Lionel Loueke Trio, Thursday, October 18, 2012


Lionel Loueke Trio
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Kuumbwa Jazz

“…a gentle virtuoso…” – New York Times

The musical path of guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke brought him from his birthplace of Benin, to the Ivory Coast, Paris, Boston’s Berklee School of Music and USC’s Thelonious Monk Institute. Throughout his journey, he caught the attention of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard and many others who jumpstarted his career as a first-call sideman. As a bandleader, Loueke explores his roots and the frets on his guitar in a truly fluid and uninhibited way, as shown on his newest offering, Heritage (Blue Note) produced by label-mate Robert Glasper. His current trio includes drummer Mark Guiliana and bassist Michael Olatuja.

Starting out his musical journey on vocals and percussion, Loueke picked up the guitar at the age of 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left the country to attend the National Institute of Art in nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then came to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee and was later accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute, which landed him a plethora of coveted gigs with jazz luminaries.

Loueke follows up 2008’s Karibu and 2010’s Mwaliko with his extraordinary new album, titled Heritage.  Co-produced by pianist and fellow Blue Note brethren Robert Glasper, Heritage finds Loueke at the helm of a new, more electric sound.  The CD features the guitarist branching out from his usual nylon-string acoustic guitar approach and employing steel-string acoustic and electric guitars.  Joined by Glasper, electric bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Mark Guiliana the album is full of churning groove and high-intensity improvisation.

The title Heritage is a direct reference to Loueke’s 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 I [also] 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.”  Loueke has a truly global approach to music that continues to expand its reach and find new expressions and audiences.

High resolution photo:

Lionel Loueke Trio

DATE: Thursday, October 18, 2012
PLACE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIME: 7:00 PM
PRICE: $22/Adv $25/Door
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at:
MORE INFO: or 831-427-2227

Media contact:
Cem Kurosman

(212) 786-8634

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