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Articles | Popular | Future

RADIO

Lionel Loueke Group Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam

Read "Lionel Loueke Group Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam" reviewed by BIMHUIS

Lionel Loueke has gone a long way, from playing to cassette tapes in his native Cotonou, Benin, to performing for president Obama at the White House. He is part of the bands of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and collaborates with the greatest talents of his generation, including Esperanza Spalding and Robert Glasper. Personnel: Lionel Loueke guitar, Massimo Biolcati bass, Ferenc Nemeth drums. Playlist Introduction Bimhuis Radio (00:00) Live Concert @ Bimhuis: Lionel ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: The Journey

Read "The Journey" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

The Journey finds Benin's guitar prodigy Lionel Loueke in a stripped-back setting, often painting gentle sound-sketches using only his voice and a guitar. In place of his long-standing trio, comprised of drummer Ferenc Nemeth and double bassist Massimo Biolcati, Loueke has assembled a divers array of guest musicians for subtle accompaniment when needed. The fifteen songs compiled on this album exhibit some of the most versatile music the guitarist has created to date, and represent a sort of summary of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: Close Your Eyes

Read "Close Your Eyes" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Three short seasons and fifteen releases into Newvelle Records' vinyl subscription service, guitarist Lionel Loueke is the first artist to be featured a second time as a leader/co-leader. The Benin-born Loueke holds a Jazz Performance degree from Berklee and has played with many top artists including his mentor Herbie Hancock, George Garzone, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Haden and John Patitucci. In 2017 he shared credits with pianist Kevin Hays on the label's sophisticated Hope and he returns to lead a trio ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane

Read "Lionel Loueke Trio at A-Trane" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

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 ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Friedrich Kunzmann's Best Releases Of 2017: Ethno-Jazz on the rise

Read "Friedrich Kunzmann's Best Releases Of 2017: Ethno-Jazz on the rise" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

2017 brought us much innovation and accomplishment in jazz. While many releases are certainly noteworthy and deserving of high critical acclaim, for me, only a handful truly stood out and prevailed in last year's maze of sharps, flats, and scales. Considering myself an enthusiast of pretty much all things jazz (no specific sub-genre receiving special treatment), I was surprised to find such a narrow selection of albums composing my last year's Top 5. Narrow, because three out of the five ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: GAÏA

Read "GAÏA" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Those who figure that this reunion between guitarist Lionel Loueke and his longtime trio mates will be a simple trip down memory lane have another thing coming to them. While Loueke, drummer Ferenc Nemeth, and bassist Massimo Biolcati could've certainly delivered another globally-infused set replete with fluid gestures and finely-calibrated interplay, à la their work on earlier Loueke outings like Virgin Forest (OBJECT/ObliqSound, 2006) and the pair of albums they made as the cooperative trio known as Gilfema, they didn't. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: GAïA

Read "GAïA" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Guitarist Lionel Loueke brings a presence to jazz unlike any other due in part to his West African upbringing heard in the uniqueness of his playing, vocals and phrasing which have enriched recordings from trumpeter Terence Blanchard to singers Angélique Kidjo and Luciana Souza. Recorded live in front of a small audience Gaïa finds Loueke with longtime trio-mates bassist Massimo Biolcati and drummer Ferenc Nemeth in an intimate session that captures his musicality and spontaneity. While the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Melissa Aldana and Lionel Loueke at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

Read "Melissa Aldana  and Lionel Loueke at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Melissa Aldana and Lionel Loueke Summerstage at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Marcus Garvey Park New York, NY August 23, 2014 Playing before a packed audience at Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park, Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana made her Charlie Parker Jazz Festival debut backed by a piano-less trio rounded out by Pablo Menares (bass) and Francisco Mela (drums), kicking off with a down-tempo take on George Gershwin's “I Loves You Porgy" in ...

INTERVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: Creating His Own Lines

Read "Lionel Loueke: Creating His Own Lines" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Lionel Loueke, the guitarist from Benin in West Africa who brings to jazz music rich melodic and rhythmic sensibilities influenced from his homeland, always had an eye for inventing his own lines; injecting his own persona into the music even when it was against the rules. Even when he didn't yet realize the magical sounds he heard on recordings by the likes of George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass contained, in fact, improvisations.Now well established in the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: Heritage

Read "Heritage" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

On Heritage, Benin-born Lionel Loueke takes a more electric approach than on previous releases, which mostly featured his acoustic, nylon-string guitar. This change is immediately felt on the opening “Ifê," beginning with the muted notes of an acoustic steel-stringed guitar whose sound resembles a kalimba (thumb piano). Loueke is backed solely by his trio (rounded out by bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Mark Guiliana) here, and plays a dexterous solo with the help of a pitch bender pedal.Co-producer ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: Heritage

Read "Heritage" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Lionel Loueke's Heritage deftly intertwines modern jazz constructs with traditional African themes in a highly personal exploration of these two cultural streams which define Loueke's upbringing and musical identity. The result is a gracious, elevating and welcoming sound that still challenges preconceived notions.Thoughtfully composed, the album's ten pieces together present an intimate--sometimes philosophical--complex musical meditation on the concept of heritage. Tunes like “Ouidah," inspired by the village where Loueke's mother was born and a center of the slave ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Lionel Loueke: Heritage

Read "Heritage" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Lionel Loueke's two previous Blue Note recordings--Karibu (2008) and Mwaliko (2010)--displayed his usual virtuosity as a guitarist/vocalist who links his West African Beninese musical roots with a modernist jazz outlook that is uniquely his own. On Heritage, he's assembled new musicians and hooks up with innovative pianist Robert Glasper, who coproduced and performs on the album. Glasper's work as a producer--as witnessed on his acclaimed Black Radio (Blue Note, 2012)--is the perfect fit with Loueke's eclectic ideas. ...