PDA

View Full Version : Jake Shimabukuro: Life On Four Strings



KevinV
06-06-2014, 08:22 AM
I finally got to watch the program last night; it was good. It was interesting to see his uke playing background.

Just a head's up for anyone with Amazon Prime. It's available to watch for free with Prime membership.

Steveperrywriter
06-06-2014, 08:25 AM
You can stream it from PBS, too.

coolkayaker1
06-06-2014, 09:10 AM
You can stream it from PBS, too.
That's where I saw it.

I wonder if Jake's "buzz" has died down, even though he's still touring. Sort of like everyone that wanted to see him play live already did. Three years ago he was spoken of in this Board almost constantly, everything from his uke to his tabs, video covers, people with pics next to him at concerts, the whole enchilada. This was especially true during Peace, Love, Uke Tour ( his latest album not as well received). Now, not so much at all mentioned on the forum. Jake is one reason for the late 2007- early 2013 uke craze (now, when Sceptres don't resell at $650, we know the tide is going out:cool:).

no doubt about the fact that he's spectacular. One of a kind.

mds725
06-06-2014, 10:16 AM
That's where I saw it.

I wonder if Jake's "buzz" has died down, even though he's still touring. Sort of like everyone that wanted to see him play live already did. Three years ago he was spoken of in this Board almost constantly, everything from his uke to his tabs, video covers, people with pics next to him at concerts, the whole enchilada. This was especially true during Peace, Love, Uke Tour ( his latest album not as well received). Now, not so much at all mentioned on the forum. Jake is one reason for the late 2007- early 2013 uke craze (now, when Sceptres don't resell at $650, we know the tide is going out:cool:).

no doubt about the fact that he's spectacular. One of a kind.

One of the things I've noticed is the number of other people who can play in the same universe as Jake but who, unlike Jake, also sing (I saw Jake sing once; he was good but it isn't his strength). In the past few months I've gotten to see both Aldrine Guerrero and Ben Ahn live, and while it could be argued that neither one is quite at Jake's level, they both do eye-popping things when they play, and they can sing too. Both Aldrine and Ben cover popular songs (Aldrine also writes songs; Ben may, too, but when I saw him he played covers), and in some ways that makes them more accessible to more people. Neither yet commands anything near the audiences Jake still gets -- Jake's recent Stanford concert sold out in minutes, while Aldrine and Ben are both playing much smaller venues -- but I think as other ukulele players who shred the way Jake does become more well-known, the novelty of playing the ukulele the way Jake plays it begins to wear off. Jake still sells out quickly wherever he goes, so i don't think he's worried about where his next meal is coming from anymore, but a lot of the buzz about him at UU was people hearing about, and then seeing, him for the first time.

Jimdrum
06-06-2014, 06:59 PM
The way that 'Life on Four Strings' showed Jake's interaction with both little kids and the elderly brought a few tears, both times that I watched it. As for Jake's continued popularity, I hope his future recordings will feature him in mostly live concert settings WITHOUT the accompanying and overpowering guitars, drums, etc.

Steveperrywriter
06-06-2014, 09:56 PM
I saw Jake in Portland, OR when he came through, and they had to book a second show. My wife, who has been going to concerts with me for almost fifty years, including among them some of the biggest stars to ever grace a stage, allowed as how this show was one of favorites, maybe even the best of them all.

Maybe Jake isn't passť just yet ...

peanuts56
06-07-2014, 02:23 AM
I heard Jake in March and he's still growing as a player. I'm sure he still takes time each day to practice and work on things that he feels he could do better. The finest musicians still practice as much as they can. I was a trumpet major in college and have seen Doc Severinsen twice over the last 2-3 years. Doc was doing a concert/clinic at a high school not far from me. The clinic was to take place late morning/early afternoon. He showed up at the school three hours early and asked for a room so he could practice for a few hours. I think he was 83-84 years old at the time. He can still outplay most of the working professional horn players at a time when most people his age would be sitting in a rocking chair. Musicians of Jake and Doc's caliber know that you never stop wanting to improve. I love Jake's playing and his passion for what he does. I also would love to hear the other masters of this instrument. Unfortunately they don't come to my area the way Jake does. I check James Hill's site hoping he is coming close to my area. No such luck.

