Although Jesse began playing percussion at an early age, it was an encounter with legendary drummer Elvin Jones when Jesse was 15 years old that really ignited his passion for the drum set. Three years later, he was named “Young Jazz Musician of the Year” by both the International Association of Jazz Educators and Jazz Report Magazine in recognition of his abilities as a drum set performer.
In the years since, he has performed and/or recorded with a veritable who’s who of performers in the jazz and creative improvised music idioms including William Parker, Hamid Drake, Pauline Oliveros, Roswell Rudd, Evan Parker, Bill Dixon, Joe Mcphee, George Lewis, Maggie Nicols, Jandek, David Mott, Malcolm Goldstein, and many others. He has toured and recorded extensively. In 2012, he was honoured with the "Instrumental Album of the Year" Juno award for his self-titled debut recording with Stretch Orchestra, a genre-defying trio that also features Kevin Breit on guitars and Matt Brubeck on cello. He endorses Headhunters brand drumsticks and brushes.
His drum set playing has been described as “truly exciting” (Musicworks 76), “exceptional” (Cadence Oct. 2002), and “phenomenal” (Cadence Nov. 1999). “He plays like four drummers all playing a different style but simultaneously” writes one reviewer. Texas-based reviewer Frank Rubolino described him as “...one of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today” (One Final Note Summer/Fall 2002).