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The Ultimate Jesse Cook

Jesse Cook 10/25/2005
Ultimate Jesse Cook doesn't give fans any bonus material, not even the DVD content so popular with mid-2000s retrospectives. But, while it skimps on the extras, the two-disc, 26-song set is a perfect abstract of the guitarist's work for Narada. The 2004 live recording, Montréal, only gets one track ("Closer to Madness"), but Cook's five studio albums are all represented well. The set isn't chronological, but by mixing the songs up, Ultimate Jesse Cook heightens the crossroads quality of Cook's music. In one moment he's a flamenco master, the next a new age interpreter, and he explores Arabic sounds with just as much ease, and while Cook isn't afraid to streamline his influences for the sake of pop accessibility, he's respectful of them, too. For instance, the new age side of his sound never overtakes his curiosity and virtuosity as a guitarist and bandleader. Sometimes breezy synthesizers, and occasionally a percussion instrument, feel "painted in" for effect rather than meaning, but that's rare, and as he's proven over the years with Narada, Jesse Cook offers fusion, subtlety, and most of all evocative playing. Collection highlights include Tempest's title track, "Early on Tuesday" (featuring Sammy Llanas from BoDeans), Freefall's propulsive "Switchback," the organic/digital play of "Byzantium Underground," and the memorable Cajun touches in "That's Right." ~ Johnny Loftus
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  1. # Song Length
  2. 1 Mario Takes a Walk PT3M46S
  3. 2 Air PT3M24S
  4. 3 Paloma PT4M4S
  5. 4 Byzantium Underground PT3M54S
  6. 5 Baghdad PT4M18S
  7. 6 Surrender PT3M52S
  8. 7 Switchback PT4M3S
  9. 8 Brio PT3M13S
  10. 9 Red PT4M43S
  11. 10 Early on Tuesday PT3M47S
  12. 11 Vreeze from Saintes Maries PT5M18S
  13. 12 Breathing Below Surface PT6M34S
  14. 13 Closer to Madness PT7M35S
  15. 1 That's Right! PT3M37S
  16. 2 Tempest PT2M58S
  17. 3 Rattle and Burn PT3M46S
  18. 4 Azul PT4M15S
  19. 5 Gravity PT3M53S
  20. 6 Fall at Your Feet PT3M35S
  21. 7 Dance of Spring PT4M21S
  22. 8 Into the Dark PT4M13S
  23. 9 On Walks the Night PT6M34S
  24. 10 Gipsy PT2M28S
  25. 11 Waiting for Tide PT5M37S
  26. 12 Cascada PT3M7S
  27. 13 Toca Orilla PT4M26S

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