Blue Note Records recently announced the signing of guitarist Lionel Loueke, considered to be one of the brightest and most original young stars in jazz today. Loueke will enter the studio in September to record his major label debut, which will be released in early 2008.
On June 14, Loueke will be the opening performer at Blue Note Records’ Somethin’ Else jazz club at the 2007 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The Jazz Journalist Association has also just nominated Loueke for Up Coming Musician of the Year in their 2007 Jazz Awards. The winner will be announced later this month in New York City.
Born in Benin, Africa, Loueke has already forged a remarkable career path. His musical studies brought him from West Africa to Paris, France, and later to the United States where he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles.
It was at the Monk Institute that Loueke first met and gained the admiration of Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. Before even graduating from the Institute, Loueke had already started performing in Blanchard’s sextet, becoming an integral member of that progressive band both as a performer and a composer, and appearing on Blanchard’s first two albums for Blue Note Records,"Bounce"and the Grammy-nominated "Flow."
Loueke has released several independent recordings, including "In A Trance" (Space Time), "Gilfema" (Obliqsound) and "Virgin Forest" (Obliqsound). He is also currently a member of Hancock’s touring band.