coolkayaker1
06-07-2014, 02:46 AM
One of the things I've noticed is the number of other people who can play in the same universe as Jake but who, unlike Jake, also sing (I saw Jake sing once; he was good but it isn't his strength). In the past few months I've gotten to see both Aldrine Guerrero and Ben Ahn live, and while it could be argued that neither one is quite at Jake's level, they both do eye-popping things when they play, and they can sing too. Both Aldrine and Ben cover popular songs (Aldrine also writes songs; Ben may, too, but when I saw him he played covers), and in some ways that makes them more accessible to more people. Neither yet commands anything near the audiences Jake still gets -- Jake's recent Stanford concert sold out in minutes, while Aldrine and Ben are both playing much smaller venues -- but I think as other ukulele players who shred the way Jake does become more well-known, the novelty of playing the ukulele the way Jake plays it begins to wear off. Jake still sells out quickly wherever he goes, so i don't think he's worried about where his next meal is coming from anymore, but a lot of the buzz about him at UU was people hearing about, and then seeing, him for the first time.. This makes a lot of sense. Yes, I can see this logic.

stevepetergal
06-07-2014, 04:45 AM
I agree that a number of players are now able to "shred" in Jake's league. But, that's not even close to the limit of Jake's talent. As great as many are, Jake has a superior, unteachable talent for connecting with an audience. I think this is why he has been able to bring the ukulele to the mainstream of music. As great as guys like Aldrene, Kalei, and a number of others may be at making music, and as big a star as Eddie Vetter or Talor Swift might be, I believe only a talent like Jake's could have made the ukulele explode in popularity as it has.

coolkayaker1
06-07-2014, 05:20 AM
This is true, also. I have to say, every time I think of one of those other up-and-coming uke "stars", the ones we all know in the ukulele world, then go back and watch a Jake video. Jake is king.

Dane
06-07-2014, 07:34 PM
That's where I saw it.

I wonder if Jake's "buzz" has died down, even though he's still touring. Sort of like everyone that wanted to see him play live already did. Three years ago he was spoken of in this Board almost constantly, everything from his uke to his tabs, video covers, people with pics next to him at concerts, the whole enchilada. This was especially true during Peace, Love, Uke Tour ( his latest album not as well received). Now, not so much at all mentioned on the forum. Jake is one reason for the late 2007- early 2013 uke craze (now, when Sceptres don't resell at $650, we know the tide is going out:cool:).

no doubt about the fact that he's spectacular. One of a kind.


Musicians are musicians, it's difficult to compare "skill" between different artists. A musician knows, understands, and speaks through their instrument. They may have a style you prefer, but that is all. There is no good, better, or best, they are either a musician, or a technician (who memorizes things to play) It can be difficult to describe, but when you see it in person, an artist is able to speak through their instrument in any way they feel like, spontaneously.... it's quite amazing...

Jake will always have a special place in my heart. He is the reason I bought an ukulele.

It was a plywood piece of junk, and sounded HORRIBLE. But I always went back to his central park gently weeps video to boost me up and keep on truckin. Without Jake I may still have bought an ukulele, but I definitely wouldn't have kept at it by myself. Eventually I committed to a nicer ukulele (An Ohana TK-35G) and my whole world changed. I COULD PLAY! Maybe not amazing, but I could play things now, and it didn't sound like cats being murdered!

He came and played in Santa Barbara a few years ago (and a few times since then), and I had him sign my TK-35g with a sharpie. All the ink has completely faded, but if you look at it with the correct light angle, you can still see it say "Aloha! Jake 2010". I've had a few friends say "you have a smudge on your uke there...." and I've had to slap their hands away! "Don't touch that! That's Jake! He's the reason I play ukulele!"

http://i.imgur.com/4dXlhdz.jpg

I had tickets to see him in a proper concert hall about a year after that original show. But I was in college and I ended up having to give the tickets away because a teacher scheduled a final exam for that time, and I couldn't miss it. Sadly, the final ended up being pushed back, and we sat around wasting time while others were enjoying my tickets!! But... in the end, it was worth it. Because my friends, who are wonderful people, were amazed by Jake, in the same was I was before. So I got to spread the joy. One of them is a musician who is completely self-taught and amazingly talented, and to give him that gift, it felt even more special.

Olarte
06-08-2014, 02:38 AM
I'll be seeing him for the 6th year in a row.there is no one Uke god.... There are pillars like Jake, Aldrine, Daniel Ho, Taimane, and legends like Bill Tapia, Ukulele Ike etc.

All the current Uke masters are great in their own right, and every chance I get to see, meet, or attend a workshop with a true master I do.

