Uke’n It Up

Jake Shimabukuru is the undisputed master of the once humble ukelele, and his virtuosity on the instrument is quite breathtaking. He dips into rock, folk, classical, jazz, bluegrass and even some flamenco to come up with dizzying re-interpretations of well known hits from all those categories, plus pop, as he makes old chestnuts sound vibrant and relevant. Also a composer, he has numerous tunes and a couple of movie soundtracks to his credit. He is a consummate showman, always cheerful and chatty when he isn’t burning up the fretboard and jumping around like a rock star or gently coaxing a sensitive rendering of a melancholy melody from his deceptively simple little instrument. His appeal cuts across many boundaries of age and taste, which explains why he has put the ukulele (and himself) up among the stars. For this sold-out show at UCS’s Campbell hall, Jake was accompanied by kindred spirit bassist Richard Glass.