Saturday, January 16, 2010

CD Review: Jake Shimabukuro and the Ukulele: Live!

Hitchhike Records

Hawaiian-born Japanese American, Jake Shimabukuru, is the new face of ukulele pop. Shed your hula skirts and straw hats and enjoy the ukulele maestro live and in concert. Jake performs original songs, as well as renditions of popular and classic songs, including the late-Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', J.S. Bach's 'No. 4 in D Minor', Chick Corea's 'Spain', and George Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. Jake inserts limited commentary on some of the songs and his rise to stardom on Live culls solo performances of ukulele from Japan, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Colorado. This is not your typical sleepy, dreamy ukulele music. Jake plays the ukulele with such ferocity, virtuosity, and tenderness, that it stands in world all its own. The Japanese-tinged 'Sakura Sakura' is an attempt at playing the ukulele with the mastery and likeness of a thirteen-stringed Japanese koto. The entire album features an absence of musical instrumentation beyond the ukulele and sung vocals are nonexistent. All in all, Jake takes the beach out of the ukulele and replaces it with a concert hall. A great change indeed. ~ Matthew Forss

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