I am not a fan of instrumentals which is what this album is.
An interesting choice of covers with Queen and Cohen.
It would never make my buy list, but I'm sure there are those who would have a greater appreciation than I.

Grade - 1.0

released Jan 4th, 2011

from the album - Bohemian Raphsody - grade 1.0


from all music


Ukelele master Jake Shimabukuro has taken the four-string, two-octave instrument to places no one could have imagined back in the golden years of Don Ho, ranging freely across the music spectrum from jazz, blues, and funk to bluegrass, classical, and folk with the ease of a musician fully in command of the possibilities of his chosen instrument. Born November 3, 1976 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shimabukuro was given his first ukulele and lesson by his mother when he was only four-years-old. Fascinated by the uke, he eventually began playing regularly at a local Honolulu café. He was a founding member of Pure Heart, and played on the trio's first two albums before leaving to form Colon. In 2001 Shimabukuro began his solo career, releasing Elaine Maru (In Memory Of) on Surfside Records that same year. He signed with Epic in 2002 and released Sunday Morning on the label a year later, following it with Skyline in 2003. In 2005 he found an international distributor for his own label, Hitchhike Records, and began issuing his own CDs, including Crosscurrent, Dragon, My Life, and the much lauded Gently Weeps, which included a haunting version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Shimabukuro has completely rewritten the book on the possibilities of the ukulele, and his skill on the instrument attracted the ear and attention of Béla Fleck who has used Shimabukuro as both an opening act and as a sit in playing guest with the Flecktones.

Album Review

The popularity and respect accorded to different musical instruments changes over time with, for example, the saxophone having been considered a novelty until jazz musicians discovered it and began finding ways to express themselves with it. The ukulele has also been considered a novelty for a long time, having only four strings and a range of only two octaves, such that it has mostly been played by children. Hawaii native Jake Shimabukuro was four years old when he started playing one, and he has continued to ever since, apparently taking its limitations as a challenge. Shimabukuro gained recognition when his version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" went viral on Youtube (an appropriate choice, since songwriter George Harrison was a big ukulele fan), but as he shows on much of Peace, Love, Ukulele (released by Hitchhike Records with distribution by Jimmy Buffett's Mailboat Records), he is more interested in his own original compositions. The ear-catching cover here is Shimabukuro's nearly unaccompanied version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (there's also a take of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"), which is a cute idea, since it seems like such an ambitious piece even if it does break down into a few sections, each with its own tune. But actually more ambitious are Shimabukuro's own numbers, starting with "143 (Kelly's Song) 2011," on which he is accompanied by a string quartet. He shows off just how fast his fingering can be on "Bring Your Adz," but turns slow and mournful on "Go for Broke," featuring Noel Okimoto's martial drums. "Trapped 2010" is a duet with Iggy Jang's violin, a tune "inspired by Ralph MacDonald." It's hard to say how much improvisation is involved in this playing (it sounds composed most of the time), but the musical style for the most part probably should be deemed "contemporary jazz," if only for lack of a better description. Actually, the music also has pop/rock aspects, especially in "Ukulele Bros.," written by Bruce Shimabukuro, who pairs with his brother on a sort of dueling ukulele tour de force. Whatever the style is, Jake Shimabukuro bids to make the ukulele a respectable instrument on this album, as he has on its predecessors.

Track Listing

1 143 (Kelly's Song)
2 Bohemian Rhapsody
3 Bring Your Adz
4 Boy Meets Girls
5 Go For Broke
6 Trapped 2010
7 Variation On a Dance 2010
8 Pianoforte 2010
9 Five Dollars Unleaded 2010
10 Ukulele Bros
11 Hallelujah
12 Bohemian Rhapsody [Live Version]