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Lionel Loueke

Born in Benin, a small country of west Africa, Lionel first picked up percussion instruments before choosing guitar at the age of 17.

In 1990, he moved to Ivory Coast for a general musical training in the "National Institute of Art" which lasted four years. As he was listening to outstanding jazz musicians such as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, George Benson, he was definitely convinced that he needed to improve his playing. The next step would be to enroll in a well known jazz school.

In 1994, he was accepted at the "American School of Modern Music" in Paris (France) where he got his Diploma in 1998.

The dreams were coming true. In 1999, he was awarded a scholarship to "Berklee College of Music" in Boston, Massachussetts. He quickly graduated in 2000 majoring in Jazz Performance.

In 2001, he auditioned for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and was selected in a world wide search by a panel of judges including jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter. He studied on this full scholarship at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, until may 2003.

In 2002, while still at the Monk Institute, he stated playing with trumpet player and film music composer Terence Blanchard. He recorded two albums with him, the second one on the famous Blue Note label.

Between 2003-2006, Lionel lives in New York and plays around the world. He played onTerence Blanchard last CD and DVD "Flow". Also on Herbie Hancock's last CD and DVD "Possibilities". He also recorded two CD's under his own name, "In A Trance" (Space Time) and now, "Virgin Forest" his highly-anticipated debut on ObliqSound.

He studied with: Mick Goodrick, John Damiam, George Garzone, Russell Ferante, Joe Diorio, Terence Blanchard, Dave Holland, Kenny Barron, Steve Turre, John Scofield, Louis Nash, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and many others.

Performed and recorded with: Kenwood Dennard, George Garzone, Bob Hurst , Alphonso Jonhson, Angelique Kidjo, Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Charlie Haden, Richard Bona, Nathan East, Vinnie Colauita, Marcus Miller, Sting, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Santana, Dennis Chambers.



Concert Schedule

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Lean In

Edition Records


Melodies of Light

Soul Song Records


HH Reimagined

Edition Records


Close Your Eyes






Lagos Pepper Soup

Self Produced



From: Virgin Forest
By Lionel Loueke



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