PROGRESSIONS: Lionel Loueke
Loueke is a natural heir to a jazz legacy of earthy innovation and deep grooves stretching back to Miles Davis, through Herbie Hancock and into the hands of a new generation including Loueke and jazz/hip-hop artists like Robert Glasper.
Lionel Loueke was an undisputed highlight of Herbie Hancock’s last Irish shows. Steeped in the folklore of his native Benin, he beautifully presents African culture through the prism of jazz guitar. To hear Loueke in full flight is remarkable, as flowing lines with tasteful chromatic punctuation are heard over deep, magnetic African grooves that move effortlessly between meters, as he accompanies himself vocally with a hybrid of scat and African click language.
His recent album release Heritage is co-produced by piano great and Blue Note label mate Robert Glasper, and finds Loueke at the helm of a new lineup with a more electric sound. Still, Loueke’s gentleness, his gift for poetic melody, remains in the forefront.