Luke Esposito Plays Captain Jack Sparrow
Introduction to Captain Jack
Incidentally, Luke Esposito may be the best harmonica player in Sacramento, California
Luke Esposito impersonates the Johnny Depp character known to millions as Captain Jack Sparrow, the swashbuckling hero of many contemporary pirate movies. Luke can be seen walking about in costume at many venues in Sacramento and other locations, while impersonating Captain Jack in an amiable, debonair fashion that attracts many enthusiasts and partygoers.
But Luke also plays a mean harmonica (or blues harp), having performed with the likes of Johnny Heartsman, Dizzy Gillespie and Buddy Guy, and he also plays other musical instruments, particularly the saxophone.
Let’s look into the career of this very interesting character, Luke Esposito:
The Impersonation of Captain Jack Sparrow
Luke Esposito is a single man who’s lived in Sacramento since the 1960s. He attended Norte Del Rio High School and then attended Sacramento City College, majoring in acting and the performing arts. His ancestry is Castilian and Italian. His acting experience consists of being an extra in a few films produced in Sacramento.
Luke started impersonating Captain Jack Sparrow in 2009 at a renaissance fair in South Lake Tahoe, California. As for Johnny Depp, who plays Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Luke, understandably, considers Depp one of his favorite actors, along with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pecci.
When asked what he likes about pirates, Luke answers, “I like the fact that pirates had their own government, a kind of democracy. They elected their own captain, some of whom became political rulers in other pursuits. And there were also privateers, guys like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Henry Morgan, both of whom were knighted by the English government. Plainly speaking, pirates have been given a bad rap.”
Luke adds that Captain Jack Sparrow depicts the quintessential pirate. “He always wants to do the right thing,” Luke says. “In the end, he’s basically a good guy and brings lots of joy to his crew.”
The Costume of Captain Jack
As for the costume Luke uses to impersonate Captain Jack, Luke began to accumulate all the garb in 2009, most of which he’s bought at online stores. Thus far, he’s spent about $500 for all the gear, including a Disney version of the tricorn hat, as well as a real cutlass and a replica of a flintlock pistol. He spent $180 just for the thigh-length jacket. He even wears jewelry similar to what Captain Jack shows in the movies. Luke considers his costume very authentic.
Over the years, Luke has learned to don his pirate costume, including the makeup and headgear in about one-half hour. He wants to eventually apply just one unit for the headgear - wig, extensions, dreadlocks with beads, etc. - so he can simply fit all of it atop his head at one time.
Interestingly, at many times and places, people have thought Luke is Johnny Depp dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, which makes Luke feel very proud indeed.
In addition to the movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Luke’s favorite pirate movies are Blackbeard, The Crimson Pirate, Captain Blood and Morgan the Pirate, starring Steve Reeves.
Luke also Plays the Harmonica
Luke started playing trumpet until, at the age of 14, his friend Thomas Gonzales taught him some licks on the harmonica. Two years later Luke was playing in bands throughout the Sacramento area. And, over the years, harmonica player Lee Oscar of War has been a major influence in Luke’s development as a harmonica player.
Camouflage was the name of Luke’s first band, and in the 1970s Luke played at venues on Del Paso Blvd. - the Stony Inn and the legendary Forty Grand. In fact, Luke has performed at so many nightclubs, bars and festivals in the Sacramento area, it would be just about impossible to name all of them.
Luke’s favorite musicians are John Klemmer (saxophone player), Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Paul Butterfield and Peter “Mad Cat” Ruth (harmonica player).
Also, over the years and decades, Luke has performed with numerous artists: Johnny Heartsman (Luke was his apprentice), Lee Oscar of War, Buddy Guy, Dizzy Gillespie, Leo Boots, Waylon Black, Johnny “Guitar” Knox, the Soul Shakers and the Blues Review.
In addition to the harmonica, Luke plays the guitar, saxophone (alto and soprano), various forms of percussion, the recorder and penny whistle.
These days, Luke is the frontman for the rock band, Captain Jack and the scallywags, which performs in Southern California, but mostly Riverside or Temecula, and the band generally performs while dressed in pirate garb. Be that as it may, Luke often returns to Sacramento for visits and performances.
As Luke progresses as a musician, he wants to play jazz fusion harmonica, highlighting a more melodic sound. Nevertheless, at this point, Luke may be the best harmonica player in Sacramento, California. If anyone is as good or better, it probably would be Rick Estrin, frontman for Rick Estrin and the Nightcats (formerly Little Charlie and the Nightcats).
Perhaps Luke and Rick will have a competition one of these days. Wouldn’t that be fun?
If you’d like to see more about Luke Esposito, please click on this link to his Facebook webpage: https://www.facebook.com/captainjackspairo?fref=ts
Please leave a comment and watch the videos provided below:
Luke Esposito plays the harmonica
Luke Esposito, as Captain Jack Sparrow, sings and plays harmonica at the Sacramento Music Festival in 2013
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats in 2013
© 2013 Kelley Marks