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Jeff Wong
Jeff Wong's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Jake Shimabukuro - the King of the Ukelele

This isn't exactly the right category for this, but, it'll be as good as any given the choices. I saw Jake Shimabukuro live last night at Coda 34 in NYC. He was nothing short of mindblowing. He's like Segovia and Hendrix rolled into one, but, on a ukelele (proper Hawaiian pronunciation: ooh-koo-lay-lay = fleas jumping, describing the fingers on the small fretboard.) I bought two of his CDs (which he kindly inscribed for me) and listened to one last night - it's pretty well recorded, but with a full band and doesn't capture the purity and intensity of him live and solo. He's going to be in Pittsburgh tonight and I believe he's playing the Chicago area within a couple of days. You MUST see him live if you have the chance. He did this cover of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' that had such a delicate, nuanced beginning the place was dead silent trying to soak up every quiet, barely caressed note; it was sublime. I wished I had fired up my little video recorder on my camera. I'd say through at least 30% (if not more) of the set, what he played gave me chills and goosebumps in the best possible sense.

He was very generous with his time - I probably spoke to him a good 30 minutes after the gig about his music, his ukelele, and about the active and passive preamps he owns and uses (he felt he got a more natural wood tone with passive, but he felt not many people would notice except him or someone like me.)

Wes linked to a video of Jake in his blog awhile back:

Please do try to see him play if he's in your area. There's a list of the tour dates left at his site:

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