Blending traditions from his native Benin with harmonically complex post-bop jazz and fusion, West African guitarist Lionel Loueke has earned praise for his solo work as well as his varied collaborations. Initially emerging as a sideman on Terence Blanchard's Bounce in 2003, Loueke quickly found himself in demand, appearing on a bevy of albums including bassist Charlie Haden's 2004 effort Land of the Sun as well as a pair of noteworthy 2007 releases, Kendrick Scott's The Source and Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning River: The Joni Letters. His own albums, like 2006's Virgin Forest, 2010's Mwaliko, and 2015's Gaia, have showcased Loueke's expansive, globally minded aesthetic, marked by his emotive jazz solos and a deep understanding of African folk customs. He has also remained deeply connected to the jazz tradition, paying homage to ...
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