PDA

View Full Version : Jake Shimabukuro in Ridgefield last night



JamieWG
03-24-2014, 05:23 AM
My husband got me tickets for my birthday to go hear Jake's concert in Ridgefield, CT! The Ridgefield Playhouse was pretty much sold out, with just a couple of remaining seats here and there. It's a wonderful hall with great acoustics and an intimate atmosphere. We lucked out to have gotten two seats together on the right side. This was my first chance to hear Jake live, and I will certainly go back for more!

The following comments pertain to the portion of the concert that Jake played alone. He has a unique ability to bond with the audience. It's not easy for a solo artist to fill the stage, but he does it so well! Jake came out full steam ahead and gave a very energized performance. All the things I've appreciated about his recordings and videos were tripled in hearing him live. The way he finesses a note, the musicality of his performances, the emotional phrasing, beautiful tone, and flawless technique, all came together to create magic. He moves effortlessly from one style to another, and takes us on a clear journey from beginning to end.

In the middle of the concert, he played a 40 year old Kamaka baritone, entertaining us with a quieter grouping of pieces and the lower pitch of the uke. It was the perfect centerpiece for the concert, and provided enormous contrast in tone, pitch and style. Those pieces were followed by a powerful set of more electrified works, performed on a Kamaka tenor with a looping device and pedals.

The audience was great, soaking up the melancholy phrasing of Blue Petals Falling so that you could hear a pin drop in the hall, and laughing and applauding at all the right places in Bohemian Rhapsody. Sakura is a piece that I've played many times in both solo and ensemble renditions, and have heard many arrangements of it too; but nobody does it like Jake does it! You could feel every note --- a truly brilliant combination of fluidity, structure, and technical mastery. Everybody was enchanted. My husband is not a musician, but he was thoroughly entertained throughout the concert, and appreciated the huge variety in styles that Jake brings to his performances. There was original music, jazz, rock & roll, classical, folk, eastern, and traditional Hawaiian tunes, all played with pizzaz and emotion. It would be hard to choose a personal favorite.

Now, for the elephant in the room: the bass. I don't really want to go there, but it couldn't be ignored either. I'll be brief. It was less than 50% of the concert that the bass player was on stage. IMO, for this to work, the bass player needs to turn down his volume by about 50-75%, take a few steps back, and play a supporting role. Jake needs to maintain center stage, keep his connection with the audience, and not let the bass player become a distraction to him and to us. This is just my personal two cents, and others may feel differently about it. I understand all too well what it's like as a solo performer to have to play concert after concert alone, and what a drag that can be for the soloist. So I totally get why Jake likes having somebody to play with.

The bottom line: It's always worth it to hear somebody play live who can work Jake's kind of magic. If you have the opportunity to hear him on this tour, don't miss it! He gave a great performance, and all the wonderful things I'd heard about him live are 100% true. Go. You won't regret it.

Concertina
03-24-2014, 05:26 AM
YAY! Glad you had a great time! I can't wait until next week!!

w/o-talent
03-24-2014, 06:43 AM
You are not alone in your thoughts.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92818-Saw-Jake-Shimabukuro-last-night!&highlight=jake+bass+player

Gillian
03-24-2014, 08:36 AM
A concise, well-written review.

Sporin
03-24-2014, 09:06 AM
Saw him in Vermont on Saturday night and I agree on all counts except I had no problem with the bass player, and I'm sure he s doing exactly what Jake wants him to do.

I LOVED the baritone part especially. His other ukes are, I know, special, but when amplified you don't get a lot of subtle with them. The old Kamaka baritone however, really sang, it's subtle tones were much more noticeable.

Either way, it was a great show, Jake was extremely nice greeting everyone afterwards, and I'm so glad I was finally able to see him live (and local).

