BY GREG OLWELL
Lead by ukulele player Paul Hemmings, the Paul Hemmings Uketet is on a mission to present the four-string as the melodic and harmonic centerpiece of a jazz trio. Using drums, bass, and the tight voicings available on the ukulele, Hemmings’ trio shows that there is plenty of space for uke in jazz.
While on a short California tour, the trio stopped by our studio to play a trio of songs: “Moon River,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and a Hemmings original titled “Hello Bean.” The last two tracks are also available on Paul’s latest album, Blues and the Abstract Uke [Leading Tone].
Hemmings’ setup for the tour included two tenor ukes, a Ko’olau CS with a low-G, and a Ken Franklin with re-entrant high-G. He amplified both ukes using an Acoustic Image Clarus amp and subtly altered his sound using a small pedalboard with Strymon Flint tremolo and reverb and Strymon Timeline delay pedals.
Over on bass, Gaku Takanashi used a Kala U-Bass with Aquila Thunder Red strings and a Roland Bass Cube for amplification.
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