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Jesse Cook “Free Fall”

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Relief has arrived for the pundits who have rightfully decried the degrading of pop music to corporation-radio sludge. Jesse Cook, a rare artist in a field filled with glossy-haired and white-teethed entertainers shows in Free Fall that talent does not always take a back seat to focus group meanderings.

Cook is a guitar virtuoso – a wizard with the tips of his fingers – who is known for leaving audiences spellbound with electrifying performances and speed-defying ability. Free Fall brings the best of Cook’s ability and leaves it to stew through a frank discussion with melodic arrangement for a result that causes nothing less than pause… and then a blink of amazement. This is a guitarist who has managed to release a major label recording – in itself a rare feat – and in the process has defied and re-invented conventional pop wisdom.

The opening “Switchback” cuts like a freshly sharpened switchblade, evoking pictures of exotic Spanish dancing and too much expensive red wine. “Virtue” displays it’s worth as a haunting, solemn gem; “Incanation” is a lush offering of the Loreena McKennitt The Mask and the Mirror tradition. The topper to Free Fall, Jesse Cook’s forth CD is the Neil Finn cover “Fall At Your Feet”, the only non-instrumental track. Cook teams with the Rembrandt’s Danny Wilde to offer an fresh, soft rendition of the popular song.

Free Fall is just that: a carefree spin into the other, seldom-heard side of quality pop music. This is music that stands out; this is music that floats.