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Grand Ukulele

83 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 2, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Produced by Alan Parsons (The Beatles Abbey Road and Pink Floyd s Dark Side of The Moon ), ukulele phenom & Youtube sensation, Jake Shimabukuro s new LP fuses a multitude of genres (Billboard) which can be heard on album highlight, Island Fever Blues, which merges classical & blues over a fast-paced flamenco beat. Elsewhere on the album, Jake tackles the playing style of the mandolin ( Gentlemandolin ), rockabilly ( More Ukulele ) and surf rock ( Ukulele Five 0 ), and even transforms his instrument to mimic the intricate melody of a music box ( Music Box ). Grand Ukulele also features covers of Adele s Rolling In the Deep, Sting s Fields of Gold and the Judy Garland classic Over the Rainbow.

"Jake is taking the instrument to a place that I can't see anybody else catching up with him..." - Eddie Vedder, Rolling Stone article

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Ukulele Five-O 3:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Rolling In The Deep 4:49$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. Gentlemandolin 4:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. More Ukulele 3:54$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. Missing Three 3:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Music Box 4:15$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. 143 4:27$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. Over The Rainbow 3:34$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Island Fever Blues 3:39$0.89  Buy MP3 
10. Fields Of Gold 3:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
11. Gone Fishing 2:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
12. Akaka Falls 3:27$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mailboat Records
  • ASIN: B008RXE5W6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,969 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Yankee on December 3, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I had the privilege of seeing Jake perform live this past weekend and I was completely blown away by the technical virtuosity AND the deep sincerity and humility that he brings to his music. This is a rare combination in someone so young and so talented.

It was therefore disheartening to listen to the way that some of his tunes have been treated on his latest CD. The orchestrations and arrangements lessen the immediacy of the Jake's performance and come perilously close to turning them into easy listening/Muzak (ouch!)/movie soundtrack blandness.

Let me give you a couple examples.

In concert, the tune "Ukulele Five-O "was energetic, intense and a lot of fun. On the CD, it sounds like something from Pat Metheny (think "As Falls Wichita, So Falls...") lightweight contemporary pseudo-jazz. It's pleasant enough but it's also sterile and bland. Jake's playing is great and the song it great. It's the setting and the arrangement that really brings it down.

Another even worse example is the song "Missing Three". In concert, Jake explained that the song came about when he was changing his uke strings and a string was missing from the package. He challenged himself to write a song using only three strings. He also noted the irony that the CD recording of this three string song has about 100 strings on it - which he said was Producer Alan Parsons' idea. The result is that a simple, beautiful song has been changed into something that sounds like it came from a Hollywood movie - Over produced, over orchestrated, overblown...and, unfortunately, forgettable.

Ditto for `Over the Rainbow" and "Fields of Gold".
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I'm proud to say that I first discovered the amazing Jake Shimabukuro more than 10 years ago when he captivated a hotel meeting room of "Arts Presenters" in New York. Jake was in his early 20s and, even then was a virtuoso of the uke. He hadn't even ventured up to Central Park yet to be captured playing George Harrison's "My Guitar Gently Weeps" which then hit You Tube and, as of today (I just checked) has 11,152,708 views! Jake has continued to mature and grow as both a person and a musician and there is no one like him. He mentors young player and is amazing in a room of children or music students. I've seen him in both instances. I've also had the privilege of seeing him play nearly every time he comes near Philadelphia. (If you haven't seen him play live, you are missing a great experience.)

Last year Jake took on the challenge of arranging Queen's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" and he nailed it. (Check YouTube if you don't believe me, and you'll find the track on his last album, "Gently Weeps"). Now he's hooked up with producer Alan Parsons (he also hooked up in a different way last year, getting married and then having a son) and took his music further by adding strings or an orchestra to some tracks on this CD. Yes, it will be a bit of a shock to those who have seen Jake play live. It's just him on stage; not even a back-up musician. And it took me a few plays to get used to the accompaniment here as well. But it works! About half of the songs here have been concert staples (at least when I've seen Jake play). "143" is usually his opener; and "Ukulele-Five-O" and "Island Fever Blues" have been there for a while.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joanna D. #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This album is accompanying Jake Shimabukuro's new "grand" tour (and also a TV special to air May 10, 2013 on PBS.) He's getting the fame he's earned as a unique and highly talented performer. The ukulele, in case you aren't aware, is back in style and it's big. No, it's small but the impact is big. And this album is a different direction from Jake's unique "ukulele shred" style and some of his other virtuoso interpretations and original compositions.

According to Jake, he wrote "Missing Three" when he was restringing his uke and didn't have on the number three (E) string. He began to fool around, and came up with a simple, but pleasant ditty in an arpeggio (harp) style. He played it over the phone--hey listen, this is so cool! to the producer of the album and the producer, instead of just marveling that you can make an incredibly pretty tune on only three strings,he said "I hear this big orchestra...." And that's what you hear on this song. I heard "Missing Three" missing the orchestra in concert, and it actually IS much better with the orchestra.

However, that's not necessarily true of the entire album. Some of the pieces, to me, seem over-produced (Over the Rainbow.) While the entire album is eminently listen-able, not every song on the album takes to the larger arrangements.

My favorite on the album? The wonderful "Rolling in the Deep" cover. If you get to see Jake live, you'll appreciate his ability to use the uke for percussion along with melody and accompaniment, all done by one musician.

Do I like this album more than Peace Love Ukulele or Gently Weeps ? No, but I like it and there is enough on here to make me play the album happily.
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