Some artists, because of their penchant for excellence without sounding trite or cookie-cutter, earn the designation of “can do no wrong.” Normally, this applies to veteran musicians who have been at it for decades, like guitarist Steve Khan or drummer Peter Erskine. Brittni Paiva, just 23 at the time of recording Tell U What (Brittni Paiva Music, 2012), is quickly moving in that direction.

The Hawaiian-born ukulele player impressed with her previous releases, including Four Strings: The Fire Within. And earlier in 2012, she released Living Ukulele, which accomplishes several things in its 80 minutes. In addition to giving audiences insight to the artist, the DVD shows the beauty of Hawaii, visits some of Paiva’s cross-cultural influences, takes a close look at her instrument of choice and shows how the young performer has won over some musical icons.

Renowned composer and saxophonist Tom Scott, who invites Paiva to perform with his band in one segment of Living Ukulele, produced, arranged, engineered and mixed the new recording. He says that he was so impressed by Paiva’s performance with his band, he wanted to take her to new heights and invited some of his friends. The duo is assisted on selected tracks by Michael McDonald, Chuck Findley, Ray Parker Jr. and Arturo Sandoval.

One minor drawback to the release is that apart from bass – Scott has the duty on all but “The Lochs of Dread” and “Alive,” which are handled by Paiva – rhythm and background instrumentation, all handled by Scott, sound phony and monotonous in places. The sound isn’t as clean and engaging as Paiva’s previous releases.

After watering down the title song, the rhythm track is better on the cover of “I Keep Forgettin’.” McDonald, who made a hit of the Leiber and Stoller composition, sings the chorus with Paiva covering the verses. Scott’s subtle tenor adds depth.

Things get even better with “Friends,” one of three Paiva originals. “A Taste of Honey,” previously recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, is slowed down. Scott’s keyboard work gives it a haunting quality. Findley steps in with the flugelhorn. The percussive element here is dull but adequately overcome by Findley and Paiva.

One of the more enjoyable selections is “The Lochs of Dread,” a play on words composed by Bela Fleck and Gerry Douglass. Paiva stretches out a little here, more so than she does on most tracks. The song has a reggae vibe, but Paiva’s triplet phrases give it a Scottish or, perhaps, Celtic flavor.

Scott’s lone composition for this set is “Mira, which features a lively pop/funk groove. Sandoval brings his trumpet to add some fire. Another Paiva original, “Alive,” is a beautiful, easygoing peace in which she shines.

Paiva handles the four-string ukulele like a standard, six-string guitar, taking the instrument from its familiar setting of traditional Hawaiian music and introducing it to the worlds of jazz, pop, R&B, classical and possibly other sounds that Paiva has yet to explore. Tell U What is very good, but could be much more. A normal rhythm section would help tremendously. Also, the title song is the only track that tops five minutes. Several tracks end before the listener is fully engaged, especially “Friends,” “Alive” and “Cold Duck Time.”