The house was packed last Saturday night for Jake Shimabukuro's concert. It was an intergenerational mix of people; three generations of Albuquerque music lovers came out for the show. There were members of the folk-music community and veterans of the art-music recital scene, families and young people taking in new sounds.
The lighting at Simms Center at the Albuquerque Academy had artistic intent and contributed to the celebratory atmosphere with rich colors. From start to finish, it felt like a flawless performance. I arrived feeling tired and kind of out of it, but left feeling energized and inspired. The artist and his instrument blended so well together. Shimabukuro's ukulele seemed like another arm or the perfect dance partner, attached by life and love.
Shimabukuro played a few experimental tunes that were supposedly dissonant but were still musically enthralling. He followed up with traditional Hawaiian music and thoughtfully interjected three cover tunes, "Come Together," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "While my guitar gently weeps." The George Harrison tune was especially visceral and heartfelt.
Throughout the concert, Shimabukuro used two different instruments, each with different timbres and purposes, blending his instrumental knowledge into each piece he performed.
After each song Shimburakuro and the bass player would fist bump one another, obviously eager and excited to be playing together and for a receptive audience. The stage was very simple, just the two players interacting and focused on the other’s playing. Shimurakuro received two standing ovations at the end of the night; the audience was grateful for such an amazing journey and the musicians seemed thrilled to provide it.