Who's to say that just because the ukulele is small in stature, it has to make a small noise as well? In this release, ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro teaches viewers how to make a big noise with the miniaturized guitar. A trio of music videos and a few live clips show Shimabukuro doing what he does best, and an interview with the musician offers insight into just what drives his remarkable creativity.
Although this CD is titled Hokum Blues, all but two of the eight groups actually predate hokum (which came of age in the fall of 1928), although all have some aspects of the good-time music. The performances are quite obscure, with two titles apiece by Ukulele Bob Williams, the Two of Spades, Louise Ross, Feathers and Frogs, and Swan & Lee (the only recordings by any of these performers). In addition, there are four songs apiece from Ki Ki Johnson and the team of Danny Small & Ukulele Mays, plus seven numbers (including two instrumentals) by the Pebbles. Listening to this early acoustic music, the performances both look forward to hokum and even swing in spots, while hinting strongly at its early roots in string music and minstrel shows. Collectors will want this one. – by Scott Yanow