View Full Version : Jake show review, Penfield, NY. WOW!

02-07-2011, 02:58 PM
I originally posted this in the Poho thread, but felt more folks would see it here. It's a review of a Jake show my wife and I saw last Saturday night.

I've finally got a few minutes to write a review of the Jake Shimabukuro show we saw on Saturday night. The show was a fundraiser for the Penfield school district's jazz program. They have long had a very successful jazz program there; this was their 41st annual fundraising concert series. They spend a lot of money on this; instruments, stage equipment, a brand new, beautiful auditorium, the works. Each year they bring in a professional musician to work with them. This year it was Jake. He worked with the kids all day Friday and Saturday, and joined them for concerts both nights.

The first group we saw was the Penfield High School Monday-Wednesday Jazz Ensemble. There were five saxophones; tenor, alto and baritone. There were four trumpets, four trombones, a clarinet and a bassoon. There was an upright bass and a bass guitar. There were also an electric guitar, a piano, a drum set and vibes. The kids played two jazz numbers before Jake came out. The quality of the musicianship was outstanding. I would go listen to them play without Jake. This is no ordinary high school jazz group.

Jake was introduced, and he played several numbers with the ensemble. They did "Notte A Roma" and "Gemini Rising" before doing Jake's "Bring Your Adz". To give you some idea of the seriousness of this program, the Penfield Music Commission Project paid to have these songs professionally arranged and scored so that Jake could play them with the group. Jake was playing while reading the sheet music from a music stand. He was obviously having a wonderful time!

Then, while Jake and the school district's music director made comments for four or five minutes, the ensemble left, the stage was rearranged, and the Penfield String Ensemble took the stage. Oh, my! There were 84 kids, ranging from 4th grade through 12th, and including several teachers and even school principles from the Penfield school district. There were probably 20 cellos. There were five, yes five, upright basses. There were six freakin' harps! There were dozens (literally) of violins and violas. The entire group, and of course Jake, played "Here, There and Everywhere" by the Beatles. I expected it to be a mess. I was so wrong! It was spectacular! Not one sour note did I hear. Jake was clearly moved. It was then time for a 20 minute intermission.

The next (and last) group was the Penfield High School Studio Orchestra. What an orchestra! 1 piccolo, 8 flutes, 1 bassoon, 9 clarinets, 2 bass clarinets, 8 saxophones, 6 trumpets, 4 Frech horns, 5 trombones, 1 euphonium, 1 tuba, 5 percussionists, 1 electric bass, 2 guitars, a drum set, a piano, 38 violins, 9 violas, 12 cellos, 4 upright basses and 2 harps. Really? Really! They started out playing two of Jake's songs, "Kelly's Song (1,4,3)", and "Five Dollars Unleaded". Jake appeared to be almost transfixed. He had never heard his music performed by an orchestra before.

Next, Jake played three songs solo; "Hallelujah", "Gently Weeps" and "Bohemian Rhapsody". Three consecutive standing ovations, all well-deserved.

The last two numbers were with the orchestra again, "I'm Walkin'" and "Spain". After the last song, there was a fourth standing ovation, culminating in an apparently unexpected encore. Jake decided to go unplugged, and played Schubert's "Ave Maria". Brought down the house.

What a show! I may never see another like it. I wish I could have recorded every minute of it to share with you all. I'd frankly be amazed if this experience doesn't prompt Jake to record some of his music with an orchestra in the future.

It could not have been any better than it was Saturday night....

02-07-2011, 06:59 PM
Thanks for the review! Sounds like a great concert. I hope the Penfield School District made videos and posts them online.

02-08-2011, 07:16 AM
Great review mailman! Sorry I missed all of the excitement in Rochester last week. Going to try to catch Jake's show at UNC Wilmington Friday night.

02-08-2011, 01:11 PM
Great review mailman! Sorry I missed all of the excitement in Rochester last week. Going to try to catch Jake's show at UNC Wilmington Friday night.

Wish you could have been there! It was absolutely wonderful....

02-12-2011, 05:00 AM
Was in Raleigh, NC yesterday a.m. and read in the newspaper that Jake's show was alaready sold out for Saturday (tonight). Had planned on driving to Wilmington and just getting tickets at the box office before the show at UNC Wilmington last night. Decided I'd better call for tickets. Called at noon and got the last tickets available . . . 3 tickets in the FRONT ROW. Was that lucky or what? Show was fantastic! Saw Jake in Rochester a couple of years ago and think he's performing better than ever.

02-12-2011, 08:34 AM
Wow. That sounds inspiring. I have really counted myself lucky the few times I've been in that kind of environment. Watching a musician watch their music is a wonderful thing.