jesse Cook has done it again. His seventh studio album delivers yet another round of sensual An authentic South American feel intertwined with the guitar play fans have grown to love. rhythms and fiery beats.
Titled The Rumba Foundation, the album took Cook on a journey to Bogota, Colombia, where the Juno award-winning artist weaved traditional Vallenato folk music with the ever-infectious beats of Spanish rumba flamenco.
With its sultry rhythms, intriguing use of vocals, and beautiful insertions of strings and drums, the album is an excellent addition to any listener's library. The cross-cultural flare can be heard on most of the tracks, with a particularly unique combination of rumba-bollywood on "Bombay Diner". The album is purely instrumental, with the exception of "Cecilia", a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel upbeat 70s hit.
The Rumba Foundation eases you in with the relaxed, sultry beats of the opening track "Bogota by Bus" - which also happens to be one of my favorite songs on the record. An excellent opener, it elicits an authentic South American taste intertwined with the usual guitar play his fans have grown to love. The laid back tempo is infectious, and the subtle changes that occur along the way keep the listener enticed and eager to hear what comes next.
In addition to the spicy beats that keep you bouncing, Cook has also succeeded in bringing about a deeper well of emotion with the song "Tuesday's Child". Between the subtle chords and unbelievably beautiful violin accompaniment, the melody stops you in your tracks and demands attention. Surprised by the sort of reaction it drew from me, I immediately replayed the song again, then again - and again. Yes, it is slower and quite different from the other songs on the record, but its unique, somber melody is enchanting. Bravo!
The only track with lyrics is Cook's re-imagining of Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia". Although I am not Smoldering, spicy, deep, and full of cultural combinations that will stimulate the senses. generally a fan of covers, I have to make an exception for this one. It feels as though the song was made for the Latin swing that has been bestowed upon it. The upbeat rhythm and excellent blend of rumba-Vallentato styles makes it the most entertaining piece on the entire album.
From entertaining guests, to simply dancing around your living room, The Rumba Foundation delivers a plethora of highs and lows that can be listened to in any mood. It is smoldering, spicy, deep, and full of cultural combinations that will continue to stimulate the senses long after the novelty wears off.
The variety of styles and cultures depicted on this album certainly captured my attention, and I'm confident it will succeed in pleasing even the most skeptical music enthusiast.
-Agnus Cadieux, Culture Magazine