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Jake Shimabukuro: Gently Weeps

Jim Santella By

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Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro covers a wide range of musical styles. Like a classical guitarist who can't be satisfied with a narrow repertoire of known entities, Shimabukuro reaches out to the worlds of jazz, blues, funk, folk, rock and beyond. He performs twelve selections a cappella, while the remaining five bonus tracks feature a large number of guests.

Shimabukuro opens Gently Weeps with George Harrison's tune "While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which features the expressive slide technique often employed in roots blues. The unmistakable timbre of his instrument brings a unique quality to the interpretation.

Ten original songs reveal a creative capacity that's founded in the folk idioms of Japan, as well as the large volume of popular music found all over the world. The artist prefers to communicate with ideas that reach a broad audience. A core element from the known classical guitar repertoire remains firmly intact, while Shimabukuro's expressive jaunts drive with deep expression.

With "Grandma's Groove, he romps with a heightened blues character that exhibits his fiery fingerwork. Shimabukuro pours on a flamenco texture with "Let's Dance, an original that turns up the heat considerably. "Misty comes with a beautiful mainstream sentiment, while Chick Corea's "Spain calls upon the heavens for its magisterial authority.

The five bonus tracks, all originals, rely upon Hawaiian culture for their lovely demeanor. Each quiet and peaceful selection combines equal parts tradition and creativity. Well, except for his music for television's Beyond the Break, which surges forcefully in a hard rock environment while still capturing the essence of Shimabukuro's ukulele timbre in an interwoven melodic drive.

Track Listing: While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Ave Maria; Wish on My Star; Sakura; The Star-Spangled Banner; Let's Dance; Misty; Spain; Heartbeat/Dragon; Blue Roses Falling; Grandma's Groove; Breathe. Bonus Tracks: Angel; Lazy Jane; Hula Girl; Beyond the Break; Wish on My Star (vocal version).

Personnel: Jake Shimabukoru: ukulele; Sean Carroll: drums (13,15); Michael Grande: keys (13,15); Jack Otoia: guitar and bass (13); Jon Porlas Jr.: percussion (13,15); Bobby Ingano: (13); Noel Okimoto: drums (14); Dean Taba: bass (14); Bobby Nishida: guitar (14); Mark Tanouye: bass (15); Vernon Sakata: electric guitar (15); Darin Enomoto: drums (16); Sergio Galisa: bass (16); Dan Takamune: electric guitar (16); Jennifer Perri: vocal (17); Yasharu Nakanishi: piano (17); Tashimi Nishiumi: guitar (17); Hiroyuki Noritake: drums (17); Akira Okazawa: bass (17); Udal Shika String Quartet: strings (17).

Title: Gently Weeps | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hitchhike Records

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