According to Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke is the most talented andinnovating jazz guitarist of these days. The guitarist was part ofthe pianist's band last year. The development of the musician -born in the West-African country of Benin - is making a hugeprogress. In 2004 he made his debut with the CD Incantation. Heachieved recognition last year, when he brought out Karibu on theBlue 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 wasquickly recognized. First he established a trio with fellowstudents Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth. Because of hisfollow-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 Letterswhich won a Grammy last year. The guitarist has also receivedacclaim as a live singer, by the way.