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Grand Ukulele

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iTunes Review

Jake Shimabukuro does for the four-string ukulele what Tom Jones did for popular song. He redefines what his instrument can do and to whom it matters. Grand Ukulele—the follow-up to his 2011 World Music hit album, Peace Love Ukulele—was produced by Alan Parsons (Dark Side of the Moon), orchestrated by Kip Winger, and recorded live with no overdubs. What you hear is what Shimabukuro can do. The originals range from the surfy "Ukulele Five-O" to the mandolin wind of "Gentlemandolin," but the real jaw-droppers are the covers, since they illustrate how skillful Shimabukuro is with a concept. Adele and Paul Epworth's instant classic "Rolling in the Deep" retains its epic emotional sweep; just this time, it's on the heart-racing uke-runs. Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," with orchestration, takes the Judy Garland chestnut into new territory, while Sting's "Fields of Gold" is given the easy-listening feel it's always demanded. 

Customer Reviews


At least 3 of the songs (Ukulele Five-O, More Ukulele which has been released as Less Cowbell, More Ukulele, and143) are on previous CD's. The songs that are just played by Jake are great. His passion, emotion and soul can really be felt. Unfortunately, all of that gets over-powered by the orchestra in the rest of the CD. I look forward to the day when Jake produces his own albums.

Great album, but overproduced

Saw him at his CD release party for this album where he performed nearly all of the songs on the new album and a few of his old hits (Gently Weeps). I cannot rave enough about the live show (where he was unaccompanied), but I'm a little less impressed by the album. All of the orchestral accompaniments feel unnecessary and overproduced. Still worthwhile for a fantastic cover of Rolling in the Deep and his emotional take on Akaka Falls.

Jake hits it…for a triple

Not a home run (in my opinion) but for anyone who enjoys his music, you'll be satisfied. It's a wonderful listen but the dynamics and WOW! moments of previous albums aren't there (or perhaps they're too subtle for my untrained ears.) For me, this is a CD I'd play for friends but it doesn't have those songs where I say to my friend, "Oh my god, you've gotta hear this part! It'll blow your mind!" Still a big fan and will forever be one. Thanks for all your wonderful music, Jake!


Born: November 3, 1976 in Honolulu, HI

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ukulele 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 lesson by his mother when he was only four years old. Fascinated by the...
Full Bio
Grand Ukulele, Jake Shimabukuro
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Customer Ratings