Jake Shimabukuro 

Gently Weeps
Jake Shimabukuro
Sony Music Japan

This CD is Jake Shimabukuro’s latest and most personal effort to prove that the ukulele is an instrument that can convey more than laid back island music. The title track is a wonderful cover of the George Harrison classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Harrison, a fan of the ukulele, would be proud of this heartfelt version of one of his most beautiful ballads.

A touch of patriotism is included on Gently Weeps with Shimabukuro’s stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Jake has said that he wants to expand the range of the ukulele, and he seems to have reached that goal: whether it’s with the Spanish flamenco feel of his original tune “Let’s Dance,” the intricate finger picking style on the pop classic “Misty,” or the fast-paced strumming on “Grandma’s Groove,” the thirty-year-old Hawaiian lives up to the comparisons with the Van Halens and Hendrixes.

While it maybe a smaller instrument than the guitar, size-wise, in Shimabukuro’s hands the ukulele resonates with each note, much like its larger relative.

No, Jake doesn’t douse his uke with flammable liquid and set it ablaze. But on Gently Weeps Shimabukuro does play the instrument, whether it’s a cover song or an original, with a fiery passion that transcends the common belief that the ukulele is only meant for songs from the islands.

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