CD Reviews: Gordan Mark and Natalie Ai Kamauu
Solo Ukulele Orchestrations
(Daniel Ho Creations)
When did the ukulele get so grown up? Was it Jake Shimabukuru who upgraded the little jumping flea’s reputation from a backyard barbecue standby to that of an instrument capable of sophisticated expression? In any case, Gordon Mark solidifies the notion with this collection of classical ukulele interpretations, wringing new life out of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” jazz standard “The Shadow of Your Smile”, and others.
Natalie Ai Kamauu
I’ve got mixed feelings about the notion of turning an E.E. Cummings poem into a swelling piano ballad, as Natalie Ai Kamauu does with “I Carry Your Heart” on her sophomore album, ‘I, but it’s a perfect encapsulation of her style. Kamauu’s liner notes are packed with quotes from everyone from D.H. Lawrence to the emperor in Disney’s Mulan, and it’s clear that everything she does comes straight from the heart. This is for fans of love songs and long walks on the beach.