Jake Shimabukuro


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Live in Chico
Jake Shimabukuro is slated to play the Sierra Nevada Big Room on Monday (April 6) at 7:30 p.m.

He’s been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele,” for the rockin’ virtuosity he displays on an instrument most associated with hula music. The label fits, but don’t let it limit your perception; on his new album, Jake Shimabukuro sounds more like a Chick Corea, Paco de Lucia or Rodrigo Sanchez (of Rodrigo y Gabriela). Live—out April 14, early in a concert tour that includes Chico—accentuates his jazzier, experimental side. Shimabukuro (pronounced she-ma-BOO-koo-row) pushes the boundaries of his four-string mini-guitar, and here he has collected performances from New York, Chicago and Japan that showcase his explorations. He certainly shines on his dozen personal compositions, including four new ones. The real standouts are the five eclectic covers: Bach’s “Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor,” the traditional Japanese folk song “Sakura Sakura,” the aforementioned Corea’s “Spain,” George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and (believe it or not) Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Audio recordings, no matter how well-done, cannot convey all the magic of an in-person experience. Live comes pretty close. Even if you get to see Shimabukuro play, make sure to get this disc.