According to Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke
is the most talented and innovating jazz guitarist of these days. The guitarist was part of the pianist's band last year. The development of the musician -born in the West-African country of Benin - is making a huge progress. In 2004 he made his debut with the CD Incantation
. He achieved recognition last year, when he brought out Karibu on the Blue Note label. In 1994 Loueke left for the States to study at the Berklee Collegeof Music in Boston. It was there that the African's talent was quickly recognized. First he established a trio with fellow students Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth. Because of his follow-up study at the Thelonious Monk Institute, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard become his biggest mentors. Even before his graduation, he was touring with Blanchard's sextet.Loueke can also be heard on the Hancock album The Joni Letters
which won a Grammy last year. The guitarist has also received acclaim as a live singer, by the way.