That is the beauty of Art, and of. Music. No two artists, or performances are alike...

tbeltrans
06-08-2014, 05:14 AM
Thanks for this thread! I did not know about this program. I found it on PBS based on discussion here.

Anyway, I am not really interested in ukulele pyrotechnics. It doesn't really sound musical to me when done on any instrument, whether guitar with Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen, keyboard, or ukulele. I know it attracts many people to the instrument, so that is fine. I have always preferred quiet instrumental ballads. On piano, new age and well played cocktail style, chord melody and solo fingerstyle on guitar, and similar on ukulele, which I only recently discovered that the instrument is very capable of. The video is of interest to me primarily because I am new to ukulele and interested in this corner of the world now.

I can say that the most beautiful ukulele music I have yet heard is Daniel Ho's album Polani. I have both the CD and the book of full transcriptions of the album. I absolutely love all the music of that album and never tire of hearing it. It is all in low G tuning, so I changed my tenor ukulele to that tuning. That is the kind of music I want to play. I have seen videos of Jake Shimabukuro play that style too, so I know he likewise has that depth.

Tony

Captain America
06-08-2014, 01:26 PM
This is a good documentary, and my take-away from it is PRACTICE!

It's even better if you PRACTICE what you LIKE to practice! Jake S. was practicing a lot as a kid; it paid off. It takes personal commitment to practice to go up levels.

Mattyukaholic
06-08-2014, 10:48 PM
Thanks for this thread! I did not know about this program. I found it on PBS based on discussion here.

Anyway, I am not really interested in ukulele pyrotechnics. It doesn't really sound musical to me when done on any instrument, whether guitar with Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen, keyboard, or ukulele. I know it attracts many people to the instrument, so that is fine. I have always preferred quiet instrumental ballads. On piano, new age and well played cocktail style, chord melody and solo fingerstyle on guitar, and similar on ukulele, which I only recently discovered that the instrument is very capable of. The video is of interest to me primarily because I am new to ukulele and interested in this corner of the world now.

I can say that the most beautiful ukulele music I have yet heard is Daniel Ho's album Polani. I have both the CD and the book of full transcriptions of the album. I absolutely love all the music of that album and never tire of hearing it. It is all in low G tuning, so I changed my tenor ukulele to that tuning. That is the kind of music I want to play. I have seen videos of Jake Shimabukuro play that style too, so I know he likewise has that depth.

Tony

I kind of feel that way too. I like subtle but sophisticated playing. Have you listed to Corey Fujimoto's album? It's beautiful.

Ukejenny
06-09-2014, 07:18 AM
Wonderful documentary. I hope Jake never loses his heart for playing and continues to walk the streets with a ukulele in his hands, sharing it with people from all walks of life. I think his heart for the instrument is what makes him different and elevates him. With a heart and talent for playing like that, you don't need a light show, or electronic gadgets to entertain.

tbeltrans
06-09-2014, 02:36 PM
I kind of feel that way too. I like subtle but sophisticated playing. Have you listed to Corey Fujimoto's album? It's beautiful.

I heard some samples on Amazon and will probably buy it soon.

Thanks,

Tony

actadh
06-09-2014, 04:40 PM
I liked the little things I learned, such as that he sometimes composes on another instrument first - guitar & piano were shown - and then transfers the song to ukulele. And, that he went through a playing-as-fast-as-he-could phase, and then an adding-a-lot-of-bells-and-whistles phase before evolving into the subtle sophistication spoken of here.

fretie
06-09-2014, 05:34 PM
Hummm... it seems PBS won't stream this documentary in Canada. Any other way to watch the video for those of us north of the 49th?

Dane
06-09-2014, 06:23 PM
Hummm... it seems PBS won't stream this documentary in Canada. Any other way to watch the video for those of us north of the 49th?

found this article that might help? - http://clarencemichon.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/watch-blocked-pbs-shows-from-canada/

I don't know if that site is reputable, or where the links will take you. I take no responsibility.

xommen
06-09-2014, 10:30 PM
Hummm... it seems PBS won't stream this documentary in Canada. Any other way to watch the video for those of us north of the 49th?
You can use the hula plugin for chrome, then you can say you are in the states ;).

fretie
06-10-2014, 01:47 PM
You can use the hula plugin for chrome, then you can say you are in the states ;).

Thanks xommen and Dane too!

Tried it all but PBS says "the video is no longer available for screening".

Looks like it can be purchased at Amazon though. $16 Is it worth my hard earned dineros to buy this film?