Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro’s 2006 release, Gently Weeps
, is a collection of his own original material and a nice selection of covers transformed into instrumentals. Jake has been playing the ukulele since age four, experimentally amplifying the instrument with various guitar pedals. He recently performed at Mountain Stage
, and has toured or recorded with Fiona Apple, Diana Krall, Chris Tile, John Hiatt, Kaki King, Jamie Cullum, Les Paul, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Jimmy Buffett, and Ziggy Marley among many others. Gently Weeps
showcases Jake’s intricate, often speedy, and very diverse ukulele technique, and he is joined on the album by other musicians playing piano, percussion, and steel and electric guitars.
The album opens with a cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that begins softly before building into a flying ukulele frenzy. Next up is “Ave Maria”, which is just as lovely and angelic as strummed on Jake’s ukulele as any vocal version I’ve heard.
Other covers on the disc include the traditional Japanese folk song, “Sakura”, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “Spain”, and a beautiful rendition of “Misty”.
Jake’s originals “Wish On My Star” and “Breathe” are quite pretty and gentle, while steel guitar lends a classic country tone to “Angel”. The faster “Let’s Dance” has a slight Latin flavour, and those fingers really fly on “Grandma’s Groove”.
Gently Weeps also has five bonus tracks, including a version of “Wish On My Star” with vocals by Jennifer Perri and a surprising rock band explosion on “Beyond The Break”.
I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at Jake’s MySpace.
Jake Shimabukuro’s Official Site
Buy the CD