Probably one of my favorite questions to answer. It is always refreshing to hear a student ask who they should listen to. I feel it is an essential part of the learning process to listen to great players. First of, listening to great music helps reveal the unknown and let’s us understand what we and the instrument is capable of. A great quote from Edgar Watson Howe sums it:
“When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have.”
Though I don’t fully agree with the, “and never will have,” part of that quote I do agree that great works of art instill a deep yearning for something that sometimes can be hard to define.
Secondly it helps the student create goals. I think it is a wonderful thing to aspire to play like the greats though I know just as much as the next musician that sometimes the idea of bridging that gap can be a little daunting. When really listening to specific tunes you can better define, or at least have a better idea of what you want to learn. I think it is essential to set concrete and realistic goals if you want make real change in your playing.
So with that being said I have decided to put together a playlist of a bunch of essential ukulele players/songs that I feel every ‘ukulele player should listen to. I intend to update this playlist and add a new song every Monday.
I figured we should start off with a song from Jake Shimabukuro from the album Gently Weeps. This is a great album to listen to if you are a solo player. By this time in Jake’s career he had released a few CDs as a solo artist with most of the tunes being arranged for a full band. With Gently Weeps, Jake goes back into the studio and does of a bunch of his hits and some new tunes with just him, a microphone, and his ‘ukulele. This is the type of intimacy that ‘ukulele excels in.
The song is the old jazz standard Misty. This is one of my favorite arrangements with a nice soothing intro and a swinging bridge. He handles the melody with the finesse yet takes enough liberties to make it his own. Not to mention the great Lyle Ritz style chord solo at the end!
Stay tuned for next week as we go and look at another great ‘ukulele song!