So I am embarrassed to say that this is my first introduction to a certain Jake Shimabukuro, I am kind of a Jake Shimabukuro virgin if you will. With an open mind and a fresh pair of eyes and ears, I delve into his latest offering Trio which sees Jake further expand our minds as to what can be achieved by the mere Ukulele.
Okay for those unfamiliar with Jake Shimabukuro has been redefining what the ukulele is capable of for the last 20 years, Re-imaging beloved classics has become a Shimabukuro specialty and It was nearly 15 years ago that the world first caught notice of the stunning musical artistry of Jake Shimabukuro. The young ukulele player’s gorgeous rendition of George Harrison’s ballad ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ whilst sat in Central Park, became one of the most-watched clips on the then newly launched YouTube platform, and now sits at 16.5m+ views.
So now we are all up to speed, what does a Jake Shimabukuro album sound like, what can he bring to an audience with a Ukulele and a wild sense of imagination? Well, firstly thirteen beautiful recordings across an album that simply envelope you from the off. You’ll never once question if you are listening to a Ukulele as it is transformed to something beyond its four strings. What Shimabukuro has achieved on this album is remarkable as he fuses various styles across the recording to keep the listener highly engaged throughout, from Prog-Rock numbers in ‘When The Mask Comes Down’ to Flamenco inspired beauties like ‘Red Crystal’ there is something for everyone to lose themselves in this sublime recording. Of course, an album such as this will have its niche audience, those an instrumental nature be it Rock or Classical fans, anyone who can appreciate the complexity and diversity within the walls of an instrumental album will certainly embrace what Shimabukuro has done here with both hands.
Satriani-eque at times in its melodic beauty and simplicity tracks like ‘Morning Blue’ tells a story and wash your worldly worries away with ease, the album is filled with original beauties and Shimabukuro’s signature covers such as Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’ featuring a delicate vocal performance by Rachel James from Denver-based folk-rock band Dearling. “
A breath of fresh air Trio is an absolute gem of an album and one not to be overlooked.
JAKE SHIMABUKURO TO RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM ‘TRIO’ ON 14 FEBRUARY 2020 VIA MUSIC THEORIES RECORDINGS/MASCOT LABEL GROUP
1. When The Masks Come Down
5. Red Crystal
6. Morning Blue
7. Summer Rain
8. Wish You Were Here
11. On The Wing
12. Strong In Broken Places