Jake Shimabukuro has truly revolutionized how the ukulele is perceived. Having covered Michael Jackson, George Harrison and Queen, among others, he has demonstrated that the four-stringed thing is more than just an exotic, happy-sounding instrument. Eddie Vedder has all but called him the best ukulele player ever, and PBS recently released a documentary on the thirtysomething’s life and career (Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings), so he must be doing something right to garner such attention. His latest release, 2012’s Grand Ukulele, proved that he can have fun, on lively tracks like “Ukulele Five-O” and the handclap-happy “More Ukulele”; bring you to tears, with his stirring rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; or even masterfully record a song—“Missing Three”—on three strings rather than four.
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