Herb Ohta, Jr.
Lele Music Productions (LMPCD 1012)
(10TH SOLO RECORDING)
ʻUkulele Album of the Year
2014 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.
Executive Producer(s): 'Ukulele Source & Herb Ohta, Jr.
Producer(s): Herb Ohta, Jr. & DJ Pratt
Recording Engineer: D.J. Pratt
Mix & Mastered: DJ Pratt
Photography: Kumagai Akira, Jam International
Graphics: Yuko Porter, Media Etc.
Recording Studio: Blue Planet Sound
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Review By John Berger
Ohta Jr. goes ‘Pure’
Throughout his career, currently two decades and counting, Herb Ohta, Jr. has emerged from the shadow of his father, internationally acclaimed ‘ukulele virtuoso Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta, with a similar commitment to precision and technique.
There is certainly a place for experimentation as the ‘ukulele continues to evolve --- various sizes, additional strings, different materials and, of course, the full range of electronic effects used over the years by rock guitarists. Ohta Junior has left such things to others and concentrated instead on achieving everything he possibly can with the basics: four strings and an acoustic wooden instrument.
His musical odyssey includes solo albums recorded with studio musicians
behind him and duet projects with other well-known artists. With “Pure ‘Ukulele,” Ohta steps out entirely on his own --- no celebrity partners, no studio musicians, just the pure sound of a solo ‘ukulele.
Nine of these instrumentals are original compositions. One that is not, “Always With Me (Itsumo Nandodemo),” is known to anime fans as the closing theme of Hayo Miyazaki’s Oscar - winning movie “Spirited Away.” It will certainly appeal to his many fans.
Originals titled “Sunrise” and “Napili Slack Key” catch the ear with their faster, brisker tempos.
The Japanese song stands out as an example of Ohta’s skill as an arranger of other composers’ work. The beauty that can be achieved with a solo ‘ukulele comes through on all of them. So does the range and precision of Ohta’s technique in playing what he describes as a “small and humble instrument.”