Tuesday, August 26, 2003



Shimabukuro shines
on ‘Crosscurrent’

Jake Shimabukuro
Four Strings (FSCD-7494)

While Jake Shimabukuro's newest album is of equal quality to his solo debut, it's by no means a clone in style or concept.

Proof of that is his occasional foray into electric, rock-styled playing. You first hear it on the album's second song, "Toastmaster's Dilemma." It's a driving piece of ska-style music, complete with horns, where the ukulele virtuoso follows a delicate and precise solo with the first taste of blazing electrified work.

As the album's title suggests, Shimabukuro alternates the running order of the tunes between traditional and experimental. For example, the heaviest number, "When You're Down," a powerful piece of blues, is followed by a delicate and introspective acoustic piece.

His covers of Sting's "Fragile" and Paul Simon's "Mrs. Robinson" are similar in concept to the work of master Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta, who has been interpreting pop melodies for 40 years.

Shimabukuro's broad musical interests are also evident on "Orange World," an up-tempo original that features his speed and intensity, evocative of "The Orange Blossom Special," the classic showcase number for country fiddlers.

His rendition of "Spain" is another magnificent number and displays his confidence as a jazz musician.

There are two key points in assessing what Shimabukuro has done with "Crosscurrent." One is his commitment to stretching the capabilities of his instrument. The other is that he makes excellent use of the rhythm duo of Ryan "Jah Gumby" Murakami and Seann Carroll, who embellish his work while never blurring the focus of his music.

"Crosscurrent" may generate some controversy, but it is clearly one of the landmark local albums of 2003.

John Berger, Star-Bulletin

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Crosscurrent
Bullet Mrs. Robinson
Bullet When You're Down
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info


MP3 downloads

The most downloaded songs of the week, as listed by


1. "Big Band" / drdrbob
2. "Troy's Bucket" / Olivia
3. "Riveside Waiting" / Pennylane
4. "Hawaiian Rain" / Coconut Joe
5. "Hip Hop Jazz" / drdrbob
6. "No Ka Moku Kiakahi Ke Aloha" / Keali'i Reichel
7. "EMU" / next2nothing
8. "Melelana" / Keali'i Reichel
9. "Tracers" / Olivia
10. "Jungle Song" / Johnny Ukulele


1. "Until the Day I Die" / Story of the Year
2. "Molly's Chambers" / Kings of Leon
3. "Shake Your Tailfeather" / Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee (from "Bad Boys II")
4. "Baby Blue" / The Early November
5. "Best of Me" / The Starting Line
6. "Frontin' (URemix)" with Pharrell featuring Jay-Z / BAM&BAM Productions
7. "And the Hero Will Drown" / Story of the Year
8. "Fragile" / F.o.N.
9. "Anthem of Our Dying Day" / Story of the Year
10. "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" / Taking Back Sunday

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