Jim Beloff

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Jim Beloff
JimBeloffFluke.jpg
Background information
Also known as Jumpin' Jim
Born (1955-12-25) December 25, 1955 (age 61)
Meriden, Connecticut, U.S.
Genres Singer-songwriter
Instruments Ukulele
Years active 1992–present
Labels Flea Market Music, Inc.

Jim Beloff (born December 25, 1955) is an American musician. He is a leading proponent of the ukulele. After working in the music industry in Los Angeles, he discovered the ukulele and became an advocate of the instrument. He established Flea Market Music, publisher of the Jumpin' Jim's ukulele songbook series. Beloff's songbooks and instructional books (arranged by him and other well-known ukulele players), DVDs and promotion and marketing of his family's Fluke and Flea ukuleles have contributed to the popularity of the instrument. He is also a singer-songwriter and has recorded several solo CDs as well as two with his wife, Liz.

Early Endeavors[edit]

Jim Beloff is a graduate of Hampshire College where he focused on musical theater. After working on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a short lived Broadway musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Leonard Bernstein, Beloff composed several children's musicals that were produced in New York City. For a while he worked selling advertising space for Ziff-Davis computer publications.[1] He then changed companies to Billboard Magazine and became associate publisher. He and his wife Liz Maihock Beloff moved to Los Angeles where they become regulars at the monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market. Having admired his father-in-law's skills on the ukulele, he purchased a used Martin tenor ukulele at the market and quickly fell in love with the instrument.[2][3] [4]

Many credit Beloff with being the driving force behind the recent resurgence of the ukulele.[5]

Flea Market Music[edit]

Not finding any current music available for the ukulele, Beloff discovered a dealers' cache of unused music from decades earlier.[6] With this reference material he and his wife, Liz, published Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Favorites in 1992. Its success spawned a series of music books for the ukulele. Beloff expanded into DVDs as well, quitting his job at Billboard, he and his wife created Flea Market Music, Inc. The rise in popularity of the ukulele, and the company's sales, have continued to grow with over 600,000 Jumpin' Jim's books in print.[6][7] The company offers over two dozen music books covering many genres.

Beloff's 1997 book The Ukulele: A Visual History lays out the history of the instrument with dozens of photographs of ukuleles and ukulele related memorabilia. George Harrison liked the book so much that he sent out copies to all his friends one Christmas.[8]

Beloff has also written a concerto for ukulele and symphony orchestra entitled "Uke Can't Be Serious." It debuted with The Wallingford Symphony Orchestra in 1999, conducted by Phil Ventre, and has been performed regularly since.[9] The concerto was played by Beloff and the Choate Rosemary Hall Orchestra in Germany and Austria in June, 2016.[10]

The Magic Fluke Company[edit]

Finding the availability of good ukuleles to be rather limited, Beloff was interested in developing an inexpensive, quality instrument. This inspired his brother-in-law, Dale Webb, an engineer, to design the Fluke and Flea ukuleles. In 1999 Webb and his wife, Phyllis (Jim's sister) formed The Magic Fluke Company. The instruments are made of lightweight, injection molded thermoplastic. The instruments are durable while providing quality sound.[11] The flat bottoms of the designs allow them to stand without any other support. The company has sold over 55,000 instruments since the first prototype.[6][8]

The newest addition to the line is the Firefly, a banjolele available with both Soprano or Concert sized neck. In addition, the company now produces an electric ukulele, called the Fluke SB, an electric bass uke, called the Timber (named after the owners' Collie dog), and a violin/fiddle, called the Cricket.

UKEtopia[edit]

In 1995, Beloff produced the first annual UKEtopia concert at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California. The concert was a showcase for local and special guest ukulele players. Among the notable performances in the 1999 concert was Bill Tapia and Lyle Ritz trading jazz licks.[12]

The 5th UKEtopia featured such performers as Ian Whitcomb, Janet Klein, and Peter Brooke Turner of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain as well as the traditional finale of Beloff and his wife leading the audience in song and ukulele playing.[13]

The 10th UKEtopia included two song sets from "Mr. Ukulele," Dan "Soybean" Sawyer, Fred Sokolow and "King Kukulele," and was summarized by Tom Teicholz in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Beloff and his wife, Elizabeth "Liz" Maihock married in 1987 and live in Connecticut.[8] They continue to travel to promote the ukulele and their products, visiting ukulele festivals, giving performances and conducting workshops throughout the US and Canada.

Books[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • Jim Beloff, Jim's Dog Has Fleas, Flea Market Music,1993
  • Legends Of Ukulele, (producer), Rhino Records 1998
  • Jim Beloff For The Love Of Uke, Flea Market Music,1998
  • Lyle Ritz, Herb Ohta: A Night Of Ukulele Jazz, (producer) Flea Market Music 2001
  • Various Artists, The Finer Things, The Songs Of Herb Ohta & Jim Beloff, Flea Market Music, 2004
  • Lyle Ritz, No Frills, (producer) Flea Market Music 2006
  • Various Artists, Paradise Lost & Found, Flea Market Music, 2007
  • Liz & Jim Beloff, Rare Air, Flea Market Music, 2009
  • Dreams I Left In Pockets: 33 Songs By Jim Beloff 2-CD set, 2014 (FMM-1009)

DVD[edit]

  • The Joy of Uke - Volume 1, Homespun Tapes 1998
  • The Joy of Uke - Volume 2: Moving Beyond the Basics, Homespun Tapes, 2003 ISBN 978-1-932537-27-7
  • Lyle's Style: Ukulele Master Lyle Ritz Shares A Lifetime Of Performance Techniques, (producer) Flea Market Music 2009
  • Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Workshop, Homespun, 2011, ASIN: B0057CONAO

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Teicholz, Tom (2004-06-17). "Playing in Uketopia". Jewishjournal.com. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  2. ^ "Hampshire College News". Hampshire.edu. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  3. ^ Tranquada, Jim (2012). The Ukulele: a History. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 158–65. ISBN 978-0-8248-3544-6. 
  4. ^ Grove-White, Will (2014). Get Plucky with the Ukulele. London: Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-84403-790-2. 
  5. ^ Interview with Jim Beloff, Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog, 2010
  6. ^ a b c "Uke Entrepreneur ''Ukulele'' Issue 2, Spring 2013". Ukuleleunlimited.com. 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  7. ^ "Flea Market Music". Flea Market Music. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  8. ^ a b c "Celebrity Access Industry Profiles - Jim Beloff". Celebrityaccess.com. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  9. ^ Wallingford Symphony Orchestra present spring show in Clinton Sunday, New Haven Register, May 3 2014
  10. ^ "Choate Orchestra Tours Germany and Austria". Choate Rosemary Hall. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  11. ^ Ukecast Review, Podcast 201, available at UkeCast 201
  12. ^ Whitcomb, Ian (2012). Ukulele Heroes: The Golden Age. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hal Leonard. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-4584-1654-4. 
  13. ^ "McCabe's to Hold Its 5th 'Uketopia' Concert, Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2000". Articles.latimes.com. 2000-03-18. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 

External links[edit]