Ukejenny
03-24-2014, 09:47 AM
This is EXACTLY what happened to us when we saw him in Tennessee several weeks ago. It was wonderful, until the bass player took the stage. He performed in a pretty intimate auditorium, acoustics were nice, everyone had a great view because of the small size of the place. Very intimate setting, perfect for Jake. Then, the bass player would come out and play so loudly that it was actually distorted in our area of the auditorium. It was like going from paradise, to a Megadeth concert on acid. And to beat all, the guy isn't that good. Jake is a virtuoso and the bass guy is just your average bass guy, and there are really good players out there. This guy isn't one of them. I'm sorry that you had the bass experience, but so glad the rest of the show was grand. That's the way is was at our concert as well.


My husband got me tickets for my birthday to go hear Jake's concert in Ridgefield, CT! The Ridgefield Playhouse was pretty much sold out, with just a couple of remaining seats here and there. It's a wonderful hall with great acoustics and an intimate atmosphere. We lucked out to have gotten two seats together on the right side. This was my first chance to hear Jake live, and I will certainly go back for more!

The following comments pertain to the portion of the concert that Jake played alone. He has a unique ability to bond with the audience. It's not easy for a solo artist to fill the stage, but he does it so well! Jake came out full steam ahead and gave a very energized performance. All the things I've appreciated about his recordings and videos were tripled in hearing him live. The way he finesses a note, the musicality of his performances, the emotional phrasing, beautiful tone, and flawless technique, all came together to create magic. He moves effortlessly from one style to another, and takes us on a clear journey from beginning to end.

In the middle of the concert, he played a 40 year old Kamaka baritone, entertaining us with a quieter grouping of pieces and the lower pitch of the uke. It was the perfect centerpiece for the concert, and provided enormous contrast in tone, pitch and style. Those pieces were followed by a powerful set of more electrified works, performed on a Kamaka tenor with a looping device and pedals.

The audience was great, soaking up the melancholy phrasing of Blue Petals Falling so that you could hear a pin drop in the hall, and laughing and applauding at all the right places in Bohemian Rhapsody. Sakura is a piece that I've played many times in both solo and ensemble renditions, and have heard many arrangements of it too; but nobody does it like Jake does it! You could feel every note --- a truly brilliant combination of fluidity, structure, and technical mastery. Everybody was enchanted. My husband is not a musician, but he was thoroughly entertained throughout the concert, and appreciated the huge variety in styles that Jake brings to his performances. There was original music, jazz, rock & roll, classical, folk, eastern, and traditional Hawaiian tunes, all played with pizzaz and emotion. It would be hard to choose a personal favorite.

Now, for the elephant in the room: the bass. I don't really want to go there, but it couldn't be ignored either. I'll be brief. It was less than 50% of the concert that the bass player was on stage. IMO, for this to work, the bass player needs to turn down his volume by about 50-75%, take a few steps back, and play a supporting role. Jake needs to maintain center stage, keep his connection with the audience, and not let the bass player become a distraction to him and to us. This is just my personal two cents, and others may feel differently about it. I understand all too well what it's like as a solo performer to have to play concert after concert alone, and what a drag that can be for the soloist. So I totally get why Jake likes having somebody to play with.

The bottom line: It's always worth it to hear somebody play live who can work Jake's kind of magic. If you have the opportunity to hear him on this tour, don't miss it! He gave a great performance, and all the wonderful things I'd heard about him live are 100% true. Go. You won't regret it.

peanuts56
03-24-2014, 11:30 AM
I was there also and liked the interaction between Jake and the young man on bass. He is an excellent bassist but I do agree that the mix was not quite right. I didn't care for the sound system and at times they had Jake up too loud.
One of the group I was with didn't like the bass playing. Jake seemed to enjoy having him with him. My musical background is in jazz as a trumpeter. It's nice to bounce musical ideas back and forth with another musician. I would think that's why Jake has him there.
Jake was awesome as always. I've seen him several times and am always amazed by his mastery and musicianship. He's also one of the nicest guys in the business. I've met and worked with a few well known people and some are not always friendly off stage. I had the chance once to play with the great jazz trumpeter Clark Terry many years ago. Clark like Jake is a total master of his instrument. Clark like Jake is simply one of the nicest people on the planet.
The bass player is a work in progress in my opinion. I personally would go hear them play any time.