Musician Jake Shimabukuro Joining Stereophile at CES 2017

Stereophile tried something a little different for our CES coverage last year: we brought a musician to the show. Graham Nash heard his yet-to-be-released album, This Path Tonight, on a variety of systems at the Venetian, and provided his unique commentary on the results.

This year several new artist names were tossed about, and when Jake Shimabukuro came up we jumped at the chance to bring him to Las Vegas. Jake is a stellar musician, and has turned the ukulele into a respected instrument with his interpretations of classical and modern works, collaborating with a wide range of artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Alan Parsons. He is stunning to watch: If you've never seen or heard him play, check out the videos at the bottom of this story.


He's done plenty of covers, for which he is rightly famous, but his new album, Nashville Sessions, is all-original and features the power trio format: uke, bass and drums. When I first heard this album a couple months back, not only did the music astonish, but the recording itself stood out as one of the best I'd heard during the year.


The Plan
We met for dinner before one of his shows in late November and hatched plans for CES 2017: in addition to listening to a few cuts from his latest release in various rooms at the Venetian and Mirage hotels, I asked could he record something just for us and bring his uke along too?

Jake agreed and came up with a short and powerful transcription of Paul McCartney's "Eleanor Rigby", recorded dry in the studio with no equalization, reverb or compression. His engineer provided us with a 24/192 WAV file which we'll bring to CES. And even better, Jake will bring the same instrument he used for the recording to the show.

You can likely see where this is going, and we have no idea how it will turn out. Stay tuned!

Jake's take on a rock classic:

The video that put Jake on the map:

From the recent recording sessions:


For more videos (including several in the studio making the new album), visit Jake's YouTube channel.

lo fi's picture

I was hoping for a tuba player this year.

Herb Reichert's picture

lies in his sincerity and humility -- I am looking forward to meeting Jake and watching him close up

crenca's picture

...and I will just say I never thought I would like ukulele infused music this much. I foresee Jake receiving some of my $money$ very soon.