Preview: Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro to play Jaqua Concert Hall on Friday
Ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro has, throughout his career, stretched his instrument’s capability in unprecedented ways. His new album “Nashville Sessions” is as daring as staring into the molten chasms of Kilauea. The Hawaiian musician will perform at Eugene’s Jaqua Concert Hall on March 3, promoting his latest record which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz albums chart.
Shimabukuro held up in Nashville with two local musicians, bassist Nolan Verner and drummer Evan Hutchings, to record “Nashville Sessions,” featuring songs the trio concocted from jam sessions in the studio. He has exchanged the reverb-filled dreamy strums of his previous 2012 record, “Grand Ukulele,” with raw distorted slides and sweep picking in tracks like “Kilauea” and fretboard tapping in “6/8.”
Playing cover songs projected Shimabukuro to stardom in 2006, when his ukulele rendition of George Harrison’s “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” became a viral YouTube hit. It was one of the first viral videos on the video-sharing site, which launched a year prior.
In the years since, he has awed his international fan base by performing popular songs on the uke, his fingers cascading up and down, playing all parts to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on the tiny instrument.
But “Nashville Sessions” is his first album to feature all original songs. He has experimented with new styles with his band by unleashing the funk with hits of distorted bar chords in “Tritone.” But Shimabukuro kept what has often had him acclaimed among world music acts, with songs inspired by traditional music of different cultures in “Celtic Tune,” and “F-minor.”
Jake Shimabukuro will play at the Jaqua Concert Hall on Friday, March 3. Tickets cost $28 to $38, not including discounts, and can be ordered here. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Watch Jake Shimabukuro perform “Kilauea” below:
Like jazz? Check out this story about UO alum and jazz musician, Tony Glausi.
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