All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

8

Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane

Friedrich Kunzmann By

Sign in to view read count
Lionel Loueke Trio
A-Trane
Berlin, Germany
February 22, 2018

How Beninese guitar-virtuoso Lionel Loueke manages to find the time for the multitude of projects he is involved in year after year remains puzzling. Already featured on Chick Corea and Steve Gadd's 2018 release Chinese Butterfly and Czech saxophonist Lubos Soukup's Zembe, Lionel Loueke has two of his own projects in the works for a 2018 release all the while still finding the time to catch up with his long-standing trio comprised of Ferenc Nemeth and Massimo Biolcati and to regroup for a short set of concerts across Europe, performing new compositions—starting at the A-Trane in Berlin.

There are many layers to Loueke's compositions and their execution in this trio formation. The most striking aspect is found in the highly percussive rhythmical foundation laid out by Nemeth and teased upon by Loueke's intriguing technique on his Sadowsky Nylon guitar. The pickup of the latter is situated under the instruments bridge, which triggers a thin guitar sound -high in treble and therefore offering many ornamenting features. Biolcati is the backbone of the operation but this doesn't keep him from adding to the dizziness of uneven meters in layers of polyrhythms and syncopation.

The new pieces presented at the A-Trane seem to work as a bridge between Loueke's last two solo offerings—2012's Heritage and 2015's full blown rock extravaganza Gaia. While some of the raw force and thumping riffs à la Gaia remain, the multi-layered vocal effect, that enhances Louke's folkloric chant in anthemic fashion, returns and effectively contrasts the highly complex showcases such as a debut offering of a rapid jam in 17/4. Odd time signatures are of course a given when confronted with Loueke's music -an intricate 9/8 being his pendent of a typical largo in alla breve. The 8-piece set was most versatile, going from fingerpicked ballads to crashing pentatonic ostinatos which showcased Loueke's, by now, signature octave and overtone-infused guitar tone, all the while framed in the trio's highly dynamic interplay. Dynamism being another essential keyword: Not only does the nature of the pieces shift from heavy blows to contemplating balladry but the player's competences in a variety of techniques further emphasize said shifts. Apart from a standard drum set, Nemeth was also equipped with plenty of percussions, a chain of bells installed on top of the hi-hat resounding the edges. Loueke weighed in to the percussive pool by means of alternating between singing, humming and occasionally deconstructing a train of thought with a bubbly beatbox-scat blend, to which he subsequently added syncopated comping on guitar. As if this show of impressively technical and singular skill wasn't enough, the trio knew how to emotionally pull in and involve the audience as well—most strikingly so on the melancholically celebratory hymn "Kaba," where the audience was asked to join in a canon of a chorus.

Seeing how the A-Trane is a traditionally small jazz-club, barely fitting 50, the trio was in no need of additional amplification which came in favor of said dynamism and topped off the intimate evening with much welcome crunch.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Rossignol

Rossignol

Lionel Loueke
Virgin Forest

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Interviews
Read more articles
Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes

Newvelle Records
2018

buy
The Journey

The Journey

Aparté
2018

buy
GAïA

GAïA

Blue Note Records
2015

buy
Heritage

Heritage

Blue Note Records
2012

buy
Mwaliko

Mwaliko

Blue Note Records
2010

buy
Karibu

Karibu

Blue Note Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read European Jazz Conference 2018 Live Reviews
European Jazz Conference 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 25, 2018
Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY Live Reviews
Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "Big Ears Festival 2018" Live Reviews Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "We Four at Dazzle" Live Reviews We Four at Dazzle
by Geoff Anderson
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House" Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: January 31, 2018
Read "Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone" Live Reviews Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 22, 2017