Lionel Loueke w/ Robert Glasper, Mark Guiliana & Derrick Hodge
Lionel Loueke, guitar & voice
Robert Glasper, piano & keyboards
Mark Guiliana, drums
Derrick Hodge, electric bass
Originally from the small West African nation of Benin, guitarist Lionel Loueke has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past several years. Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as "a musical painter," he combines harmonic sophistication, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African music, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. JazzTimes wrote: "Loueke's lines are smartly formed and deftly executed. His ear-friendly melodicism draws both from traditional African sources and a lifetime of closely studying the likes of Jim Hall and George Benson, and his rhythmic shifts come quickly and packed with surprises."
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music and the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Loueke released his full-length independent debut, In a Trance, in 2005. After releasing Virgin Forest in 2007, he signed with Blue Note Records, which released his latest two albums, Karibu (2008) and Mwaliko (2010). He was also named the top Rising Star Guitarist in DownBeat Magazine's annual Critics Poll in both 2008 and 2009.
On August 28th, Loueke will release Heritage, his dynamic third Blue Note album, which was co-produced by labelmate Robert Glasper. Heritage finds Loueke exploring a more electric sound with a new trio featuring Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The album presents seven new compositions by Loueke, two by Glasper, and one co-written by the two. Glasper also contributes piano and keyboards to six tracks, while singer Gretchen Parlato provides background vocals on two tracks.
A veteran of bands led by Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, Loueke is bringing jazz into vibrant contact with the sounds of West Africa, in particular his native Benin. The title Heritage is a direct reference to his personal odyssey. "I have two heritages," Loueke says. "One is from my ancestors from Africa, and that goes through my music, my body, my soul, every aspect of what I do. But also I have the heritage from the Occident, from the West, from Europe and the U.S. I speak English, I speak French, and I have that heritage too. I called this album Heritage because I've been blessed by all different parts of the world, and most of the songs reflect that."
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